Scott Siller took one step closer to the thrill of victory by catching another heavyweight limit in the Bass Pro Shops Northern Open presented by Allstate on Lake Champlain.

The Milwaukee, Wis., angler bagged a 19-pound, 2-ounce limit today to retain the lead in the pro division with 39-2. “Yesterday was a really awesome day after the weigh-in to be on the top of a Bassmaster leaderboard,” Siller said. “It was like a birthday all day long, so I almost didn’t want today to come around.”

Now he is glad today did come around because he kept the lead and is in position to win his first Bassmaster event. “It was a tough day,” he said. “I had a couple of fish I wished I could have culled out.”

The 44-year-old police officer caught a two keeper bass early on a jig, but when he couldn’t get any more bites, Siller switched to a square bill crankbait. On the second cast, he caught a 5-pounder. “I stuck with that for a while, and then went back to the jig; I just mixed it up a bit to try to figure out what would trigger the fish to bite,” he said.

Siller didn’t throw the square bill in practice but he felt like it was a good option to get some bites after the fish stopped hitting the jig Friday. “I am not a big crankbait fisherman, but the conditions and the cover and structure I was fishing pointed toward a crankbait,” he said.

For the second straight day, Siller had his limit in his first hour of fishing. “But I had one that was over 5 and the other four were under 3 pounds,” he said. “Two of them were around the 2-pound mark, and I culled both of them out with some decent fish.”

Fishing pressure has been nil in Seller’s area, but he did have some observers around today. “There is a club tournament tomorrow in that area, and I probably had about half a dozen bass boats that were watching me fish for most of the day,” he said. “I went to three of four areas, and they followed me everywhere I went. So I don’t know if they were watching as spectators or if I am going to have company tomorrow.”

Touring pro Shin Fukae moved into second place with 38 pounds. The Palestine, Texas, angler fished for largemouth again today and caught a small limit in the morning. He later added two 4-pounders while rotating between three spots. “Most of my fish though came from one spot,” he said.

Rounding out the Top 5 in the pro division are Dave Wolak, Wake Forest, N.C., in third place with 37-2; Mike Iaconelli, Pittsgrove, N.J., fourth, 36-15; and Aaron Martens, Leeds, Ala., fifth, 36-2.

Watervliet, N.Y., angler James Schneider moved into the co-angler lead with 20-13. The 49-year-old orthopedic surgeon said he has fished Champlain about 20 times. “I am very familiar with what the bass want to eat here,” said Schneider, who disclosed he has caught all of his smallmouth both days on Li’l Hustler spinnerbaits.

The Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau is the host for this week’s Northern Open. The final-day launch, beginning at 5:30 a.m., and the weigh-in, beginning at 2 p.m., will feature the Top 12 anglers in the pro and co-angler divisions and will be held at Dock Street Landing at 5 Dock Street in Plattsburgh.

Image courtesy James Overstreet/Bassmaster

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