One of the greatest small mouth fisheries on the schedule for 2018 is Waddington, New York on the St. Lawrence River. In July 2017, the winning weight over the four day tournament exceeded 90 pounds, which showed just how spectacular this upstate New York body of water can be; however a month and a year later the fishery continued to prove itself with Josh Bertrand’s winning four day total of a whopping 95 pounds 3 ounces.
With all of that being said, the St. Lawrence event turned out to be the worst event of the season for Pipkens. Having a strong, successful history in the north and a preference for fishing small mouth, this was a tough one for Pipkens — and the fish — to swallow. The past three times the Bassmaster Elite Series has stopped at the St. Lawrence River, Pipkens has made the top 50 cut, placing 10th, 32nd, and 48th (2013, 2015, 2017, respectively). Unfortunately, this was not the case in 2018.
Although he had a decent practice, Pipkens struggled to adjust on Day 1 to land the big ones. After getting half the bites he thought he would, Pipkens adjusted late in the day and lost the only five key bites on his line. He ended the day with 11 pounds 6 ounces. “It was one of the most frustrating days I’ve ever had on the water. The lack of bites was tough, but the landing percentage was just brutal,” he said. This put him close to last and had him scrambling on day 2 to make up crucial Angler of the Year (AOY) points. Day 2 showed to be a better day for Pipkens, giving him a two day total of 30 pounds 6 ounces and placing him in 94th place overall.
Preceding the St. Lawrence River event, Pipkens was in 24th place in the AOY standings, however this last event dropped him to 39th. Luckily, the top 50 anglers in the AOY standings compete at the Angler of the Year Event September 20-23 at Lake Chatuge, Georgia, where he will fight for a spot to the Bassmaster Classic.