PLATTSBURGH — He didn’t feel well enough equipped for a long run to Lake Champlain’s fertile southern grass beds of Ticonderoga, but Bryan Labelle showed Friday that he has the tools necessary to take over the FLW EverStart Series Northern Division lead.
“I have a smaller boat —18 feet, 150-hp engine — so I’m not going to make the long run to Ti,” the Hinesburg, Vt. pro said. “There’s good fish up north, so I’m going to stick with them.”
Clearly, Labelle located those “good fish,” as his Day 2 limit of 21 pounds, 15 ounces was the bass tournament’s largest thus far. Adding this to his first day’s weight (17-5) gave him a two-day total of 39-4 and moved Labelle up 22 spots to first place.
Labelle caught all of his fish on a green pumpkin jig with a Zoom speed craw trailer. With a solid game plan of where he’d fish, Labelle said he hit four spots within relatively close proximity. Green fish were his main target, but he ended up with a lone brown bass.
“I targeted all largemouth, and at the end of the day I knew where there was two good (smallmouth) so I went after those and I got one of the two,” he said.
The second day began rather uneventfully, but clear, sunny conditions soon stimulated the ecosystem. Once the show got underway, Labelle found the fish very cooperative.
“The morning was slow and then the afternoon really picked up,” he said. “Everything became more active — the baitfish and (other fish) were more active.”
Three weeks after notching a top-10 finish at the FLW Tour Majors event on Lake Champlain, Joseph Thompson, of Landenberg, Penn. finds himself knocking on victory’s door. In seventh place with a first-day weight of 19-15, Thompson added 19-3 Friday to take second with 39-2 — just 2 ounces off the lead. His have been the most consistent weights, but Friday’s sack required a lot of moving.
“I had a decent bag, but I struggled; I really had to scramble for the fish,” Thompson said. “They didn’t appear to be anywhere I practiced, so I just ran around and hit dozens and dozens of places. I caught about 30 fish but it would be like every so many spots I’d finally get a good keeper.”
Florida pro Matt Greenblatt broke out of yesterday’s three-way tie for fourth place and gained one spot to third. He followed his first-round weight of 20-8 with 18-2 Friday and earned his final-round berth with a 38-10 total.
“It was a little colder last night than it has been (recently), and that dropped the water temperature,” Greenblatt explained. “It was a little slow this morning and they didn’t want anything. I had to slow down (the presentations), but as the water warmed up, the bite got better.”
Thursday, he fished the southern shallows of Ticonderoga; Friday, it was deeper, clear water spots in Lake Champlain’s upper reaches. In both scenarios, Manchester, Vt. co-angler Brian Alspaugh got the job done, and Friday’s catch of 14-2 gave him a total weight of 33-14 and enabled him to retain the co-angler lead.
“It was a completely different side of the lake (Friday) — we went all the way up by the Canadian border,” Alspaugh said. “You have to be versatile up here. It was a baitcaster all day yesterday and a spinning rod all day (Friday).”
Cecil Wolfe, of Cross, S.C., placed second with 32-2, Kenneth Roderick, Jr., of Putnam, Conn. slipped a notch to third with 31-6 and Carl Alexander, of Hampton took fourth with 30-7. Billy Carrol, of Fayetteville, N.C. was fifth with 30-4.
The third and final day of EverStart Series Northern Division action on Lake Champlain continues at today’s takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6 a.m. at Dock Street Landing. Today’s final weigh-in will be held at 3 p.m. at Walmart in Consumer Square. The event is free and open to the public.
FLW EverStart Series on Lake Champlain
Day 2 Results
Name, home Day 1/2 weight
1, Bryan Labelle, Hinesburg, Vt. 39-4
2, Joseph Thompson, Landenberg, Pa. 39-2
3, Matt Greenblatt, Port St Lucie, Fla. 38-10
4, Tom Belinda, Holidaysburg, Pa. 38-2
5, Thomas Waltz, Fairfax, Vt. 37-8
6, Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa. 36-14
7, George Lambeth, Thomasville, N.C. 36-14
8, Glenn Babineau, Mechanicville 36-9
9, J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla. 36-6
10, Joe Lucarelli, Center Harbor, N.H. 36-3
67, Howard Hammonds, Westport 24-4
86, Ryan Latinville, Plattsburgh 21-10
101, Rob Lamoy, Chazy 18-7
111, James Jeffries, Rouses Point 1 6-6
1, Brian Alspaugh, Manchester, Vt. 33-14
2, Cecil Wolfe, Cross, S.C. 32-2
3, Kenneth Roderick Jr, Putnam, Conn. 31-6
4, Carl Alexander, Hampton 3 0-7
5, Billy Carroll, Fayetteville, N.C. 30-4
6, Dan Tesch, Elkton, M.D. 30-2
7, Stephen Kocell, Waxhaw, N.C. 29-3
8, Matt Randles, Gallipolis, Ohio 29-1
9, Edward Pecore, Plattsburgh 28-15
10, Derek Bigford, Cicero 28-12
21, Mark Vondell, Upper Jay 26-6
43, Casey Casamento, Plattsburgh 23-10
73, David Blankenship Jr, Plattsburgh 18-8
83, Tony Bushey, Champlain 17-04
92, Nicholas Walker, Plattsburgh 15-3
96, Jason Bezio, Plattsburgh 13-15
105, Matthew Hyde, Lewis 12-2
120, Ben Wright, Peru 8-4
122, Barton Vanleuvan, Mooers 7-12
124, Scott Beebie, Plattsburgh 7-8