I spent the past week fishing on Lake St. Francis prefishing and taking part in the Berkley B1 Bass Tournament that ran out of Valleyfield, Quebec. This place is known for GIANT smallmouths which is the reason I travelled across Ontario to fish there. For those of you that are not famaliar with the water it is basically a chunk of the St. Lawrence River so there is a strong current throughout much of the system.
Our practice started out pretty good, the first fish that my partner Derek Strub caught was a 6.5 pound smallie. We also had a couple other 4.5 pound fish that first day and figured we had things on the right track. Over the course of the week the weather was very challenging and that made it difficult for us to get anything really solid figured out. We were catching some deep fish in the shipping channel and a few shallow fish on the flats. We were catching nearly all our fish on tubes and a few drop-shotting. There is a lot of largemouths in the lake as well and we were able to catch good numbers of them but did not catch a lot of big ones and choose to stick to the smallmouths in the tournament.
We only caught one smallmouth on Saturday during day one of the event for 3.69 pounds and ended up missing the cut to fish on day two. We stuck with our plan to try to get big fish and just flamed out. That's tournament fishing, it happens to everybody. The worst part of the day was that when we were pulling up to the dock to weigh-in, I dropped my phone in the lake. So that capped off an awesome day for me!
The tournament itself was very well-run and provided the anglers with a great deal of exposure. The tournament water was very interesting, it just got the better of us. I would love to go back and try again!
On Sunday, since we missed the cut at the tournament, Strubby took me out on Lake Ontario, out of Kingston, where he won the Canadian Open Tournament this summer and $40,000. It was one of the BEST smallmouth outings I have ever been on. We caught a number of fish over 5 pounds and really good numbers. So that made the whole trip for me.