I grew up on the Adirondack Coast; a coast that stretches along the 120 mile Lake Champlain and an area that contains more rivers and streams then you can count. For me, this water was used more for the typical teenage girl activities of sun tanning and boating, not for fishing trout, small mouths, large mouths, or any of the other 80 species of fish we have in the waters on the Adirondack Coast. Although I still have yet to go bass fishing on Lake Champlain, because of my new position at the Visitors Bureau, my whole perspective on bass fishing and bass fishing tournaments has changed. Sometimes, I even like to throw fun bass fishing facts into conversations just because I think it’s cool!
The Adirondack Coast hosts up to 6 bass fishing tournaments per year on Lake Champlain and depending upon the year, 1 to 2 of these tournaments are at the professional level; bringing 400 anglers and their families from all over the U.S., Canada, and sometimes even Japan or France, to the greater Plattsburgh area. The week before a tournament you will see bass fishing boats in every parking lot and on every road in town. These anglers spend seven days on the Adirondack Coast and spend their money at grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, repair shops and on anything else you may need during a long stay somewhere other than home; leaving an estimated economic impact of well over $1.2 million. Not only do they have a huge impact on our economy, but they are some of the nicest men and women you will ever have the chance to meet.
The pro-level tournaments are usually three day tournaments that have a consistent 2:00pm weigh in every day, with the finals on the third day. If you are going to check out any of the weigh-ins, I recommend the finals! Each tournament is different, but usually it is the top 20-24 anglers and co-anglers competing for top weights and prizes; prizes being thousands of dollars and a brand new bass fishing boat.
Finals at these tournaments are no joke! You can see the nerves as the anglers wait to go up on stage and weigh the (hopefully) 5 bass limit they caught that day. Each bass is pulled out of the specialty bags one at a time and showed to the audience, allowing the audience to judge whether or not they think that angler will knock out the person that weighed in before them. Now I am new to this bass fishing stuff, but I found myself getting easily sucked in to the “ooohs” and “aahhhs” of the crowd. I even found myself becoming somewhat of a weight expert as I shook my head yes or no in response to seeing each bass…. “nope, that bass is definitely not big enough” or “wowww, yup, he’s got it” were just a few of the statements that I was thinking out loud. This anxiety and excitement keeps building until, finally, one angler and one co-angler are named winners; spots that put money in your pocket and a new bass fishing boat behind your truck!
If you can’t make it down to Dock Street Landing for the weigh-ins, they are all streamed live on the tournament’s website. So whether you’re in the front row catching some of the schwag the announcer’s throw out to the audience or in front of your computer screen watching the pressure build, don’t forget to come out, support, and catch the excitement at the Adirondack Coast bass fishing tournaments!