UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Wolf River Chain of Lakes

Talmage is tops on Detroit River

Talmage is tops on Detroit River
Pro Aaron Talmage of LaGrange, Ind., stormed into first place after recording a two-day catch of 35 pounds, 14 ounces.

Hazelbaker claims first place in Co-angler Division, top-20 cut announced

TRENTON, Mich. - Using a secret location that he discovered nearly four years ago, Aaron Talmage of LaGrange, Ind., stormed into first place and took the No. 1 qualifying position heading into tomorrow's semifinals. Talmage, who ultimately recorded a two-day catch of 35 pounds, 14 ounces, said he couldn't have been happier with the way the tournament has progressed so far.

"It feels pretty good," said Talmage, who outfished a number of top FLW Tour pros on his way to grabbing the top spot on the pro leaderboard. "I know that I'm capable of winning a tournament on Lake Erie, but I just haven't been able to do it yet. Hopefully, luck is on my side this time."

Although Talmage may have had his share of luck in today's tournament, the key to his success clearly rested with his once-in-a-lifetime fishing hole.

"I've had this spot going for me for about four years now," said Talmage. "But the problem is that I usually can't get there because of the wind. I probably have the smallest boat in the tournament, and when the wind blows, I might as well not even bother going there."

According to Talmage, his spot is extremely small and difficult to locate even though it is only about 30 miles from the marina.

"Basically, it's a small rock pile in the middle of the lake," he said. "The rock pile is surrounded by sheepshead, and the bass can only be found on the very top of the rocks. I've probably caught about 100 sheepsheads by accident since Monday. But when I find those rocks and position my boat correctly, the bass fishing is unbelievable."

Unlike most anglers who are targeting smallmouth bass with various tube baits, Talmage said he is using jigging spoons almost exclusively at that location.

"I wind up losing a lot of fish that way, and I really need help netting the fish," he said. "But I've never seen that spot produce the way it has this week. I've seen more big fish there than I have in years."

Not surprisingly, Talmage said he is going back to his secret location tomorrow.

"I'm going with the same gameplan tomorrow," he said. "I have a few spots as backups, but if the wind really blows, I could be in trouble."

Lefebre continues stellar run on EverStart circuit

Two years ago, Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., was barely a blip on the professional bass-fishing radar screen. However, after turning in a series of stellar performances on both the EverStart and FLW trails over the last 18 months, Lefebre is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. And today was no exception.

Using a two-day catch of 34 pounds, 12 ounces, Lefebre grabbed the second overall qualifying position heading into tomorrow's semifinals.

"It's amazing," said Lefebre. "It feels really good. I'm on the biggest school of fish that I've ever seen. I'm really whacking them out there, and I haven't even made a dent yet. It's kind of rough out there on the water, but I'm feeling pretty good about my chances."

Lefebre, who is fishing tube baits in about 22 to 24 feet of water, said that he normally doesn't target smallmouth bass on Lake Erie.

"I usually fish for largemouth bass out here," he said. "But so far, I have the smallmouth bite working pretty well. But if the weather changes and the bite slows down, I know I can fall back on a largemouth bite."

Hibdon nets third place

Bolstered by a two-day catch of 34 pounds, 3 ounces, Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo., grabbed third place overall in the Pro Division heading into the semifinals.

"I've had two wonderful days of fishing here," said Hibdon, clearly enjoying the quality of the smallmouth fishing afforded on the Detroit River and surrounding areas. "This place is unreal. I'm catching a lot of fish and having a really good time right now. Hopefully that will continue."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top five pro qualifiers were Mark "the Z-Man" Zona (fourth) of Sturgis, Mich., with a total catch of 34 pounds, 3 ounces; and Cecil Cole (fifth) of Durand, Mich., with a catch of 33 pounds, 12 ounces.

Hal Graham of Toledo, Ohio, captured the day's big-bass award in the Pro Division after netting a 5-pound, 1-ounce smallmouth. Graham, who qualified for the semifinals in 10th place, won $750 for his efforts.

Co-angler Hazelbaker grabs top spot

Using a two-day catch of 31 pounds, 7 ounces, Joel Hazelbaker of Columbus, Ohio, took the overall lead in the Co-angler Division heading into Friday's semifinal round of competition.

"It feels really good to be in first place," he said. "But I really wish the tournament had ended today."

Hazelbaker, who has fished tube baits almost exclusively throughout the tournament to date, said he really feels at home on the Detroit River chain.

"I really felt confident coming in," he said. "I know this lake really well. But I was also lucky to have drawn two great pro partners who were really on fish. I don't think I've ever caught this many 3-pounders in my whole life. I just hope I can duplicate this with my new partner tomorrow."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top five co-angler semifinalists were Virgil Grant (second) of Findlay, Ohio, with a two-day catch of 30 pounds, 11 ounces; Jeff Zeisner (third) of Arva, Ontario, with a catch of 29 pounds, 1 ounce; Mike Graalman (fourth) of Genoa, Ohio, with a catch of 28 pounds, 5 ounces; and Andrew Lemle (fifth) of Perrysburg, Ohio, with a catch of 27 pounds, 12 ounces.

Leonard Smith of Pershing, Ind., and Dominic Gambardella of North Haven, Conn., shared today's big-bass award in the Co-angler Division after netting identical smallmouth weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces. Smith and Gambardella, who both qualified for the semifinals, split the $250 award.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 6 a.m. at Elizabeth Park Marina, located at 200 Grosse Isle Parkway in Trenton, Mich.

Click here for a preview of day three.

Related links:

Photos
Results
Results of day-two pairings
Day-three pairings
Press release

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2003-07-23-detroit-river 

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