PLATTSBURGH — They’re fishing the dream.
Local anglers, cousins and longtime fishing buddies Brett Carnright and Ryan Latinville recently finished fifth and eighth, respectively, in the Costa FLW Series tournament on Lake Champlain.
“It was really cool to have us both finish in the top 10. It’s something we’ve worked hard for,” Latinville said. “We’ve fished together since we were about 5 years old.”
Over three days, they both caught 15-bass limits, Carnright with 52 pounds and Latinville, 51 pounds, 8 ounces. For their efforts, Carnright took home $11,000 and Latinville, $6,800.
While the winner landed 54 pounds, 9 ounces, the duo were close to the third-place weight of 52 pounds, 3 ounces.
“We were not even a pound away from $20 grand,” Latinville said.
It was a great weekend for local and Vermont anglers, as Chris Adams of Shrewsbury, Vt., came in second; Thomas Lavictoire Jr. of West Rutland, Vt., landed in third; and Rob Lamoy of Chazy came in 10th. On the co-angler side, Bill Spence of St. Albans, Vt., was second and Edward Pecore of Plattsburgh was ninth.
“We definitely had a home field advantage,” Carnright said.
SUNUP TO SUNDOWN
His and Latinville’s success shows that knowledge of home waters can make a difference, especially when conditions are not what might be expected.
With higher than normal water levels, that knowledge and extensive practice allowed them to adapt quickly.
“Our practice hours were insane. We practiced from sunup to sundown for days,” Latinville said.
They had about 300 bass marked by territory during the weeks leading up to the event.
He said they concentrated on the north end of the lake, but didn’t want to get more specific than that.
Those practice sessions are easier to endure when you’re out there with a friend, they said.
Carnright and Latinville grew up together. That included playing hockey on the same side and facing each other on the soccer field.
They teamed up to fish about 15 years ago, along the shores of Cumberland Head and then near the mouth of the Saranac River.
“We obviously fell in love with it,” Carnright said.
They started entering local tourneys around 2008 and have steadily moved up to bigger and bigger events.
They have won some team tournaments and also have multiple top 10 finishes in the past.
Now that Carnright has a bass boat of his own, he and his buddy are able to enter events separately, but continue to practice together.
“Now, we want to win,” Latinville said, “and we know we can. We spend countless hours out there, and that’s what it takes.
“We both want to see each other do well, but there is also a friendly competition.”
They are hoping to continue to build on their most recent success.
The next stop on the Costa FLW series is on the St. Lawrence River in Clayton, followed by the regular season finale on the Potomac River.
“Already having a good finish in this one sets us up to have to go to the next ones,” Latinville said.
The top 40 from those three events earn an automatic berth in the Costa FLW championship.
A solid finish there could get one or both into the FLW series championship, where even last place is worth $10,000.
While they both have good jobs, a chance to make a good living at something they love might be too good an opportunity to pass up.
Carnright said one thing he loves about fishing is that the playing field and targets are always changing.
It all comes down to the decisions you make based on your experience and knowledge.
What worked in the past probably won’t work the next time. For instance, water levels were low last year but are high now.
“It’s like the craziest puzzle you could try to put together,” he said.
The two friends might have found an edge in their willingness to work together, as many competitive anglers prefer to be loners, keeping their secret stashes of fish to themselves.
Latinville said he and Carnright have no such reservations, often casting into the same area as fish move around.
“Some of the co-anglers say they’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “People are amazed that goes on out there.”
They agree that the bass fishing on Lake Champlain is great.
Latinville said the population seems to be increasing, and they’re catching more every year.
“It’s either the lake getting better, or we’re just getting better,” Carnright said.
Email Dan Heath: