UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - High Rock Lake

Motown mojo

Motown mojo
Eric Struif displays a 5-pound-5-ouncer from his day-one-leading stringer.

TRENTON, Mich. - They said the fish were in transition. They said the bite would be tough this week at the fourth and final EverStart Series Northern Division event of the season. They were wrong.

The Detroit River, along with the St. Clair River and lakes Erie and St. Clair, gave up an astonishing 14 sacks weighing more than 20 pounds, including 12 on the pro side, and more than 2,100 pounds of bass. With 117 out of 135 pros catching fish, the bite was certainly not tough.

Leading the Pro Division is Lake Villa, Ill., pro Eric Struif, whose two top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors events have both come here in Detroit in 2005, including a runner-up finish at the July Northern Division event.

Struif said he targeted smallmouths today, making an approximate 35-mile run to a place he found in practice when he finished second in July.

"I don't fish here a lot - I come for the EverStart and occasionally the BFL," he said, making his '05 Detroit River prowess all the more remarkable. "I struggled in practice."

Struif said he found his bass today on break edges where the shallower water drops down to deeper water. He's throwing tubes - the classic Detroit/Erie/St. Clair go-to bait.

Izumi zooms to second

Bob Izumi landed in second on day two with 22 pounds, 3 ounces.Behind Struif in second is another angler noted for solid Northern Division performances - Milton, Ontario pro Bob Izumi, who brought in five bass today weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces.

Izumi is potentially beginning a wave of good luck following a run of just the opposite - his list of recent woes include a bass-rig fender bender, a sprained ankle and a tumble into the water during another tournament.

"Finally something good has happened," he said.

Izumi didn't have a lot of practice, but that's the way he likes it, preferring to "fish by the seat of my pants." He had one full day of prefishing plus a couple of hours yesterday, and that was it.

"I ran some water today that I was practicing," he said. "I did not have any fish for a number of hours. Then we ran into a flurry of fish midday. I got my weight and culled quite a few."

Izumi, whose biggest bass weighed in at 5-12, said he burned probably $150 in gas today running to his spot. He's looking for calm winds tomorrow, though if that occurs, it could be for the last time - Friday and Saturday are reportedly going to be stormy.

"If it's nice and calm tomorrow, I feel good about my chances," he said.

Dowd in third

No. 3 pro Mark Dowd is in position to earn a top-10 finish in his first attempt at EverStart competition.Westland pro Mark Dowd brought in five bass today weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces to end day one in the No. 3 position. He said his bite was a little slow in the morning, but once it picked up, Dowd found himself in a position to score his first EverStart top-10 finish - in his first attempt.

Should that occur, it wouldn't be his first top-10 on the Detroit River this season - he finished third here earlier this month at the BFL Super Tournament.

"I'm fishing within sight of the launch," he said. "I can see this place. I had a limit by 8:30."

Dowd reported catching his bass on tubes and drop-shots and says he for one looks forward to the potential rough weather on the horizon.

"It's going to make it better for me," he said. "When the wind died today, my bite died."

Cole, Goodman round out top five

Cecil Cole of Durand brought in the day's heaviest bass, a hefty 6-pounder, to land in fourth place on day one with a limit of five totaling 21-7.

Patrick Goodman took fifth on day one but is unsure if his spot has enough to vault him into the top 10 after day two.Behind him in fifth is Patrick Goodman of White Pigeon, looking to add to his list of Detroit River top-10s. In his FLW Outdoors career, Goodman has one EverStart top-10 and two BFL top-10s on this fishery. He caught five today that weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces.

"It really scares me sometimes, my spot," said Goodman, who caught his bass today on tubes in 30 feet of water. "They're there sometimes, and sometimes they're not. I always worry about the next day."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one on the Detroit River:

6th: Thomas Moleski of Elkhart, Ind., five bass, 20-14
7th: Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, five bass, 20-13
8th (tie): David Reault of Livonia and Nate Wellman of Jenison, five bass, 20-12
10th: John J. Peters of Boynton Beach, Fla., five bass, 20-11

Richardson leads co-angler pack

James Richardson Sr. leads the Co-angler Division with a day-one catch of five bass weighing 21-1.Atop the co-angler leaderboard is James Richardson Jr., the No. 9-ranked Northern Division angler from Harrison, Ohio. His five-bass stringer weighing 21 pounds, 1 ounce leads his division by nearly a pound.

"The key is a heavy jighead, keeping it on the bottom," Richardson said. "Check the depth, then use leadhead jigs accordingly. The deeper it is, the heavier we go."

Richardson estimates that he and his partner fished in 24 to 28 feet of water today relatively close by. He quit fishing today at noon - a testament to how effective his particular technique is. However, he acknowledges that could all change tomorrow depending on his day-two pro partner.

"Tomorrow is a new game and possibly a new method," he said.

D'oh! Homer contends again

Escanaba winner Homer Stephens is back in contention with a No. 2 finish on day one in Detroit.Last month's Northern Division winner Homer Stephens of Noblesville, Ind., put himself in contention to score his third consecutive top-10 finish by ending day one in the No. 2 position with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces. That stringer included a 5-pound, 3-ounce bass that tied Jamie Szawara for co-angler big-bass honors.

"I drew a good partner, Patrick Goodman, and that's the biggest part of these tournaments - getting a good draw," said the veteran co-angler. "We did a lot of traveling and a lot of hard fishing."

Stephens said he caught his bass today on tubes and gobies. What makes his day-one success all the more remarkable is that his only stumble in Northern Division competition this season came on the Detroit River, where he finished 91st at the July event.

"I hope I make the top 10," he said. "I'm in pretty good shape."

Tight top five

In third today on the co-angler side is Craig Brannon of Crooksville, Ohio, with a limit of five weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces. Trailing him in fourth is Circleville, Ohio, resident Melvin McNeal, who brought in five bass weighing 18 pounds, 2 ounces. Finishing the day in fifth is Ryan Hopping of Lake St. Louis, Mo., with five bass that weighed 17 pounds, 8 ounces.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day one on the Detroit River:

6th: Nick Neves of Jerome, five bass, 16-6
7th: Ron Norris of Portage, five bass, 16-2
8th (tie): Tony Grubb of Ann Arbor and Luke Ledvina of Necedah, Wis., five bass, 15-10
10th: Ryan Said of Wixom, five bass, 15-8

Competition continues tomorrow from Elizabeth Park with a 7:30 a.m. takeoff. Elizabeth Park is located at 200 Grosse Ile Parkway in Trenton. Thursday's weigh-in will also be held there beginning at 3 p.m. Following tomorrow's weigh-in, the field will be cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers who will advance to fish Friday and Saturday.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2005-09-21-detroit-river 

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