UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Brodnicki, Frost share Erie lead

Brodnicki, Frost share Erie lead
When day-one conditions made it difficult to dropshot, Brad Brodnicki switched to a tube.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - EverStart Northern Division anglers started today with two expectations: First, Lake Erie holds the potential for smallmouth quantity and quality. Second, the great lake would make anglers work for their weights. Suffice it to say that Erie delivered on both levels.

We'll get the latter out of the way right off the bat. Sparing everyone the whimsical analogies, Lake Erie was downright rough. Winds kicked up to 15-mph and seas rose to eight feet. That's nothing new for Erie, as the shallowest of the Great Lakes is easily stirred. However, that's no consolation for those who spent eight hours in the relentless slop.

No one's complaining - this is all voluntary recreation. Nevertheless, a lot of worn-out and nearly psyched-out anglers crossed the stage today with tales of brutal poundings, broken trolling motors and motion sickness.

New Hampshire pro, Joe Lucarelli summarized his day with this example: "Did you ever stuff a waveThis 6-pound smallie gave Kraig Kettlekamp Snickers Big Bass honors for day one. so hard that you didn't get mad, you just started laughing. It's a lot of fun." (That last part was pure sarcasm, but you probably got it.)

Well, the rough conditions shuffled the deck on a lot of practice plans, as anglers often found previously productive areas barren, while the churning lake challenged boat positioning and effective presentations for those who found good fish.

Now here's the good part. Fortunately for many, those good fish had no issue with biting in the washing machine and Erie yielded six bags of 20-plus pounds on the pro side and one for the co-anglers. It took at least 18-7 for pros to make the top-10; 15-13 for co's. Four-pound smallmouth were commonplace and 5's made several appearances. Tops for the day was New York pro Kraig Kettelkamp's 6-2, which earned Snickers Big Bass honors.

Brad Brodnicki, of Amherst, N.Y. and Simon Frost, of St. Catharines, Ont. tied for the pro lead at 22-5 each. Here's how they did it:

Brodnicki drops dropshot for tube

Brad Brodnicki found that tapping his trolling motor and holding his boat sideways to the waves helped with position control.He started out dropshotting a Berkley Gulp! Minnow, but as the rough water intensified, he found it increasingly difficult to maintain the necessary bottom contact, so he switched to a watermelon tube on a 3/4-ounce jig head and caught most of his weight that way.

"I used that heavy head to stay on the bottom and once it was on the bottom, they'd eat it," Brodnicki said. "The key was it had to be on the bottom. With those 7-foot waves, you had to get it down there."

Fishing Canadian waters in 35-45 feet, Brodnicki said the lake's temperamental mood made boat handling difficult, but a small tactical move helped him combat the natural forces. "What I found was key was to keep tapping the trolling motor to keep the boat sideways to the waves. If you don't keep the boat sideways, you start drifting faster. So you just keep kicking the trolling motor just enough to slow you down so you can keep that bait on the bottom."

Frost finds his fish on back-up spot

As if the notion of putting all your eggs in one basket needed any clarification, Ontario pro Simon Frost demonstrated the value of a fall-back plan. In a nutshell, he earned his shared spot at the top on hisSimon Frost was surprised to find his main spot blown out by the day No. 2 spot.

"The rough water really messed up my best spot," he said. "I went for a long run and I had a place in 45 feet that was just loaded with fish (in practice), but I shut the boat down and they were all gone. I think the south wind blew the bait off of the spot. I managed to pull one decent fish of this spot, ran to a backup spot (38 feet) and that still had a bunch of fish on it."

Frost credited his catch to the smoke/purple Set the Hook Crush Worms he fished on a dropshot. "The biggest thing is it's heavily salted, but the bait floats. You work your rod tip very slowly and that gives it lots of action. In the rough water, you really don't have to work anything - the water works it for you."

Frost used custom-made ¾- and 1-ounce dropshot weights that are painted brown to match the bottom and minimize the chance of bass eating the weight on a reaction strike as the rig falls.

Costabile close in third

Casting ahead of the boat and paying out line helped Gaspare Costabile keep his dropshot on the bottom longer.Gaspare Costabile, of Niagara Falls, Ont. actually had the heaviest raw weight - 22-8 - but a 1/2-ounce penalty dropped him to just 3 ounces off the lead at 22-5. Costabile dropshotted green pumpkin and watermelon had to increase his weight to as much as an ounce in order to maintain bottom contact.

"We had a big 5-foot drift sock, which I lost about halfway through the day when the rope broke," he said. "We had a tougher time after that and we lost a few fish.

After losing his drift sock, Costabile said he had to adjust his presentations to compensate for faster drifts.

"I was making contact with the bottom for very short periods of time, picking it up and casting ahead of the boat," he said. "I was trying to keep the bait on the bottom as long as I could. Sometimes, I would open my bail and feed it line just so I knew I was making contact. When (the fish) were hitting it, there were not whacking it. They were just picking it up. The weight was there, you'd set the hook and the battle was on."

Voyles drops into fourth

John Voyles, of Petersburg, Ind. dropshotted a Reins 5-inch Bubbling Shaker in watermelon andWhen he found one of his two spots covered with boats, John Voyles went with his other option and caught the fourth-place bag. caught a 5-bass limit that weighed 21-8 and landed him in the fourth-place spot. Voyles said that a good decision on site selection was intrinsic to his success.

"I was debating on where to start; I had two good spots and my mind was made up for me when I got down (to my area)," he said. "There were 14 boats on one of the spots I had found and nobody sitting on the other one. So that's where I stayed."

Fishing in 34-45 feet, he also had to upsize his dropshot weight - his was a half ounce.

Murray takes fifth

Western angler John Murray enjoys dropshotting deep, clear water, so Erie fit his preference well. Today, he placed fifth.Western pro John Murray of Phoenix, Ariz. loves to dropshot for smallmouth in deep, clear water, but the fish back home rarely reach the football dimensions of Erie brown fish. That's precisely what brought him on his northeasterly journey and today, Murray sacked up a quintet that went 21-2 and earned him fifth place.

Murray baited his dropshots with Wave Tiki Droppers and leeches. The action, he said, got off to a good start, but waned as the day proceeded.

"They seem to bite early - the big ones - and then it gets a little tough," Murray said. "I had a limit by 9 o'clock and I ended up culling three of those."



Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Erie event:

6th: Lawrence P. Mazur, of Lancster, N.Y., 20-4
7th: Barry Pringle, of Welland, Ont. 19-7
8th: Jess Caraballo, of Danbury, Conn., 18-15
9th: Derek Strub, of Elora, Ont., 18-10
10th: Bill Chapman, of Salt Rock, W.V., 18-7

Ramsier earns co-angler lead

The only co-angler to break 20 pounds, Ken Ramsier, of Girard, Penn. dropshotted a variety of baitsCo-angler leader Kenneth Ramsier had the only 20-pound sack in his division. including Yum and Jackall products en route to bagging a first-place weight of 20-1.

"We were trying to find the rocks like everybody else and we were fishing in 25 to 45 feet," he said. "I stayed lighter on my dropshot weight. My pro was using a ¾-ounce, but I stayed with a half ounce. You can hold bottom (with lighter weights), but you have to play with it a little."

Kevin Hesson, of Polk, Penn. took second with 17-6, while Nick Yeung, of Oakville, Ont. placed third with 17-4. In fourth place, Joseph Stois, Jr., of Fairview Park, Ohio had 16-12 and Rob Hruska, of Niagara Falls, Ont. was fifth at 16-6.

Best of the rest

Craig Daino earned the Snickers Big Bass award with his 5-pound, 5-ounce smallmouth.Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Erie event:

6th: James Dixon, of Southfield, Mich., 16-4
7th: Rick Rickman, of Gainesville, Texas, 16-4
8th: Kevin P. McClurg, of Huntertown, Ind., 16-0
9th: Craig Daino, of Central Square, N.Y., 15-14
10th: Gerard Ling, of St. Catharines, Ont., 15-13

Daino caught a 5-pound, 5-ounce smallmouth that earned Snickers Big Bass honors.

Day three of EverStart Series Northern Division action at the Lake Erie continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. (Eastern) at NFTA Boat Harbor located at 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., in Buffalo, N.Y.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2011-08-18-lake-erie-buffalo 

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

While day two was windy and rough, day three has pretty much been calm from the get-go. It has also been hot as blazes. It’s made fishing a little tougher than expected, with a lot of anglers reporting missed or lost fish and a generally slower bite. That said, a slow bite on Champlain is a great bite most everywhere else, so we’re still going to see plenty of bass. READ MORE »

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion, Bryan Thrift tallied 18 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for an even 57-pound total in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. For the win, Thrift earned $44,200 and a new Ranger boat, and it’s his 11th win with FLW. The Northern Division is presented by Gajo Baits and the tournament was presented by Polaris.  READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

One of the windier tournament days in recent memory did a lot to reshape the leaderboard of the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The run south to Ticonderoga was not impossible, but the wind up north kept a lot of pros from effectively fishing their best stuff. That made weights drop pretty much across the board on day two. READ MORE »

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Champlain featured a bunch of wind and a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. Though he struggled to replicate his massive day-one success, Bryan Thrift still managed 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a 38-12 total to retain the lead. Behind him, Scott Dobson rose from ninth to second with a robust bag of smallmouths worth 18-10 for a 37-14 total. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Polaris on Lake Champlain is going to be quite a swing from day one. Typically turnover in the standings is common on Champlain because the weights stay so tight, but today’s turnover is going to have a lot to do with the weather. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Last year, every event in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, was won entirely with smallmouth bass. This season, the kickoff event on Champlain, which is presented by Polaris, looks destined to involve some largemouths. Everyone in the top five weighed green ones on day one, though somewhat surprisingly, the south end down by Ticonderoga didn’t play an overwhelming role, as only three of the top 10 anglers made the long run southward. READ MORE »

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Less than three weeks removed from a third-place finish on Lake Champlain in the FLW Tour’s 2019 season finale, Bryan Thrift hauled 22 pounds, 6 ounces of green fish to the weigh-in stage to take the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener, which is presented by Polaris. In second, Brandt Tumberg weighed 21-10, and Joe Wood is just an ounce behind him with 21-9 for third.  READ MORE »

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces. For his efforts, Elrod took home $3,637. READ MORE »

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Dan Mittlestat of Woodhaven, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair presented by Navionics Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Mittlestat netted $6,552 for his win. READ MORE »

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

FLW Tour pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Navionics after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. For his win, Schmitt earned $7,209 and 250 points in the Northeast Division presented by Gajo Baits standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Representing Lew’s, the team of John Carman, Peter Thliveros and Matthew Mattingly won the 2019 ICAST Cup at Lake Toho this morning with a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces. It’s the first time in the ICAST kickoff event’s five-year history that a team has won two titles, and they come back-to-back – though this time it was an outright win.  READ MORE »

Kilgore on Top at Neely Henry

Kilgore on Top at Neely Henry

Andy Kilgore of Kingston, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Neely Henry. Kilgore pocketed $4,426 for his win in the event and earned 250 points in the Bama Division Angler of the Year (AOY) standings. The winner of the division’s AOY title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Experience Carries Siggers

Experience Carries Siggers

Dennis Siggers of Danville, Virginia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division tournament on Smith Mountain Lake Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Siggers earned $2,585 for his victory. READ MORE »

Melton Wins on Rough River

Melton Wins on Rough River

John Melton of Corydon, Indiana, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Hoosier Division tournament on Rough River Lake Saturday after catching five bass weighing 13 pounds, 12 ounces. Melton netted $4,838 for his win. READ MORE »

Jenkel Flips Bushes on Rend

Jenkel Flips Bushes on Rend

Derek Jenkel of Pinckneyville, Illinois, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces. Jenkel earned $4,384 for his victory. READ MORE »

Campbell Gets a Hat Trick

Campbell Gets a Hat Trick

Brody Campbell of Oxford, Ohio, won the rescheduled T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Hoosier Division tournament on Rough River Lake presented by Navionics Sunday after catching four bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Campbell earned $5,703 for his win. READ MORE »

Harlin Sacks 24 for Ozark W

Harlin Sacks 24 for Ozark W

Michael Harlin of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, caught five bass Saturday weighing 24 pounds, 9 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. Harlin pocketed $4,463 for his win in the event and 250 points in the Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Day 4 Coverage

Lake Champlain Day 4 Coverage

Yesterday saw the crowning of the FLW Tour 2019 Angler of the Year (David Dudley) and Polaris Rookie of the Year (Ron Nelson). Today, there's nothing left to do but crown a champion for the Tour's last stop of the season. READ MORE »