MLF Coming to Lake Champlain
5 Aug, 2021
Major League Fishing’s (MLF) Bass Pro Tour is set to visit Plattsburgh, New York, and Lake Champlain, next week, Aug. 5-10, for their sixth regular-season tournament of the season – the Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits.
The six-day event, hosted by the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau and the City of Plattsburgh, will feature 80 of the best professional anglers in the world, including bass-fishing superstars like Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Jordan Lee and Jacob Wheeler , fishing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable points in hopes of qualifying for REDCREST 2022, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
The tournament will be fished using MLF’s catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which the anglers try to catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. The tournament is being filmed for broadcast later this year on the Discovery Channel.
Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain has played host to dozens of MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit (formerly FLW Tour) and Toyota Series events over the years, but this event will mark the first time that the MLF Bass Pro Tour has visited Lake Champlain. One angler excited to return to Champlain is Missouri pro James Watson, who competed in the Toyota Series event on Lake Champlain earlier this month and is looking to improve on his respectable 27th place showing.
“Lake Champlain is a special place,” Watson said. “I caught a ton of fish in the Toyota Series event and had a blast. I think I might move up there, someday. It’s a beautiful lake and a beautiful area of the country and I can’t wait to get back out there again for this Bass Pro Tour event.
“I’m kind of going out on a limb, but based on my experience in the Toyota Series, I think the deeper schools of smallmouth are going to be the ticket to winning this event,” Watson continued. “I believe you can catch good numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth, but the key to doing well is going to be finding a few groups of fish that haven’t been pounded over the last month and a half of tournaments. “
Watson said that he believes that electronics will play a huge role in this event.
“I had found some pretty good-sized schools of smallmouth in the Toyota Series event with my Garmin LiveScope, but after catching one fish out of the school I would have a hard time getting any others to bite. From what I’ve seen, the guys that did well were really just LiveScoping in open water and out chasing bait. So, the electronics are going to be a huge player in this tournament.”
Watson predicted that anglers fishing deep for smallmouth would likely be throwing swimbaits and drop-shot rigs – he mentioned that he would have black- and green-pumpkin-colored Tackle HD Leeches rigged up for drop-shotting, along with a Tackle HD Swimmer 3.5 swimbait – while the anglers targeting largemouth would be looking for clean hydrilla.
“It’s going to be a great event, for the anglers and the fans,” Watson went on to say. “We’ll need to make sure I’ve got my trolling batteries fully charged every night – if the wind is blowing, it’s going to be working overtime in this one.”
Anglers will take off from the Plattsburgh Boat Launch, located at 2 Dock St., in Plattsburgh, at 8 a.m. ET each day of competition. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will also be held at the Launch Ramp, beginning at 5 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all takeoff and takeout ceremonies and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
MLF officials have divided the lake into two zones in which anglers will compete – Zone A (north end of lake) and Zone B (south end of lake – Ticonderoga area). Anglers choosing to fish in Zone B must go through the normal takeoff procedure at the Plattsburgh Boat Launch and then trailer to a public ramp within Zone B. Anglers will depart the Boat Launch at 8 a.m., and competition will start with “lines in” at 9 a.m.
The Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits will feature anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by 4 pros that qualify from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
The four pros from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit that will join the Bass Pro Tour to compete at the Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits are Jacopo Gallelli, Ricky Robinson, Justin Cooper and Lawson Hibdon. Those anglers qualified via their finishes in the fifth Pro Circuit event of the year – the Federal Ammunition Stop 5 at the Potomac River Presented by Lucas Oil in Marbury, Maryland.
The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Lake Champlain on Thursday and Saturday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Friday and Sunday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Monday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Tuesday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all six days of competition from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Nov. 6 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.