Located at the convergence of two US states — New York and Vermont — and bordering one Canadian province (Quebec), Lake Champlain, home of Round Six of the Bass Pro Tournament, is the third-largest lake in New York state. As a result of its size alone, the fishing there requires a creative approach and a great boat.
Last year, Jacob Wheeler found his third win of the 2021 season at Champlain largely because of a fast boat and a winning technique. He employed an ever-widening circle in the search for fish, and if it weren’t for his ability to get on scene quickly, he might not have found any fish, let alone enough to win Round Six.
Lake Champlain is huge, and if you’re going to fish it with any success, you need to know how to deploy your tools properly.
One such tool is forward-facing sonar, which Jacob Wheeler used last year to great effect. He found underwater rocks and structures where fish like to hide, and he tracked them down when they were so pressured by anglers that they abandoned the safety of these hideouts for the open.
Wheeler found that the fish didn’t go far, even if they did leave their hiding spots. He was able to track them down using his widening circle pattern and forward-looking radar, and he landed enough to notch his belt with a win at Champlain in 2021.
More than likely, 2022 won’t be much different. The fact is, the bottom hasn’t changed, but the fish are indeed wily. They move away from heavily fished areas like those hides on the flats, but they don’t move far, and they do move in patterns. The winner this year will be the angler who figures it out first.
It’s all about how quick and clever this year’s pro anglers are going to be once they’re out on the lake. Hopefully, the weather cooperates, but you never know. There’s enough at stake for the pressure of the competition to become overwhelming or cause a slip.
When it really matters, you can bet that the boats — something almost everyone takes for granted — could be the difference-maker. Sometimes it all comes down to who gets there first. It’s just as simple as that.