FISHING AGAIN Bassmaster Elites excited to return to Waddington

Hosmer’s Marina and the NNY Junior Bassmasters Club hosted a Meet and Greet for a group of Bassmaster Elite anglers on Sunday. In front are: Hosmer’s owner Bill Hosmer, Cliff Prince, Steve Kennedy, Bernie Schultz and Jason Williamson. In the boat are Junior Bassmasters Club members: Austin Spriggs, Hunter Spriggs, Mason Kiah, Andrew Kearns, Emerson Kiah, Lillian Kearns, Kaleb Kiah, Owen Kennedy, James Wilson, Lawson Robla, Andrew Robla, Jacob Farley and Jed Farley. Dave Shea/The Journal

There are factors which could potentially affect the fishing quality as the Bassmaster Elite Tour returns to Waddington on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Farmer’s Insurance Tournament. The tournament will close out the 2021 Elite Series and is offering a win and your in opportunity for the anglers to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic In March with a first place finish.

The St. Lawrence River is currently at historically low levels, anglers are not allowed to fish in Canadian waters and the tournament is being held just two weeks after the St. Lawrence River hosted a Major League Fishing Tournament out of Massena.

But according to two veterans of the Elite circuit, Steve Kennedy of Alabama and Jason Williamson of South Carolina, none of the potential factors will have any effect on the quality of the fishing and the size of the bags. The tournament returns to Waddington after last year’s event was moved to Clayton because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019 anglers out of Waddington set all-time BASS records with their smallmouth catches and spectator attendance.

“There are so many fish out there and we will find them and catch them,” said Kennedy in a Meet and Greet for the Elite anglers which was hosted by the Ogdensburg Junior Bassmasters Club at Hosmer’s Marina on Sunday.

“I like to fish shallow and I don’t see where the water level will be a problem. They are coming off the spawn and they should still be around shallow water. And we can fish the American side of Lake Ontario this year which should be a plus. And with the win-and- you- are-in format, a lot of guys will be making long runs to the lake.”

Williamson says the water level will not alter his tournament plans because he likes to fish in deeper water.

“I like to fish deep so the water level wouldn’t be a problem at all. I have seen never seen any problems because of water levels,” says Williamson.

“And there are so many smallmouth bass out there. I am expecting a great tournament.”

Although they have different approaches for the quest of tournament honors both share a love for the St. Lawrence River and fishing out of Waddington.

“I love the river and Waddington and I think all of the guys do. We will always come here as long as they want us to. The fishing is great and the location is great. We are away from any big cities and we can still enjoy a lot of tourist stuff,” said Kennedy.

“Waddington is one of my favorite places. Great fishing, great people,” said Williamson.

Buddy Gross, Cliff Prince and Benie Schultz also thoroughly enjoyed the meet and greet where they offered advice and some baits to the junior bassmasters, enjoyed a great meal and expressed that they are looking to bounce back from the Lake Champlain Tournament.

“I got off to a good start but they I just couldn’t get enough big ones to the boat,” said Gross who was the day one leader.

Second year Elite Tour member Bryan Schmitt of Maryland came away with the first place trophy and prize money at Plattsburgh on Sunday when the bite waned. Schmitt built a sizeable lead with first three days catches of 21-11, 21-15 and 19-4 pounds and hung on Sunday with a 16-1. Keith Combs finished 13 ounces back at 77-13.

WADDINGTON SCHEDULE

The 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series will include limited capacity at Whittaker Park and a variety of fun entertainment throughout the weekend at the Park and Downtown. The schedule for the tournament which is hosted by Fishcap and St. Lawrence County follows.

Thursday, July 15

Whittaker Park: 1 to 3 p.m. Bassmaster Vendors and Demos. 3 p.m. Weigh-In (limited food concession)

Downtown Waddington: 5 to 9 p.m. Main Street Cruise In (Classic Cars & Motorcycles), Music and Food Trucks

Friday, July 16

Whittaker Park: 1 to 3 p.m. Bassmaster Vendors and Demos. 3 p.m. Weigh-In (limited food concession)

Downtown Waddington: 5 to 9 p.m. Boats & Tunes on Main | Boat show, Food Trucks & Music: “Double Axel” presented by the Waddington Concert Series, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 17

Downtown: Waddington Farm and Arts Market from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Vendors, Food Trucks & Live Streaming of the Tournament & Weigh-In

Whittaker Park: 1 to 3 p.m. Bassmaster Vendors and Demos. 3 p.m. Weigh-In (limited food concession)

Sunday, July 18

Downtown: no activities

Whittaker Park: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fish & Fun Festival. 3 p.m. Weigh-In. Bassmaster Vendors and Demos, Area Craft & Food Vendors

Food & Vendors Packets here: www.fishcap.net/.../bassmaster-elite-at-st...

NOTE: This tournament is supported by a Market New York grant from I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism awarded as part of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Support of this tournament also provided by the Village of Waddington, St. Lawrence County and several sponsors.

The tournament and all associated festivities are being planned to ensure the safety of athletes, staff and guests.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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