Russ's Diary - Day One
Russ Smarr of Charleston became only the second West Virginian to fish a BassMaster's Classic in July.
Observer Chris Slemp (Lawrence) had a chance to ride with Russ on the first day of competition. Here's a blow-by-blow
account of Russ' Day One of the big tournament.
Classic rules allow only seven rods for competitors and two extra reels. If a rod is broken, it can be replaced
after being shown to the tournament officials and cleared.
A list of Russ' first day arsenal:
Frenzy crankbait in blue/black/orange, Catch'Em spinner bait with white skirt and tandem
silver blades, white skirted Catch'Em buzzbait, black and chartreuse shad bait purchased locally during practice,
Silver Daddy spoon from Russ' Lures, black Cabin Creek tube rigged Texas style, and a watermelon colored Zoom finesse
worm on a Carolina rig. He also tried two different topwater lures including the SpinDance and Pop-R.
• 6:00am Launch from Burnham Harbor on Lake Michigan in Boat #18. He's proceeded by Bernie Shultz and
followed by Rick Clunn.
• 6:16am Arrive at Calumet Harbor after a rough boat ride in the wake of Mike Iaconelli. Starts with the
buzz bait on a bank filled with large boulders in about 13-feet of water.
• 6:21am Switches to jigging the shad bait
• 6:28am Switch to the Frenzy Crankbait trying to pick up some active smallmouth while crossing a ditch
in 18-feet of water.
• 6:31am Back to buzzbait
• 6:37am Back to crank bait. "C'mon fish cooperate a little bit." Says Russ.
• 6:44am Shad bait. "They told me they wasn't any fish out here, I wouldn't believe 'em."
• 6:52am Spinnerbait
• 6:58am Ties on a Pop-R. "C'mon smallmouth. Be here!"
• 7:09am Crankbait
• 7:11am Shad
• 7:20am Spectator boat pulls up about 75-yards off shore and asks Russ if he's allowed to accept information.
Russ tells him no.
• 7:59am Silver Daddy spoon. Spectator asks if he can fish off shore. Russ says it's fine. Spectator soon
moves in on the bank fishing the other direction. Another spectator boat cuts off Russ and begins fishing up the
breakwall about 50-yards away.
• 8:19am Carolina Rigged worm.
• 8:24am No bites, Russ heads up the river.
• 8:32am A huge ship is coming up the Calumet River and cuts off any traffic for a moment. Kevin Van Damme
comes across the channel and begins fishing on the right, but not on Russ' bank. Russ kills time on the opposite
bank waiting for the ship to clear.
• 8:40am Ship gone. Heading up river.
• 8:44am Russ pulls on a nice looking largemouth spot with some rocks and a few downed trees. He proceeds
to comb the cover with a spinnerbait, crankbait, and tube.
• 9:00am Move again to a large bend in the river where Russ located fish during the pre-practice period.
More crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
• 9:09am Tube bait produces a short smallmouth off the rocks.
• 9:18am One breakoff on the tube, then goes back through the tacklebox again with no takers.
• 9:40am Head further upriver, but get blocked from the locks by a barge.
• 9:44am Russ bides his time flipping tube and spinnerbait around an isolated, aged fishing pier. He catches
a short largemouth from the spot.
• 10:16am Barge clears the lock.
• 10:42am Out of lock Russ heads up river to his largemouth spot. "It's in a big bend in the river
and you'll have to look back and you'll see a sign that says 'Acme Steel.'
• 10:44am Makes a few casts on some downed trees and grass, but no takers.
• 10:56am Move again, headed for Acme Steel.
• 11:06am When Russ rounds the bend at Acme Steel a huge barge is in the turn churning up mud. "Watch
him screw up my bank!"
• 11:31am Russ throws the Frenzy crankbait
• 11:40am Switches to the tube and the wind starts to pick up. "That's all we need is wind!"
• 11:43am Breaks off on a hookset. "Too many rocks." sighs Russ
• 11:53am Short largemouth on tube
• 11:54am Short largemouth on the tube. "They're there, but I don't thing there's any keepers."
• 11:58am Short largemouth on tube.
• 12:08pm Short largemouth on the spinner bait. "Another one of them footballs."
• 12:46pm First and only keeper of the day on the spinnerbait.
• 12:58pm Short largemouth on the spinnerbait.
• 1:05pm Back to the tube
• 1:07pm Short largemouth on the tube. Russ spends five-minutes trying to stretch it on the ruler with no
luck. "Man, I'm telling you the truth! Probably a 16th of an inch!!!"
• 1:15pm Back to the spinnerbait
• 1:17pm Short largemouth on the spinnerbait. Russ discusses the situation with his latest catch. "You
little fat thing, I think you're all out of the same family."
• 1:32pm "We're outta here."
• 1:55pm Lock through and eat lunch. Russ feeds most of his to some wayward ducks.
• 2:10pm A few more casts with the tube on the bank of the first fish of the day.
• 2:15pm "I'm done let's take that rough ride back up the lake."
• 2:30pm Russ calls it a day checking in with about 15-minutes left to go.
Russ at the Classic
Russ's Diary - Day One
Local angler shoots for bass fishing's top prize