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ICast and the Northern Swing

Posted by stephen on August 10, 2017

Stephen Champlain 2017.png

Well, we’re back home in Arkansas enjoying a couple weeks off before we head up to St. Clair to finish off the Elite Series season.  My son, Beau, has been away fishing with his buddy up in Northern Arkansas on the White River and Norfork River.  It’s the last hoorah before school starts up and he’s been enjoying every minute.  My wife and I were able to spend some time together this past weekend in Memphis visiting with some friends and seeing James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt play.  After getting home from our New York swing it was nice to put the tackle away and do some recharging.

This coming week I’ll start my typical pretournament routine of packing up the boat then go spend a couple days fishing around the house to get ready.  There are a couple smaller places around here where I can polish up on my drop shotting a bit before heading out.

St. Clair has been pretty good to me in the past.  In the past when I went there I would run all around; recently I’ve kind of settled into one large area and just go to dissecting it.  I did manage to get up there a couple days before ICast.  Really most of what I did was just ride around and look at the grass as it seems to change every year.  After a tough season overall, I’d like to end with some positive momentum heading into the offseason.

The northern swing of the Elites did not quite go as planned.  It was one of those deals where I was catching a ton of fish, but just wasn’t able to get enough of those quality bites that I needed.  I had not missed a check before at the St. Lawrence so that was a bit disappointing.  I was pretty surprised by the weights overall as Champlain and the St. Lawrence continue to churn them out!

ICast went well this year in Orlando.  It’s usually a hustle and bustle so I don’t get too much time to see what cool new products are outside my booth, but I’m pretty excited about some of the products we are coming out with this year.  LiveTarget is expanding the swimbait series as well as adding a new spinner rig and hollow belly popping frog which I’m real excited about.  I got to use these in the prototype phase so I am very excited to get my hands on the real deal.

Z-Man is bringing some more cool soft plastics to market including the Trick Shotz.  I’ve really enjoyed tinkering with it especially on a drop shot up north.  I caught a ton of fish at Champlain and the St. Lawrence with it.

Also, St. Croix is releasing a new line of rods called the Legend X Series.  I’ve got to play around with these some in the prototype phase and I’m real anxious to get my hands on more.  These will be excellent additions to their overall line.

The new schedule for 2018 is out and it seems promising.  It’s a very unique schedule with a couple new places we’ve not been along with heading to some of the ones we have been at different times of year.  Along with the new schedule, the new information rule was passed by BASS.  We’ll be revisiting it to potentially get some better wording, but overall I’m cautiously optimistic about the change.  I like some aspects of it, like the part about not soliciting waypoints or specific fishing locations.  Overall, it will be a hard rule to enforce however.

We’ve got the final Elite Series event on St. Clair and will still have an opportunity to possibly salvage a Classic berth at the final Central Open on Grand Lake.  I’ve fished Grand before, but have never fished a tournament there during that time of year.  I did however do a writers event there in the fall so I have something to go off.  It’s going to probably be a tough one where thirteen to fifteen pounds a day will be extremely good.  That definitely suits my style and I’m hoping to get some of the positive momentum going at St. Clair and carry it in to that one. – SB