Nothing like having someone that knows his target species like Jimmy does when hitting a lake over 120 miles long for the first time. Though Jimmy has fished there with some friends in the past, it was the first time on Lake Champlain on his boat. No GPS marked spots to hit, and not too much to go on except for his expertise due to his tremendous experience with bass and pike.
We hit Lake Champlain around noon, as we were planning on trying to get the last topwater bite of the summer towards the evening. The lake didn't look very encouraging, due to a moderate SouthEast wind gusting across the lake and bringing us 2 foot white capped waves.
As usual when searching for bass or pike, we tied on spinnerbaits, and began drifting while casting at different depths. Jimmy didn't take long to hook up, stated off with a mid size pike, followed by a nice smallmouth bass. My success was a lot slower to come, took me nearly 1 hour to hook my first bass ever on Lake Champlain. Turned out to be a nice 4 lbs lunker.
The bass weren't to active, many of them were short striking or just bumping our lures, with the occasional following bass or pike. Eventually, the pattern started to show, the bass were hitting sporadically in open water around 10-12 feet deep, typically close to weed patches. The weed patches weren't visible to us due to the strong wind and waves turning over the water, which made the fishing significantly more difficult. Jimmy was doing a lot better than I was throughout the day, landing about 75% of all the fish we caught. Though the numbers were kind of low at about 20 bass for the day between both of us, the sizes were quite good, most of the fish we landed were above 2.5 lbs, with a couple 4 lbs over and over. A couple Northern Pike were the bonus fish.
The spinnerbait was deadly, landing all of Jimmy's catches, and over half of mine. I also landed a smallmouth bass on a crankbait, as well as this nice 3.5 lbs bass while drifting a small, weightless, rubber minnow about 30 feet behind the boat.
All in all, another interesting day of bass fishing, thanks to my friend Jimmy. Bass are a species I rarely target, especially smallmouth bass fishing, which I've been neglecting for a number of years. Nice to change it up every once in a while, and Lake Champlain has quite the bass fishery to offer. In addition, you can profit from tons of free boat ramps which are very well maintained, not to mention some great deals on crossborder shopping.
Jimmy is available for guided outings until November, contact him by clicking: http://freshwaterphil.com/contactjim.cfm