Day one of the Costa FLW Series tournament presented by Power-Pole on Lake Champlain was a smashfest – everyone in the top 10 weighed 19 pounds or better and the vast majority of that was brown. Leading the way, Brett Carnright caught 21 pounds, 7 ounces to get things underway. In second, Austin Felix tuned up 20-15 of smallmouths and sits just 8 ounces off the lead.
Most everyone in the top 10 is primarily or exclusively targeting bedding smallmouths, and Carnright is no different. He made the top 10 last year on Champlain with spawning brown bass, and he’s got it going on again this year.
“I had my five that I wanted to catch, and I caught all five of them, and those were the only fish I caught today,” says Carnright. “I went searching for new fish the rest of the day after about 9 o’clock. It was pretty relaxing – my co-angler had his five even before my five.”
Starting off with 21+ is great, but consistency is key on Champlain. Carnright finished ninth in last weekend’s T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) event on Champlain and seems to think he can keep the ball rolling.
“I had 18-10 in the BFL, but I saved fish then and actually caught two that I would have weighed in the BFL today,” says the local angler. “Practice was good, I had four full days on the water and had a much better practice size wise than last year.
“I don’t think I can catch that amount of weight again, but I can definitely catch a good bag. I found some new fish today, and I feel like I have the area to myself. I didn’t see a lot of boats around me.”
Top 10 pros
1. Brett Carnright – Plattsburgh, N.Y. – 21-7 (5)
2. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 20-15 (5)
3. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 20-11 (5)
4. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ont. – 20-6 (5)
5. Stephen Estes – Auburn, N.H. – 19-13 (5)
6. JJ Judd – Saint Albans, Vt. – 19-12 (5)
7. Chris O’Brien – Rochester, N.Y. – 19-11 (5)
8. Joseph Wood – Westport, Mass. – 19-9 (5)
8. Ryan Latinville – Plattsburgh, N.Y. – 19-9 (5)
10. Edward Levin – Westerville, Ohio – 19-6 (5)
Scott tops co-anglers
Weighing in 17-4 to get the tournament rolling, Phil Scott of Silver Spring, Md., has a narrow edge over a ton of great co-angler weights.
“It started out great, I was culling at 9:30 a.m.,” says Scott, who fished behind Jimmy Kennedy. “I probably caught 10 or 12 keepers. He put me on fish, all I did was catch some while he put me in great spot.”
Scott, who has just a 2-ounce lead over second place, weighed four smallmouths and one largemouth and says he caught nearly all his fish on a drop-shot.