Kyle Hall of Rio Vista, Texas, caught an 18-10 stringer on Saturday to win the 1000 Islands Northern FLW Series out of Clayton, N.Y. Hall’s three-day total of 68-11 garnered him a $45,700 payday.
“I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m still in shock – it hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Hall, who notched his first win in FLW competition. “I knew coming into the first day I had a chance to do well based on how my practice went. It’s the first time I’ve ever been up here and it’s the best place I’ve been in terms of hospitality and fishing. You can’t go anywhere else in the world and catch 6-pound smallmouth on a daily basis.”
Hall fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario during the event. On day 1, he fished the river and was able to put together a solid limit within a couple of hours.
“I caught 26 pounds by 9:30 (a.m.) Thursday,” said Hall. “I got about 25 pounds off one spot – a main-river current break. It had a few big rocks and went from about 40 to 20 feet, and then off to the side it came up from 50 to 35 feet. I caught a 5-pounder at another stop and by then I knew I wanted to be done and save fish.”
On Friday, Hall returned to his current break, but couldn’t get anything going. He said he decided to make his way to Lake Ontario and put a 6-pounder in the boat near Stony Island. From there, he worked through 15 to 20 stops to piece together a limit.
“I ran points that went out to the middle of the lake. Some had boulders – maybe 8 to 10 of them – and I just ran through them multiple times,” said Hall. “I caught my limit by 1:30 p.m. and spent the rest of the day helping my co-angler out.”
On Saturday, Lake Ontario was deemed off-limits by FLW officials due to high wind and waves. Hall said he returned to his current break once again, but ended up moving somewhere different due to the wind.
“I ran to an area in Canadian waters where I figured I could catch a limit. At about 8:30 (a.m.) I found that my drift paddles were really helping me out,” said Hall. “The wind was going one way and the current was going the other, but my paddles pulled me and I moved with the current. Without them, my boat would’ve been sitting on top the fish I targeted. They’re highly pressured and probably would’ve been spooked, but I was able to cast straight out in front of me and have my bait come right across their faces without my boat sitting over them.”
Hall caught his fish on a drop-shot rig using a 3-inch natural shad-colored Berkley Powerbait MaxScent Flatnose Minnow. He said he also threw a 3-inch smelt-colored Berkley Gulp Minnow on a dropshot rig early in the morning or when it got cloudy. Hall preferred 2/0-sized VMC Sureset hooks on 20-pound-test PowerPro Super Slick line with a 10-pound-test Seaguar InvizX flourocarbon leader. His line was spooled on a Shimano 15 Stradic C3000 reel attached to a 6-foot, 10-inch, G-Loomis NRX rod.
“I used 5/8-ounce weights throughout the week, and a 1-ounce weight today because of the wind,” said Hall. “I caught every fish looking at my Lowrance electronics this week – my favorite way to fish, by far.”
Here are the final totals for the top 10:
1. Kyle Hall: 68-11
2. Carl Jocumsen: 65-09
3. Chris Johnston: 64-06
4. A.J. Slegona: 61-13
5. Curtis Richardson: 60-15
6. Matt Becker: 60-12
7. John Hunter: 57-15
8. Austin Felix: 57-12
9. Jesse Spellicy: 54-10
10. Joe Ford: 53-07