UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Cool weather, hot bites

Cool weather, hot bites
Co-angler Vic Lafata awaits his boater's arrival for the third day of the Stren Series event on the Detroit River.

TRENTON, Mich. - When dawn broke over Elizabeth Park Marina, the morning air temperature was noticeably lower, while angler intensity was noticeably higher. One qualifying day remains in the Detroit River Stren Series event and competitors know their time is short to reach Saturday's final round.

Leaders on the boater and co-angler sides held firm positions, but a strong effort by anyone below the current top-10 could quickly change the lineup for Saturday's finale. One such angler, Ben Felton, of Marshall, MI enters day three in 27th place with 33 pounds, 6 ounces - just shy of four pounds from 10th place.

"I'm heading north to Lake St. Clair," Felton said. "The wind is supposed to be light and variable this morning and it's supposed to build as the day goes on. What I need is a long fishing day. Most of my fish have been biting late, so I'm going to go for broke today, since I kind of muffed off a couple of fish yesterday. I'm going to try to catch 20-21 pounds so I can make the top-10 cut."

Like most of the tournament fleet, Felton has caught fish on drop shot rigs, as well as easing tubes along the bottom. He's been fishing deeper water, about 35 feet.

"I have one spot in the lake and a buddy and I are the only ones fishing it, but I expect to see a lot of (anglers) going north because Lake Erie is not quite on," Felton said. "Most of them are going to fish around until they find some fish, so it's going to get a little crowded up there."

On the co-angler side, Vic Lafata of Howell, MI sits in 65th place with 22 pounds, 12 ounces. More than eight pounds separates him from the top 10, but he's confident that his local knowledge can help him capitalize on any opportunities he and his boater find on Lake Erie.

"It's going to take at least 20 pounds for me to make the money cut, so I'm hoping my partner can get me on some decent fish," he said. "If he gets me close, I'll catch them."

Lafata said he and his boater will target Erie's larger rock structure. He's hoping that water movement will stir up the gobies (non-native forage species), as this usually stimulates smallmouth feeding. "If the gobies are moving, the smallmouth will be on them and it's not going to be hard to catch 5- and 6-pounders."

Pro angler Steve Clapper, of Limo, Ohio sits in 26th place with 33-14. He's certainly looking to improve his standing, but he's also eager to help his partner Jeffery Cox, of Saline, MI, who holds the No. 4 spot in the co-angler standings.

"I'm going to fish up in Lake St. Clair in about 15 feet of water," Clapper said. "I caught decent limits the last couple of days. My co-angler's in contention and I'm hoping I can get him in the fish so he can (compete) tomorrow."

Tournament rules

The Stren Series event, which runs August 15-18, represents the second of four regular-season Northern Division events. The total purse for the Detroit River event is $275,225. The winning pro could earn as much as $65,000 in cash and prizes if various contingency awards are met, and the winning co-angler could earn as much as $35,000.

Action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) at Elizabeth Park Marina, located at 202 Grosse Isle Parkway in Trenton, Mich.

Friday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:42 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 62 degrees
Expected high temperature: 78 degrees
Water temperature: 78 degrees
Wind: from the west northwest at 5 mph, building to 15 mph
Humidity: 77 percent
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2007-08-15-detroit-river 

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