FLW CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS - SEPTEMBER 15-17, 2017

FLW Canada – Tri-Lakes 2016 – Leg 1 Tri-Lakes 2016 – Leg 1

FLW Canada – Tri-Lakes 2016 – Leg 1 Tri-Lakes 2016 – Leg 1

Paul Tsigaris
Paul Tsigaris
I have been fishing tournaments for a few years now in a local series in the Kawartha lakes region with some success.  When I saw that the FLW was coming to Canada I immediately knew that I was going to fish the entire series, regardless of what it took to work it into my schedule. The first event was being held on the tri-lakes which consist of Chemong, Buckhorn and Pigeon Lake.  

Our pre-fish began on June 20th and lasted 5 days.  Having fished the lake several times we had some spots marked on our GPS and we started to work them for smallmouth.  We spent hours working our old spots, while trying to accumulate new ones and while we managed to get bit, the size just wasn’t there.  The one thing that caught our eye was that there were algae blooms on a lot of the transition spots that we working which we felt were keeping the large smallies away.

Frustrated with the results we were getting, we knew that we had to change our strategy to try to find some bigger fish.  This meant putting away our finesse gear and picking up flipping sticks.   We tried several spots that my partner had previously marked off, but to no avail.  We were getting fish but they were all walleye and they were very aggressive, hitting large jigs with trailers.  We made some minor adjustments to both our gear and the areas we were fishing and began to get more dialed in.  We normally don’t pre-fish with hooks but we were forced to because we still weren’t on the fish and we needed to see some size.

With having made some adjustments the next spot we pulled up to looked like it was going to be a treasure trove.  My first flip produced a 5+ pounder (pictured below) and a few more chunks.      

With a strategy in place, we began looking for more spots that resembled the one that we had just landed the fish at and began marking them off.  We cut our hooks, put our head down and grinded day and night to find more water.

Tournament day came quick and we were lucky enough to get the #7 spot for our blast off.  Knowing that the pattern we had would likely hold up all day, we went back to some of our deep-water smallmouth spots, which in retrospect was likely our downfall.  We spent way too long waiting and wanting the smallmouth to bite and it just didn’t happen.  We transitioned back to our largemouth pattern and instantly started getting fish.  With half a day gone we managed to put a 13.89 bag together.  While it wasn’t what we wanted, we were satisfied that we could remain in the hunt on day two.

Day two proved to be very difficult, mostly because we made the same mistake most tournament anglers make from time to time.  We noticed that the leaders had weighed in a big bag of smallies so we thought maybe they had turned on and we immediately went to our best smallmouth spot.  We started getting fish but again, the quality wasn’t there.  We cycled a few more spots and realized we weren’t going to make it happen and once again picked up our flipping sticks.  

With about half the day being gone (day 2 has one less hour to fish) we worked our spots, some community holes, some we had found on our own.  At about 12:30 we had 1 fish in the boat and it just barely made the cut on the ruler.  On a whim, we stopped at a spot that we hadn’t pre-fished but looked like all the water we had fished the day before.  We worked it for about 10 minutes when my partner set in on what I was pretty sure was a log.  It was a 5 pounder and it instantly gave us some hope.  We put our heads down and got one more out of the same stretch that was over 3.

We moved on and managed to get 3 more quality bites.  We knew that we were not going to win but we were hopeful that we would at least make the cut and get into the top ten to give us a birth into the championship on Big Rideau.  We brought 14.09 to the scales on day two and remained in 10th position right up until the last boat weighed in.  Unfortunately, the last boat to weigh in was the day one leader, and in the end, the tournament champion; they bumped us into 11th place.  
 
Hindsight is always 20/20 or so the saying goes and it certainly held true for us during this leg of the tournament series.  The important thing is that we learned from our mistakes and made sure that we didn’t let history repeat itself when we took to the water on Rice Lake for leg #2 of the FLW Canada series.

Paul Tsigaris

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