Despite slow start, Schlapper takes lead At B.A.S.S. Nation Regional on Minnesota’s Lake Vermilion
TOWER, Minn. — A picky approach and a healthy dose of determination rewarded Pat Schlapper of Eleva, Wis., with a five-bass limit that weighed 19 pounds, 4 ounces and gave him the Day 1 lead at the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Regional on Minnesota’s Lake Vermilion.
Prior to the event, Schlapper spent 12 days scouting his tournament waters. That effort, he said, enabled him to establish a good, better, best ranking of various bottom habitat.
“I graphed a high percentage of the lake and found some areas that I thought were good,” Schlapper said. “In practice, I caught them on boulders, I caught them on chunk rock; I tried to really figure out multiple different things in case anything changed.
“Sometimes, it’s an isolated patch of rock, sometimes, it’s a boulder, sometimes it’s a certain section of a long reef or point. What I’ve found on this lake is that everything looks good and it takes a lot of time to find the areas where I feel like they live. Everything looks really good, but not everything is good.”
Focusing on the lake’s east side, Schlapper had waypoints in 3 to 25 feet of water. He started on a deeper spot he thought would offer quick results, but the fish were not cooperative.
“I had several different patterns going, and I had to use all of them today,” Schlapper said. “I started deep in an area that I thought was going to be good and actually had a really bad morning.
“About 11 o’clock, I got into one of my other areas that I knew
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Schlapper trusted his day to slower dragging presentations. He mixed it up with drop shots, tubes and a finesse jig with a craw trailer. The latter produced his biggest fish.
“It seems like all they eat up here is crawfish,” Schlapper said of his bait choices. “Every one you catch spits up a bunch of crawfish.”
Schlapper thanked his co-angler, Minnesota’s Adam Edwards, for the encouragement that helped him through the day’s challenging periods.