UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Choice of waters

Anglers gather north of the Gross Isle Bridge prior to the day-one takeoff at the Detroit River.

TRENTON, Mich. - As anglers head into day one of EverStart Series Central Division action on the Detroit River, fishing plans will hinge on the question of Great or great. Do you head to Lake Erie, the closest of the Great Lakes, or do you opt for a great little lake called St. Clair?

A munchkin in a region of giants, this lake of 490 square miles appears miniscule next to Erie's 9940 square miles. But size isn't everything. While Erie offers considerably more area to fish, anglers may face longer runs when relocation is needed. Also, Erie can turn super nasty in a hurry, with big waves pounding bass boats.

In a classic case of the underdog taking the spotlight - Lake St. Clair has come into its own in recent years. It's probably not fair to say that Erie is "off," but many believe its smaller neighbor has the goodsMike Foree will start the tournament by fishing a mix of grubs, dropshots and tubes. to produce the right sack.

"I think the tournament will be won on St. Clair," said Missouri pro Mike "Cowboy" Foree. "The guys I'm talking to who are fishing Erie are struggling a little."

Terry Baksay, of Easton, Conn. also believes in St. Clair's potential for winning fish. He said the local food chain - emerald shiners, alewives and gobies - yields impressive quality and quantity.

"The amount of baitfish up there is just absolutely amazing," Baksay said. "There's fish everywhere. Yesterday (in practice), I fished really shallow in 5 feet of water and I caught so many 2-pound smallmouth, I couldn't believe it. You can just throw a jerkbait and catch as many as you want to catch

Baksay said he was unable to get the deeper jerkbait fish, which are typically larger, so he'll approach day one with a mix of dropshots, tubes and crankbaits. Today's weather will include warm, partly Connecticut pro Terry Baksay will keep a Rapala crankbait handy throughout the day.cloudy conditions, but the wind forecast will make Baksay happy with his St. Clair commitment.

"We don't normally have the wind we're going to have - an east wind is unusual for this tournament," he said. "Normally, we have a north or a south wind, so an east wind will make it interesting. We'll see what happens, but St. Clair doesn't get giant like Erie does. An east wind on Erie comes straight from Buffalo (New York), so have at it. I don't want any of that, whereas in St. Clair, you can get away from it."

Baksay will target grass in 14-16 feet. He said he expects to move around a lot to locate the right fish.

"The fish are not grouped up," he said. "They're a little more scattered right now. They're not all there yet, but when you get a bite, it's a good one."

Also a big-time St. Clair fan, Michigan co-angler Gary Emery, has a jerkbait tattooed on each forearm. He was hoping to put his signature slow-twitching skills to work on his favored lake, but with his pro opting to fish the river, he'll adjust his tactics accordingly.

"I'll most likely fish a tube or a dropshot," Emery said. "They don't seem to be hitting too many fast-moving baits (in the Detroit River), so you want to be on the bottom and imitate a goby as best youTubes will see plenty of action today, in the river and in lakes Erie and St. Clair. can. We're just going to grind it out, swing for the fences and hope for five big bites."

Now, despite St. Clair's appeal, Lake Erie will still attract a good chunk of the field. Ohio pro Brian Coates will make the run and brave the waves in hopes of tracking down the hefty brown fish he'll need for the 18-pound bag he's targeting.

"The fish I'm catching are just a little bigger - they're averaging 3 to 3 1/2 pounds, so I feel comfortable there," Coates said.

Targeting rocks in 12-22 feet, Coats will mainly fish dropshots baited with Berkley Gulp! minnows, but he thinks a green pumpkin tube will produce his top fish.

"The big ones really haven't been biting that good - anything over 4 pounds has been hard to come by," he said. But that's that way you get them - with the tube. I think it (resembles) the gobies that they're feeding on."

Logistics

One of the most productive tactics for local smallmouth is dropshotting, and Berkley Gulp! baits rank highly among the bait options.Anglers will take off from Elizabeth Park Marina located at 202 Grosse Isle Parkway in Trenton Mich., at 6 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 2 p.m. daily. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 23800 Allen Road in Woodhaven, Mich., starting at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn., Oct. 27-30.

The EverStart Series tournament on the Detroit River is being hosted by Wayne County Parks.Light clouds filtered the sunrise over the Detroit River.

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:08 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 63 degrees
Expected high temperature: 79 degrees
Wind: ESE 7 mph
Humidity: 45 percent
Day's outlook: Partly cloudy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2011-07-14-detroit-river 

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