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Hooks and Antlers outdoor column

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Boat launches along the St. Lawrence River have seen an influx of bass boats in recent weeks as professional anglers have been visiting the area in preparation for the B.A.S.S. Elite Series Tournament in Waddington on Aug. 8-11.

Among those anglers was Kurt Dove of Del Rio, Texas, and I had the opportunity to talk with Kurt at the end of his second practice day.

B.A.S.S. Practice Rules

During the 30 days before the Waddington event, the competing pros are not allowed to fish the tournament waters, and that is why the anglers have been fishing here in late June and early July.

The next time the anglers can fish the tournament waters will be the 2 1/2 practice days on Aug. 5-7.

During the 30 non-fishing days, anglers are prohibited from getting any information on fishing tournament waters except that information that is available to the general public such as magazine articles, web-sites, etc.

Pre-trip Info

Dove had some familiarity with fishing the St. Lawrence River as he has competed in several tournaments out of Clayton including the 2011 Wal-Mart Tournament, where he finished fifth.

Before his practice for the Waddington event, Dove contacted a couple of New York Federation anglers for information, and he acquired maps, including a copy of “The Nautical Seaway Trail,” a book that includes detailed information on the St. Lawrence River.

The Seaway Trail book serves as Dove’s guide for navigating the river and for initial identification of likely fish-holding areas.

Texas to New York

Pro anglers have busy schedules as evidenced by Dove’s activities during the three weeks before coming to the St. Lawrence River. He participated in B.A.S.S. Northern Open on the James River at Richmond, Va., and the Elite Series on the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., and then returned to Texas, where he conducted the Kurt Dove’s Youth Pro-Bass Camp on Lake Amistad.

At the camp’s close, Dove flew to Rochester, where he hooked up with Bill Lortz. Lortz is a New York B.A.S.S. Federation angler, and Dove met Lortz in 2007.

Since then, the two have become friends, a common occurrence among competition anglers. For convenience sake, the pair loaded up Lortz’s boat and headed to the Lisbon Beach Campground on July 3.

Practice Days

The plan for Thursday’s fishing was to launch at Lisbon Beach and gain familiarization with the waters from there to Waddington; however, when Dove and Lortz tried to get through the Iroquois Dam, all gates were uncharacteristically closed. The pair then changed plans and headed upriver.

Having licenses for both New York and Ontario waters, the pair worked upriver on the Canadian side and downriver on the U.S. side.

They examined water all the way to Oak Point, looking for areas that might have the right cover to hold bass in early August.

That Friday, Dove and Lortz launched in Waddington and worked their way down to Massena.

Regarding that stretch of water, Dove said, “This section of river seemed to have fewer fish than what we saw yesterday, but there were some really nice ones there.”

On Saturday, Dove and Lortz planned to fish from Lisbon to Chippewa Bay. Their final-day plans were going to be based on what happened Saturday although Dove thought they might take a look around Clayton.

The pro angler said, “You have to keep an open mind; you don’t want to get too locked in to anything.”

BK Racing

Dove and fellow angler Paul Pagnato of Virginia comprise the BK Fishing Team. They are sponsored by NASCAR’s BK Racing.

Like the BK Racing cars driven by David Reutimann of Florida and Travis Kvapil of Wisconsin, Dove’s and Pagnato’s boats bear the numbers 83 and 93, respectively.

Economic Impact

The Waddington B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament promises to have a positive economic impact across the area.

For example during their practice days, Lortz paid campground fees for four nights, purchased more than 100 gallons of gasoline, made several trips to the grocery store, and visited a couple of restaurants.

When Dove comes up for the actual tournament, he is making the event a week-long family vacation. He, his wife, Rhonda, dog Salsa, a nephew, and Rhonda’s parents from Pittsburg will be staying at Pleasant View Cottages on Black Lake.

Outdoors Calendar

Monday: Trap and Skeet Shooting at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club (Pray Rd.) at 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Trap Shooting at Moose River F&G Club (Davis Bridge Road) at 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Club at 7 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 45th annual Decoy, Wildlife Art and Sporting Collectibles Show at Clayton Arena.

Saturday: Sporting Clay Shoot at Black Lake F&G Club at 9 a.m.

Saturday: Annual Spey Nation Event at Salmon River’s Pineville Boat Launch (speynation.com).

Sunday: Ogdensburg Sandbar Classic Fishing Derby at Hosmer’s Marina.

Sunday: Trapper Education Course at Harrisville R&G Club (Pre-register at 644-4643).

July 27: QDMA Youth Adventure Day at Lucky Star Ranch in Chaumont (767-5440).

July 27-28: SLCTA hosts annual Trapper’s Rendezvous at Massena R&G Club.

July 27-28: Annual Gun Show and Flea Market at Massena R&G Club (769-2627).

Aug. 3: 12th annual St. Lawrence River Walleye Challenge (stlawrenceriverwalleyeassociation.com).

Aug. 4: Homestudy Hunter Education Course at Watertown Sportsman’s Club (pre-register at 785-253).

Aug. 10-11: Hunter Education Course at Gouvereur R&G Club (pre-register at 287-9398).

Aug. 11: Bowhunter Education Course at Ferari’s Archery Shop in Carthage (pre-register at shop).

Aug. 13, 15, 17: Hunter Education Course at Mannnsville-Manor Fire Hall (pre-register at 785-2533).

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