The first day Lake Champlain Bassmaster Eastern Open delivered three bags of 21 pounds or better, and Bobby Lane’s 21-13 sack was the stoutest among them.
Lane, a Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Lakeland, Fla., is dominating the Eastern Opens. He won stop No. 1 at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Florida back in February and finished 16th at Lake Norman in North Carolina in May.
Bryan Labelle of Hinesburg, Vt., weighed 21-08 for 2nd place. Chris Molineaux of Hope Valley, R.I., is 3rd with 21 pounds.
“My day started tough,” Lane said. “I was taking waves over the bow all morning. My smallmouth weren’t firing, and I caught one little fish early. I thought I’d be lucky to catch 16 or 17 pounds, but then I just started running and went to a bay without wind and started flipping and frogging.”
He caught his two biggest fish within five minutes of one another, and he said he didn't have a lot of bites throughout the day.
“When you’re flipping and frogging, you’re not going to catch a lot," Lane added. “But the ones you catch are generally going to be big. I’m going to fish new water tomorrow and see what I can do.”
He noted he’s not necessarily fishing north or south. “It's more central,” he said.
Largemouth were the dominant fish at the scales, with most anglers making big runs north or south. Lane weighed all largemouth, and his limit included two 5 1/2-pounders. Labelle also weighed all largemouth, and Molineaux would have weighed five largemouth as well, but he caught a big smallmouth at his final stop that helped him add a few ounces.
At one point, there was a three-way tie for big fish with three largemouth that weighed 5-09. Then Franklinville, N.J., pro Pete Gluszek broke the tie with a 5-11 fish that held up as big bass of the day.
Here's how the initial top 12 stacks up:
1. Bobby Lane: 21-13
2. Bryan Labelle: 21-08
3. Chris Molineaux: 21-00
4. Greg Dipalma: 20-13
5. Gerald Spohrer: 20-12
6. (tie) Buddy Cipoletti: 20-11
6. (tie) John Cox: 20-11
8. (tie) Randy Huffman: 20-09
8. (tie) Scott Siller: 20-09
10. Alex Wetherell: 20-05
11. Rich Howes: 19-12
12. Wesley Strader: 19-10