Mille Lacs Champions Tour Pro Am

Noah Schultz Take Top Five Finish at Champions Tour Pro-Am. Joel Willert and Dane Vocelka Round Out Top Fifteen Standings

Lake Mille Lacs, the “Big Pond,” home of some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country was the host for the second annual Champions Tour Pro-Am event. Fifty-seven Champions Tour Pro Anglers were paired up with Student Angler Organization (SAO) Am anglers where they were to fish together as a team to catch their best eight bass limit.

The teams blasted off from Izatys Resort and had a full day (7 am to 3 pm) of fishing in front of them, with a West, Northwest breeze blowing, the anglers could fish the entire Lake the whole day. With no lake split, or mid-day break, the Pros and Ams had to strategically decide where they wanted to begin.

Mille Lacs Champions Tour Pro Am
Smeltinator Underspin (Ralph's Smoke) / Eye-Candy Paddle Shad (Blue Back Shad)

Schultz used the Smeltinator Underspin to locate his smallmouth in practice. “In a lot of areas, I could throw the Underspin and cover a lot of water,” said Noah. Schultz paired the Underspin with the Eye-Candy Paddle Shad. “The Paddle Shad I rigged up for practice, not only lasted all of practice, but the tournament as well. I can’t believe how durable it was.”

Mille Lacs Champions Tour Pro Am

During the tournament Schultz and Am partner, Ollie Neumann caught most of their smallmouth on Elite Series Marabou Jigs and a Nedster. Noah used the 3/32 oz black Marabou jig but switched it up to a brown once the bugs started hatching. “Looking back, it sounds like I should’ve switched up to the 1/16 oz Marabou,” said Noah.

The duo jumped out to an early lead after the first hour of fishing, with 19 lb 9 oz for six bass, and finished up the day in fourth place with 34 lb 13 oz, including a healthy 5 lb 10 oz kicker fish. The main difference in their day was fishing the lighter 1/8 oz Nedster head. “The fish seemed to really want the bait moving slow,” said Noah.

Following up on his successful Champions Tour event on Lake Okoboji, Dane Vocelka caught 32 lb 11 oz of smallmouth bass to finish the Pro-Am in 12th place, with Am angler Quinn Gare.

Like many of the other anglers, Dane was fishing shallow flats that were adjacent to large spawning boulders. “I through the Elite Series Marabou Jig in 1/16 oz, in both Black and Purple, and then the Brown one,” said Dane. “I just love the fluff and fall rate of our Marabou Jig.”

Right behind Dane, was Joel Willert who had just under 15 lb’s for three bass in the first thirty minutes of fishing. Willert and Am angler Avery Jarvi finished the day in 13th place with 32 lb 8 oz. Willert and Jarvi used the Nedster 3/16 oz with a TRD soft plastic to fishing boulders, both shallow and deep. “I had productive boulders deep (18’ to 20’) and shallow (4’ to 6),” said Joel. “It really came down to covering water and getting your bait in front of the right smallmouth.”

The Champions Tour will hold its second regular season event of the year on Gull Lake on Tuesday, July 16th.

Find more articles like "Mille Lacs Champions Tour Pro-Am" here for more fishing tips!