UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Eager for Erie

EverStart Northern Division anglers make their way to boat check for day one on Lake Erie.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Fishing in a crowd - now, that really shouldn't be an issue for EverStart Series Northern Division anglers prospecting Lake Erie's vastness.

At 9,940 square miles, the fourth largest great lake has more than enough for a tournament field to spread out. Canadian pro Chris Johnston said that Erie fishes tougher than his home waters of Lake Ontario, but diligence is often rewarded with quality bites.

"I find it's harder to get the fish to bite on Lake Erie because there are a lot more areas for them to hold," Johnston said. "But there are some sweet spots and there are some big fish in here."

Today's weigh ins will likely see multiple 5-pound smallmouth with a fish to 7 pounds entirely possible.Canadian pro Chris Johnston plans on dropshotting an XZone Slammer most of the day. Weights at the upper end of the pro field will probably hit the high teens and a handful will probably break 20.

Arkansas pro Kevin Short is a long way from home this week, but the accomplished tournament veteran has spent plenty of time on Erie. If there's one thing he knows about this lake, it's the importance of diligent exploration - especially when you find the proverbial stump-in-the-pond.

"It's just something that sticks up or drops off out in the middle of absolute flat - just something that's different," Short said. "The first time I came here, it was just miles and miles of the same depth and it gradually slopes off. When you hit anything that comes up or goes down, you better stop."

Like many of his competitors, Short will fish dropshots the majority of his day. In practice, he found that minnow style baits worked best and he'll stick with that plan today. Connecticut pro Sheron Brown likes diversity, so he'll fish a double dropshot rig baited with a leech and a goby.

Minnow style baits will be popular choices for dropshot anglers.Fishing 35-55 feet of water, Johnston will stick with his tried-and-true XZone Slammer for the dropshot, but in practice, he found a few good bites with a creature bait on a jighead. Today, he'll mix things up.

Other baits that may factor into various game plans include tubes, jerkbaits and football head jigs. Adrian Avena, who won the Northern Division event on Lake Champlain, will look for a quick reaction bite early around shoreline rocks with spinnerbaits.

For a variety of tactics, Lake Erie is an absolute gold mine of brown fish, as long as you don't turn green in the white caps. And now that we've addressed the color chart, let's look at what that means.

It's no secret that the big water can turn sporty, but a weather system pushing across the region couldSheron Brown will double up on his dropshot with a leech and a goby. whip Lake Erie into a blustery slop. Brown didn't want to lose any fishing time to nausea or dizziness, so he visited his doctor prior to the event for a Transderm motion sickness patch.

"The first thing I had to do was combat my motion sickness," Brown said. "I had to get a doctor-prescribed patch to take care of that problem. Now, I can use my instincts to catch some fish.

"I'm basically going to have to get up and use the trolling motor, get back down and use the big motor to find fish, go back and catch them and keep going. It's going to be up and down all day and I'll try to get some fish before those big waves come in."

Logistics

An spinnerbait will be Adrian AvenaAnglers will take off from NFTA Boat Harbor located at 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., in Buffalo, N.Y., at 6:30 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. daily. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 4255 McKinley Parkway in Hamburg starting at 3:30 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 Lake Erie is being hosted by the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau.Boaters take off in different directions for the start of day one.

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:24 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 70 degrees
Expected high temperature: 83 degrees
Wind: SW 10-15 mph
Humidity: 49 percent
Day's outlook: Partly cloudy

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

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