UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Coates breaks day-three jinx

Coates breaks day-three jinx
Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio, leads the EverStart Series Northeastern on Lake Erie with 19 pounds, 12 ounces.

CLEVELAND - Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio, has been haunted by the day-three jinx since he started fishing EverStarts. He has made the finals three other times, but always stumbles on day three.

That was not the case today. Coates brought in the biggest limit in the Pro Division - 19 pounds, 12 ounces - to take the lead in the EverStart Series Northeastern Division event and get the day-three monkey off his back.

"That alone feels great," he said. "I was really starting to wonder about my problem with day three, so breaking through is a relief."

Coates, who lives in nearby Amherst, is a local on these waters and said he felt like he got in the groove today. Not only did he take the Pro Division lead, but his co-angler, who caught 19 pounds, 11 ounces from the back of his boat, took the Co-angler Division lead as well.

"The bite was better today than it's been all week," Coates said. "I probably caught 10 keepers, so I was able to cull up a few times, which helped. After what I saw today, I feel pretty good about tomorrow."

Clapper just 1-9 behind

To say Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, is due to win an EverStart is an understatement.Pro Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, is in second with 18 pounds, 7 ounces. The well-known Great Lakes pro has logged six top-10s in EverStart competition and still remains winless. He is hoping that this event is going to be the one.

Today he weighed in 18 pounds, 7 ounces to pull within a pound and a half of the lead in second place.

Last week Clapper finished fourth in the EverStart Northern out of Detroit, and today he returned to the scene of the crime to catch his fish.

"I ran 138 miles round trip," he said. "When I got over there, I had the whole area to myself, but I couldn't really get it going. I had four quality bites and one real small one, which killed me. I had the fish on to replace him but he came off."

Hastings back in the hunt

Pro Aaron Hastings of Middletown, Md., is in third with 18 pounds, 5 ounces.After leading on day one, Aaron Hastings of Middletown, Md., slipped to the back of the top 10 yesterday, but he re-emerged back in front today with 18 pounds, 5 ounces for third place.

"I got covered up yesterday," Hastings said. "Everyone was professional, but it was a matter of not being able to move around like I could the first day. I got boxed in and couldn't make adjustments. I was simply able to move around a lot more today."

Hastings, who put in some major practice time on Erie, said there is no substitute for good electronics when combing the deep waters of Erie for smallmouths.

"In practice, I looked for three things with the depth finder: a change in bottom, either in elevation or hardness, bait and fish," he said. "Anywhere I found those three things together at the right depth, I caught fish."

Smith grabs fourth

David Smith of Del City, Okla., grinded out another limit today weighing 14 pounds, 11Pro David Smith of Del City, Okla., is in fourth with 14 pounds, 11 ounces. ounces for fourth.

"I went to the area where I caught them the last couple of days, and it was just played out," Smith said. "There has probably been 150 pounds of smallmouth pulled off that area in the last two days."

Smith moved farther west toward Lorain where he "figured a little something out" and recovered with a solid limit.

Balog to fifth

Pro Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich., is in fifth with 12 pounds, 13 ounces.Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich., moved up to his best spot of the week, fifth place, with three bass for 12 pounds, 13 ounces.

Relatively speaking, Balog is fishing close, 13 to 14 miles from Cleveland.

"I've got a reef that has a killer little ridge running off of it in about 28 to 33 feet of water," Balog said. "It's got a ton of rock and a ton of fish on it."

As proof of Balog's bronze-back mine, his co-angler weighed in 18 pounds, 11 ounces.

"I had a pretty humbling experience today," Balog told EverStart Series Tournament Director Chris Jones on stage. "My co-angler used a bait that I helped design - the Drop Shot Goby - in my namesake color - Balog's Choice - and he spanked me with it. He quit fishing at 10 o'clock and probably could have quit fishing at 8."

"I'm around a lot of fish," he added. "They bit real good the first hour, and I didn't capitalize during that hour; I just didn't have the touch to keep them on."

Rest of the best

Here is how the rest of the anglers in the top 10 ended up after day three:

6th: Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., 12-1
7th: Christopher King of South Amherst, Ohio, 10-11
8th: Warren Wyman of Calera, Ala., 7-7
9th: Jason Carleton of Rochester, N.Y., 4-6
10th: Jack Dalzell of Amherst, Ohio, 3-3

Wilson maintains co-angler lead

It has been a week of firsts for co-angler John Wilson of Hazelwood, N.C. This is hisJohn Wilson of Hazelwood, N.C., leads the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Series Northeastern with 19 pounds, 11 ounces. first season fishing the EverStart Series; this is his first trip to Lake Erie; and today was the first time he has weighed in 19 pounds, 11 ounces of smallmouths in a tournament, which also has him in first place for the third day in a row.

Wilson fished with Bryan Coates today and dragged tubes and drop-shots behind the pro leader to catch his fish.

"Those were the only five bites I had all day," Wilson said. "Every time I set the hook, it would be another big one - I couldn't believe it."

Ron Jackups of Fairfield, Ohio, fished with Joe Balog today and caught 18 pounds, 11 ounces in the first several hours of the fishing day to move into second place.

Mark Myers of Minneapolis fished with Dave Lefebre today to sack 18 pounds, 3 ounces for third.

"I'm using unique bait I have a lot of confidence in," Myers said. "I'm fishing with Aaron Hastings tomorrow, and hopefully it will work again."

Jason Allison of Washington, Pa., is in fourth with 16 pounds.

Dale Fisher of Watsontown, Pa., is in fifth with 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:

6th: Teddy Bradley of Mishawaka, Ind., 3-11
7th: Rick Horner of Bridgewater Conn., 2-13
8th: Wayne Wininger of Waynesboro, Pa., 1-8
9th: Bill Gift of Alix, Ark.
10th: Alan Hench of Lititz, Pa.

The final day begins tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. at Cleveland's Lakeside Park.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2005-07-27-lake-erie 

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