The Inland Sea… A Fitting Name
By Time Grein
There is a section of Lake Champlain called The Inland Sea. I am not sure why it is named that, but I would propose renaming the entire lake “The Inland Sea”. It would certainly be fitting. I was at Champlain for a week, and I don’t think we had an entire day of decent weather the entire time. In fact, the first day of the tournament greeted us with 6-8ft waves. This is not my first time in big water, so when I say 6-8, that’s what it was. Bone jarring, scary big, water.
The tournament didn’t really turn out like I had hoped. The first several days of practice, I stayed up North in Mississquoi Bay. I really felt like 16-18lbs a day was what I could catch. I focused on more offshore type grass spots with drops and rockpiles. The water was falling, and the fish seemed to be coming to me, which is always a good thing. Any time you are catching 30-40 a day, you have to be pleased. Especially when you are laying off of them also. I spent some time looking for smallmouth as well, but with the weather being so salty during practice, I really felt like my time was better spent looking for largemouth. In retrospect, I really don’t have a problem with this decision. I do believe however if I had been able to locate a few more smallmouth, that I would have been higher in the standings.
The tournament arrived and we had a strong south wind. This strong wind, pushed the water back into my area, raising the water level a foot. I am not talking about a small area here. I am talking about an area that is probably 5 miles long and 2 miles wide. The worst part about it, is I didn’t realize what was happening until the tournament was over. With the water level rising, all of the largemouth I had located, headed back to the bank and off of the very specific isolated stretches I had caught them on. Fortunately, I did have a flipping spot with some deeper grass that had smallmouth stacked on it. I was able to flip this area both days and catch some decent smallmouth. By the way, if you have never flipped for smallmouth, it is like setting the hook on a concrete block. It is a blast. I was able to catch basically 14lbs a day on this spot, and all I really needed was one more 3.5lber to get a check, and 2 more for a top 20. This was a very tight tournament, and one bite really went a long way. Had I realized what was happening to the largemouth, I may have been able to make a small adjustment and catch one or two better ones, but I didn’t. I guess the moral of the story is to pay attention. I never would have thought about the water rising, but on big bodies of water, the wind WILL affect the water levels on certain ends of the lake.
Next time maybe we will discuss foul weather gear and the system I use to keep myself as dry and as warm as possible.