Schmitt Slams The Door On Bassmaster Elite Series Event At Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y., July 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bryan Schmitt talked all week about “special little things” that were happening to help him maintain the lead at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain.

Bryan Schmitt, of Deale, Md., has won the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain with a four-day total of 78 pounds, 5 ounces.

But the most special one happened just 15 minutes before Sunday’s final weigh-in, as Schmitt landed a 3 1/2-pound smallmouth that gave him a 12-ounce upgrade and allowed him to secure his first Elite Series win with a four-day total of 78 pounds, 5 ounces.

Call it luck. Call it fate. But the win seemed meant to be for the second-year Elite Series pro from Deale, Md.

“I pulled up to a buoy cable this afternoon right before time to come in and saw two fish on my (Garmin) LiveScope,” Schmitt said. “I threw that drop shot in there, felt the bite and didn’t really think it was a bass. But it turns out it was a bass — and without that fish I don’t win.

“When things like that are happening, man, it’s a special week.”

Schmitt talked each day about a waning bite, but he still managed to catch 21-11, 21-5 and 19-4 the first three rounds. Then on Championship Sunday, things did get tougher and he only managed to bring in 16-1.

That barely helped him stave off a hard charge from Texas pro Keith Combs, who finished with 77-13 — just 8 ounces behind the leader.

To catch his bass, Schmitt used a Spro Spin John, a Neko-rigged Missile Baits Quiver Worm and a Missile Baits Ned Bomb on a drop-shot rig.

“I caught a couple of key fish on the spinbait, but the Quiver Worm produced the bulk of my fish for sure,” he said. “I was fishing it on a Hayabusa Spin Muscle Guard Hook with a little nail weight just to get it down.

“These fish are smart, I guess. You could throw a jig in there and they wouldn’t bite it, but they would eat that Quiver Worm.”

For the Neko setup, Schmitt used a 6’10” Medium-Heavy Bryan Thrift Signature Series Fitzgerald Fishing spinning rod and a spinning reel spooled with 10-pound braid and a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. For the drop-shot rig, he used a drop-shot wacky hook from Hayabusa, a 1/4-ounce Reins Tungsten sinker with 8-pound fluorocarbon on a 7’2″ Aqua Dream Fitzgerald Fishing spinning rod. The only time he picked up a baitcaster was when he used a spinbait — he opted for his 7’1″ Medium-Heavy Signature Series Fitzgerald Fishing Swim Jig rod.

Another special element for Schmitt this week was the ability to overcome several unfortunate moments.

On Saturday, he had two key fish break his line. Then on Sunday, he lost several bass because of something he says he should have never allowed to happen.

“Today, it took me three lost fish to realize that the point on my drop-shot hook had bent in,” he said. “That’s not a smart move. Out of those three, I’ll bet you at least one of them was a big one because they were on a spot where I had caught three 4-pounders this week.

“I was able to overcome those kinds of mistakes — somehow.”

Even as he was standing in the weigh-in line, Schmitt said he thought he’d blown his chance with only 16-1 in his bag.

“I thought it was over, no way,” he said. “I knew one of these guys was going to have a good day — and Keith (Combs) did.”

Combs, who was in 16th place going into Saturday’s semifinal round, dialed in a topwater strategy for big smallmouth and caught 20-14 to jump into third heading into Championship Sunday.

The topwater pattern, which included a Strike King Sexy Dawg and another unnamed walking bait, produced again Sunday, as Combs caught 19-3 and held the unofficial lead on BassTrakk for a while.

Combs, who also used a couple of different jerkbaits, caught a pair of large fish that swallowed his lures so deeply he was forced to release them for fear of receiving a 4-ounce dead-fish penalty at the scales.

“With those two fish, I might have actually had enough to win,” Combs said. “I hate that it worked out that way, but it is what is.”

Minnesota pro Seth Feider, who came into the event just needing to avoid a total crash and burn to maintain his lead in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, did far more than simply survive. He finished in fourth place behind Schmitt, Combs and Texas pro Chris Zaldain.

With his fourth Top 10 of the season, Feider now has 699 points and holds a commanding lead over his closest competitors, Patrick Walters of South Carolina (644) and Canadian Chris Johnston (630).

Feider believes it will take something catastrophic to keep him from winning the AOY title now — and for that reason, he plans to stay close to the takeoff site during next week’s season-ending Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.

“I’m not going to take any chances, and that definitely means I won’t be making the long run to Lake Ontario,” Feider said. “I probably won’t get more than 30 miles from the takeoff site anytime during the week.”

Another Minnesota pro, Austin Felix, took Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the day honors with a 4-13. Oklahoma pro Dale Hightower had Big Bass of the week with the 5-15 he caught on Day 1.

Combs took home an additional $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, while Zaldain earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

Combs also earned $2,500 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Yamaha Power Pay program, while Zaldain claimed an additional $1,500 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

The event was hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau. 

Finish

Name

Hometown

Total lbs-oz

Earnings

1

Bryan Schmitt

Deale, MD

78-05

$100,000

2

Keith Combs

Huntington, TX

77-13

$36,000

3

Chris Zaldain

Fort Worth, TX

76-15

$30,000

4

Seth Feider

New Market, MN

76-14

$26,000

5

Austin Felix

Eden Prairie, MN

76-06

$21,000

6

Destin DeMarion

Grove City, PA

76-02

$19,000

7

Patrick Walters

Summerville, SC

74-10

$18,000

8

Lee Livesay 

Longview, TX

73-10

$17,000

9

Caleb Sumrall

New Iberia, LA

73-10

$16,000

10

Justin Hamner

Northport, AL

73-05

$15,000

11

Drew Cook            

Cairo, GA

56-12

$10,000

12

Chris Johnston

Otonabee, Ontario Canada

56-10

$10,000

13

Randy Sullivan

Breckenridge, TX

56-04

$10,000

14

Jeff Gustafson            

Keewatin, Ontario Canada

56-01

$10,000

15

Carl Jocumsen

Queensland, Australia

56-00

$10,000

16

Garrett Paquette

Canton, MI

55-14

$10,000

17

Luke Palmer            

Coalgate, OK

55-13

$10,000

18

Matt Robertson        

Kuttawa, KY

55-08

$10,000

19

Randy Pierson            

Oakdale, CA

55-04

$10,000

20

John Crews

Salem, VA

55-01

$10,000

21

Kenta Kimura

Osaka, Japan

55-01

$10,000

22

John Cox

DeBary, FL

55-00

$10,000

23

Brandon Lester

Fayetteville, TN

54-14

$10,000

24

Cody Hollen            

Beaverton, OR

54-10

$10,000

25

Chad Pipkens        

DeWitt, MI

54-01

$10,000

26

Ray Hanselman, Jr.      

Del Rio, TX

54-01

$10,000

27

KJ Queen

Catawba, NC

54-00

$10,000

28

Shane LeHew

Catawba. NC

53-08

$10,000

29

Brandon Palaniuk     

Rathdrum, ID

53-06

$10,000

30

Buddy Gross

Chickamauga, GA

53-03

$10,000

31

Taku Ito

Chiba, Japan

52-13

$10,000

32

Brandon Cobb

Greenwood, SC

52-12

$10,000

33

Drew Benton              

Blakely, GA

52-02

$10,000

34

Brandon Card

Salisbury, NC

52-02

$10,000

35

Marc Frazier

Newnan, GA

51-05

$10,000

36

Micah Frazier

Newnan, GA

51-05

$10,000

37

Jason Christie        

Park Hill, OK

50-08

$10,000

38

Chad Morgenthaler

Reeds Spring, MO

50-07

$10,000

39

Greg DiPalma

Millville, NJ

50-04

$10,000

40

Bill Weidler          

Helena, AL

49-11

$10,000

41

David Fritts

Lexington, NC

48-12

$10,000

42

Shane Lineberger

Lincolnton, NC

48-11

$10,000

43

Matt Arey

Shelby, NC

48-10

$10,000

44

Frank Talley

Temple, TX

42-07

$10,000

45

Dale Hightower

Mannford, OK

40-08

$11,000

46

Greg Hackney

Gonzales, LA

33-15

$5,000

47

Ed Loughran III            

Richmond, VA

33-13

$5,000

48

Cory Johnston

Cavan, Ontario Canada

33-12

$5,000

49

Chris Groh            

Spring Grove, IL

33-10

$5,000

50

Scott Canterbury      

Odenville, AL

33-10

$5,000

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Bass Pro Shops, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Rapala

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partner: AFTCO

Media Contact: Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. Communications Manager, 205-313-0945, [email protected]

The B.A.S.S. television fishing show, 'The Bassmasters,' will receive expanded airtime on ESPN networks. (PRNewsfoto/B.A.S.S. LLC)

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/schmitt-slams-the-door-on-bassmaster-elite-series-event-at-lake-champlain-301331191.html

SOURCE B.A.S.S.

Disclaimer: The above press release comes to you under an arrangement with PR Newswire. SportsDigest.in takes no editorial responsibility for the same.

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