By Luigi De Rose
Lake Erie is a demanding place to fish. It's loaded with bass; world class smallmouth fishing at its best. But, Erie can be a treacherous place when the wind blows. That is my number one reason I will not entry as a co-angler on any of the Great Lakes. Numerous friends who fished as co-anglers have harrowing experiences from sea sickness to permanent back problems. How bad was it on the last day of the FLW EverStart Northern tournament? Well Bob Izumi, a Canadian super star and Great Lakes specialist, sheered the three port side bolts that held his trolling motor. Being a veteran tournament angler, he had the parts to fix the problem. "I have spares of spares but I had to drive to a protected areas to fix the trolling motor." explained Izumi.
Bassmaster Elite angler John Murray had mechanical problems the last day and needed to be toed in. He joked that it will take him 20 years to payoff the fee of being brought back to shore. This mishap cost him dearly and kept him from a higher finish. He finished tenth.
Lawrence Mazur, the champion of Lake Erie, explained that in his preparation for this tournament, he installed two bow mounted transducers and two graphs. He knew equipment failure would occur. His efforts payed off with a win. He explained that during the tournament one transducer broke and one of his graphs also broke. Without having a backup his success would have been very limited.
Another interesting fact was the depth fished. All of the anglers focused very deep except Mike Desforges. Lawrence Mazur had his best success in 57 to 70 feet deep. That is lake trout deep! Second place angler Gaspar Costabile worked 42 to 46 feet of water. Third place angler Simon Frost didn't reveal exact depths but alluded he was deep. Mike Desforges, in fourth, buck the trend and worked spinnerbaits and jerkbaits in water in the mid teens.
Hope you liked my two cents on this tournament. A lot of good anglers illustrated that fishing on the Great Lakes focuses on three key elements: location, equipment, determination. Each angler took a lot of time to find the correct locations and then had the nerve to drive in rough seas to arrive there. Equipment failure is part of the game under such demanding conditions, so be prepared.