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June 26, 2011

Avena sweeps to victory on Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH — Stubborn commitment to a spot often straddles the border of foolishness and brilliance.

On a lake straddling the border of New York and Vermont, Adrian Avena displayed a brilliant plan as he swept the EverStart Northern Division bass tournament on Lake Champlain.

Grabbing the lead on Day 1, Avena held off all challengers and entered the final round with a pound advantage. Saturday, he pushed his total to an even 58 pounds and secured the victory by a margin of 3 pounds, 12 ounces.

Aaron Wessels made a big move into second place, and Glenn Babineau finished third. Myron Worona won the co-angler division, with Chris Kinney-Hermes of Champlain placing eighth.

Each day, Avena, a Vineland, N.J. native, joined several of his competitors in the 70-plus-mile run to Ticonderoga at the lake's south end. There, he focused most of his efforts on a small drain running out of a creek. A natural travel lane with submerged wood and lots of grass created an ideal postspawn feeding zone that frequently replenished.

"Every day was different for me," he said. "There was a lot of fish in my key area, and I just had to mix up my presentations and make them eat."

On days one and two, Avena used an assortment of baits, including swimbaits, buzzbaits, Senkos and flipping baits. Day three saw him do most of his damage with a Storm Wiggle Wart.

"I started off with the Wiggle Wart today and I just went to town," Avena said. "I just wore them out. At one point, I caught two 2-pounders at one time on that crankbait. I probably caught 30 fish on that in the morning and then I had to switch it up to something else."

Avena said he had a solid limit of about 19 pounds by 8:30. A last-minute decision to try one more spot before heading back led to him catching one of his biggest fish, which enabled him to cull up and gain more than a pound.

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