UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

No doubting Thomas

No doubting Thomas
Thomas Moleski has a 2-pound, 4-ounce lead heading into the final day thanks to his day-three catch of 22 pounds, 4 ounces.

TRENTON, Mich. - It was feast or famine at the day-three weigh-in of the EverStart Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, with the pro leaderboard ranging from 2 to 22 pounds while the co-angler side went from zero to more than 21. The wind that knocked competitors all over the place yesterday was present again today but not quite as strong, although the anglers who attempted the long run to the Pelee Islands returned with some horror stories.

Opening-round leader Eric Struif managed only two bass for 5 pounds today - a big change from his opening-round combined weight of 42 pounds. He blamed the misfortune on a bad decision to run to Pelee, where he and co-angler partner Dwight Ameling were greeted with 10- to 12-foot swells.

"We stayed 40 minutes, tops, and then it took us 45 minutes to get us 5 miles and out of trouble," Struif said.

Faring better was the opening round's No. 4 pro, Thomas Moleski of Elkhard, Ind., who brought in one of the tournament's heaviest limits today at 22 pounds, 4 ounces to lead the Pro Division by 2 pounds, 4 ounces.

The key to Moleski's success appears to be versatility, as he milked at least two spots today and has utilized a variety of techniques all week to land his bass. One thing is consistent, though - his bass are big.

"I've changed baits three days in a row," Moleski said. "The fish are big, and the big ones are usually finicky."

He's had his hot spot to himself thus far, making him understandably reticent to disclose location details. He says he's making a 30-mile run and fishing 29 feet of water.

"My primary spot is in Erie, and it's pretty small," he said. "I didn't beat it up, and I went back today and got them pretty quick, and I got them pretty good."

He then left that spot and found some stuff in the river, though he faced considerable local traffic upon his relocation.

"I'm drop-shotting, and I'm switching around a little bit, but I'm primarily using drop-shots and tubes," he said. "The ride home was brutal but was fortunately nothing like yesterday. I had time to fish today, unlike yesterday."

Should the wind continue to be kind - or at least kinder - to Moleski again tomorrow, he should be in prime position for his first EverStart victory.

"I can win it tomorrow," he said.

Goodman retains No. 2 status

No. 2 pro Patrick Goodman and his co-angler partner milked his honey hole for another fat sack today, which makes him worry all the more that the stock is depleted.Yesterday's No. 2 pro Patrick Goodman of White Pigeon held court today with a limit of bass weighing 20 pounds. That's a solid stringer, but Goodman caught 41-2 over the first two days, and his co-angler partners have caught the fire out of them every day, too. Goodman was worried Wednesday that his spot would dry up, and he's even more nervous now.

"Between my co-anglers and me, we've taken 120 pounds off one rock pile that's probably a little smaller than that pontoon," he said, referring to the FLW Outdoors release boat. "I'm just a little worried. Normally I've had them in an hour or less, and today I had my limit in an hour, but it only weighed 12 pounds. It's dwindling and dwindling."

Goodman says he's fishing deep water, which does make replenishing a possibility. That offers hope to Goodman, an angler who's very hungry for his first EverStart victory. He's been in a similar situation before, fishing what he says is the exact spot last season and ultimately finishing sixth.

"The last time, I was in sixth place, and (the fish) cut out on me on the last day," he said. "I'd like nothing better than to come in tomorrow with a big sack and win the dang thing."

Reault a threat from third

David Reault displays a pair of bass from his day-three sack of 18-13 that put him in third place heading into the final day.Livonia pro David Reault hauled in a limit today that weighed 18 pounds, 13 ounces to land in third and put himself in striking distance of a tournament win. Reault's trophy case already holds three Detroit River/Lake St. Clair titles, all of which came in the BFL.

Though everyone is concerned about the wind, Reault in particular is watching the forecasts because his area has become muddied up in recent days, not to mention that the howling breeze makes it difficult to reach.

"I feel good, but it's just going to depend on what the wind does - if I can get to my fish," he said. "My water was muddy today. If the water clears up for me, I can really get them to bite tomorrow."

Reault said his bass are coming off one primary spot not too far into Erie, and he cranked and drop-shotted his way into the No. 3 position. But with the wind and the mud, the limit was a hard time coming today.

"I didn't have five until 1:30 or 2 o'clock, so I've been scrambling," he said. "I haven't even made it to where my big ones are. If the wind settles down, I think I can do well tomorrow."

Vida takes fourth, Dowd trails in fifth

Heading into the final day from the No. 4 position is Clare resident Kevin Vida, always a threat on the Detroit/Erie/St. Clair fishery. Vida caught five bass today that weighed 18 pounds, 5 ounces and says he prefers fishing the river over Erie.

Mark Dowd will enter the final day of competition from the No. 5 spot thanks to his day-three catch of 17-2.Mark Dowd of Westland moved into the fifth spot with a day-three catch of five bass weighing 17 pounds, 2 ounces. Dowd reported catching his bass on tubes on a small rock pile at the mouth of the Detroit River.

"It's not far - I can see the (launch) ramp," he said. "It started out slow, so I ran around, came back and finished my limit really quick."

Dowd may be more than 5 pounds out of the lead, but he's still happy to be where he is, given his pretournament goals.

"I got into this tournament hoping to finish between 11th and 15th and make some money," he said. This is his first EverStart event.

Best of the rest

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

6th: Joe Balog of Harrison Township, five bass, 16-12
7th: Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, five bass, 14-2
8th: Tony DeFilippo of Lake Ann, two bass, 7-9
9th: Eric Struif of Lake Villa, Ill., two bass, 5-0
10th: Nate Wellman of Jenison, one bass, 2-12

Richardson rebounds to take co-angler lead

After a day-two stumble, co-angler James Richardson Sr. came back with a vengeance on day three, leading his division with a five-bass stringer weighing 21-15.Harrison, Ohio, angler James Richardson Sr. took the day-one lead on the Detroit River with a 21-pound, 1-ounce catch but stumbled a bit on day two, bringing in just 6 pounds, 3 ounces that was nevertheless enough for him to finish the opening round in fourth. Richardson returned to form today, bringing in a limit of bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces from the back of Moleski's boat, and he'll fish with him again tomorrow from boat No. 1.

"It was an excellent day for sure," Richardson said. "You just need a sack of tubes and some leadheads - it's really simple."

The key, Richardson says, is keeping his bait on the bottom. He fished about 26 feet of water today and found the bass were relating to the rocky bottom.

"For me, it was when I felt a rough, textured bottom," he said. "I'd try to leave the bait there as long as I could and move it slowly."

He prefers to use slightly different methods than his pros, and he and Moleski obviously meshed well today. Richardson expects nothing less tomorrow.

"If I can execute tomorrow, I think my chances are good," he said.

Neves holds on to No. 2 spot

Nick Neves is the No. 2 co-angler after day three with a limit weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces.No. 2 co-angler Nick Neves of Jerome brought in his tournament best today, a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces. Neves finished the opening round in second and thus fished from the back of Goodman's boat today, and he'll be out with him again tomorrow.

Neves attributed his prolific day three to the big water Goodman is fishing, though it comes at the price of being knocked around all day.

"I think the difference is getting in a little bigger water on day three," Neves said. "Bigger water means bigger waves, but bigger fish."

Neves reported catching his bass on 1/2-ounce tubes made by fellow competitor Cecil Cole in a color called Cole Dust. Cole, a pro, ended this tournament in 19th.

"My pro is on a lot of fish," he said. "If they can hold up, I like my chances. (Goodman) did his homework."

Myers moves to third

Co-angler Mark Myers jumped from No. 9 to No. 3 with a day-three catch of 18-5.Minneapolis angler Mark Myers moved from ninth to third with a day-three catch of five bass that weighed 18 pounds, 5 ounces. Myers fished with Vida today and brought in a bass weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

Myers already has one EverStart victory in 2005 - a Northeast Division win on Lake Erie in Cleveland - and hopes to add another to his resume this week.

"It would be an experience," he said. "I'm definitely in the hunt for tomorrow."

Myers said he's been catching bass this week both shallow and deep.

Heiden, Harris in top five

Neil Heiden of Blissfield caught a limit weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce on day three to sit in the fourth spot heading into the final day. Behind him in fifth is Jeff Harris of Grand Blanc, who brought in five weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces to sit 6 pounds, 3 ounces behind the leader.

Best of the rest

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

6th: Mike Lawrence of Toledo, Ohio, three bass, 9-13
7th: Dwight Ameling of Fremont, Ind., three bass, 9-0
8th: Craig Brannon of Crooksville, Ohio, one bass, 2-11
9th: Ryan Hopping of Lake St. Louis, Mo., one bass, 2-10
10th: Andrew Bray of Clinton Township, zero bass

The final takeoff will begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Elizabeth Park, located at 200 Grosse Ile Parkway in Trenton. Competitors will weigh in their final-day catches at the Wal-Mart located at 7555 Telegraph Road in Taylor beginning at 4 p.m.

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

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