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Detroit River doesn’t disappoint on day one

Detroit River doesn’t disappoint on day one
Co-angler Jeff Lobaugh missed big bass of the day by one ounce with this smallmouth that weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Mike Fedio got the honors on day one with a 5-6 bass.

TRENTON, Mich. - If the big bass bite is off here, one shudders to think what it's like when it's on.

On day one of the Stren Series tournament on the Detroit River it took 19 pounds to make the top 10 in the Pro Division. The leader, Brian Hensley of Edwardsburg, Mich., weighed a whopping 22 pounds, 12 ounces, which is heavier than any weight an FLW Tour pro pulled on any day of last year's Chevy Open. In fact, today's top three weights would have beaten any one-day weight at that event, and even the leading weight in the Co-angler Division, Erik Jacques' 19 pounds, 1 ounce, would have held up nicely.

To make today's top 10 in the Pro Division almost 19 pounds was needed. In the Co-angler Division it was 15 pounds.

Something good is happening here, despite dire predictions to the contrary, and pros and co-anglers alike are anxious to get back on the water Friday.

"I'm looking forward to another good day tomorrow," said Hensley, whose bag today had two huge smallmouths, including the Folgers Big Bass of the day at 5 pounds, 8 ounces. "I have three areas I think will be good."

Which doesn't mean Hensley is expecting the bite to be a breeze. He said he worked hard today, had to make several adjustments and caught just one weigh fish on what he thought was his best spot. But he obviously did a lot right, for his co-angler, Mike Simpson of Dayton, Ohio, pulled 19 pounds and is in second place.

"I think I'm doing something a bit different than the others," Hensley said while declining to be more specific. "There's not a lot of pressure where we caught our best fish today. That always helps."

Hensley goes out in the last flight tomorrow and says that might be to his advantage.

"Today my bite wasn't early," he said. "It might be good to get more fishing time."

Harrison is on Hensley's heels

Normally when an angler hoists 22 pounds, 11 ounces onto the scales he's visibly delighted. Not Chip Harrison of Bremen, Ind., who nonchalantly noted his weight, grabbed his weigh ticket and headed for the release boat.

"I'd talked to Brian before the weigh-in so I knew another good weight was caught," Harrison said.

But he probably didn't think he would be just an ounce off the pace heading into day two. If the sunOne ounce off the lead is Chip Harrison of Bremen, Ind. with 22 pounds, 11 ounces. comes out tomorrow, look out.

"For some reason it seems to help on the Great Lakes for smallmouths," Harrison said.

Today he worked 14 to 16 foot depths with a Sea Flash Nasty crankbait and tube jig. He caught four of his weigh fish on one spot in about 15 minutes and then left.

"I didn't think I could upgrade there," Harrison explained. "I'm not sure what's all there and I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow. With what I'm doing you're as liable to catch 12 pounds as you are 20."

Harrison won last year's BFL tournament on the Detroit River and made the top 10 at the last Stren Series event here.

DeFilippo holds his own in third

Not to be outdone by Hensley and Harrison, Tony DeFillipo of Cedar, Mich., checked in with 22 pounds, 5 ounces and is well on his way to qualifying for his second Stren Series top 10 on the Detroit River, a feat he last accomplished in 2005.

"It's a good start," said DeFillipo, who placed ninth overall at the 2005 tournament. "I'm hoping there'll be a few more fish there tomorrow."

DeFillipo caught all his weigh fish on one spot and then left. His best baits today were the KMR Lipsticker tube and the Lunch Money tube.

Trombly right where we thought he'd be

Before this tournament started, more anglers picked Mike Trombly to win than any other pro, and for good reason. He lives here in Trenton and for three straight years (2006-2008) won the Stren Series tournament on the Detroit River.

Today he set himself up for a fourth win with a bag weighing 21 pounds, 4 ounces.

"Well, we'll have to see about that," Trombly said when told he was anointed the pretournament favorite. "It hasn't been an easy bite. It's one here and one there, not the mother lode you'd like to see."

Trombly ran about 20 coordinates today, but culled just three fish. When he did get bit it was a nice fish, however. His biggest weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 4 ounces off Hensley's big bass of the day.

"I saw him on the surface, following the bait, and was able to get a reaction strike," Trombly said. "I snapped the tube and he inhaled it. Then it was off to the races with about 6 feet of line out."

Like Hensley, Trombly had his best action In the afternoon. He culled two fish in the last 20 minutes before heading in.

"I'd like to see some sun," Trombly said, echoing Harrison. "The water is clear where I'm fishing, but Erie always seems to fish better with sun. I think they just see the bait better."

Bondy carries the banner for Canada

One sometimes forgets that a lot of good Canadian anglers launch on these same waters. One is Jon Bondy of Windsor, Ontario, which is straight across the Detroit River from the Motor City. Today he weighed 20 pounds, 7 ounces and is in fifth place.

"Today went about as I expected," said Bondy, who won a BFL event on the Grand River in Michigan in 2001. "I actually thought I could catch more, but I broke a couple off."

Bondy said there are good numbers of fish where he's working, but that locals who will compete in Anglers waited to weigh their bass at the day one weigh-in Elizabeth Park in Trenton, Mich. A total of 165 pros and as many co-anglers are taking part in the tournament.   another tournament this weekend are moving in to pre-fish.

But he has Plan B ready to go.

"It's something distinctly different than anything else around here," Bondy said. "It took me four days to find it. If I do good there, I'll reveal it."

While most agree a bright sun would help the bite it might not happen. Today it poured for 15 minutes during the weigh-in, sending spectators for shelter. Thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow, when the field will be cut to 10 for Saturday's final.

Day two begins with takeoff from Elizabeth Park Marina at 6:30 a.m. Weigh-in is in the park beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Pro places 6-10

6. Jack Gadlage, Benton, Ky., 20 pounds, 4 ounces
7. Terry Baksay, Easton, Conn., 20 pounds
8. Ryan Chandler, Hobart, Ind., 19 pounds, 4 ounces
9. John Zubkoff, Monroe, Mich., 19 pounds, 1 ounce
10. Todd Koehler, Lapeer, Mich., 18 pounds, 15 ounces

Co-angler top 10

1. Erik Jacques, Harrison Township, Mich., 19 pounds, 1 ounce
2. Mike Simpson, Dayton, Ohio, 19 pounds
3. Cade Laufenberg, Stoddard, Wis., 18 pounds, 12 ounces
4. David Matual, Chicago, Ill., 18 pounds, 2 ounces
5. Charles Hasty, Toledo, Ohio, 17 pounds, 15 ounces
6. John Leader, Granger, Ind., 17 pounds, 14 ounces
7. Bryan Doyle, Holland, Ohio, 17 pounds, 1 ounce
7. Bob Hunke, Petersburg, Ont., 17 pounds, 1 ounce
9. Ben Sanders, Cloverdale, Ohio, 15 pounds, 13 ounces
10. Mark Gray, Flowood, Miss., 15 pounds, 6 ounces

Tags: vince-meyer  headline-story  2009-07-23-detroit-river 

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