Big water equals big smallmouth. Johnston closer to AOY.
by David A. Brown
FLW PRESS RELEASE
He was hoping to preserve a special spot for later in the event, but when Jared Rhode realized he had to hit the sweet stuff, the fat smallmouth therein did not let him down. Sacking up a limit of 23 pounds, 10 ounces the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, grabbed the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie.
“I have a spot where I’ve been catching quite a few fish, but I went there this past weekend and they weren’t there,” Rhode says. “I wanted to try to avoid fishing there today, in hopes that I could save my best spot.
|Local knowledge propels Jared Rhode into lead.
“I fished elsewhere and I only had three bass, so I went to my best spot and caught them very quickly. There seems to be quite a few fish there and there are no other boat around, so I’m very excited about tomorrow.”
Fishing in the general vicinity of Pelee Island, Rhode’s first spot was shallow — about 10 feet. According to Rhode, this spot had kicker potential, but the fish didn’t cooperate.
“I only fished where I started for 10 to15 minutes because I could tell they weren’t there,” he says. “Once I went to my main spot offshore, I had my limit by 9 o’clock in the morning and I had most of my weight [shortly thereafter].
Rhode says his only regret was possibly staying on his best spot too long. However, given the fish’s recently unsettled disposition, along with tomorrow’s forecast for a south wind [starkly contrasting today’s north blow] he figured he’d better lock up a strong start.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a different wind direction - 180 degrees difference - from what I understand, so will the fish transition to the other side of the structure? Will they swim off? It’s anybody’s guess.
“I probably should have backed off earlier, but the fish have been moving so much I think I should be fine for tomorrow.”
Rhode rotated through a handful of baits but found a drop-shot and a tube most effective. The latter produced some of his larger fish, but the drop-shot accounted for the numbers.
“I like to throw the tube when I’m fishing shallower water,” the Ohio pro says. “Also, I think the tube works better in stained water. There’s a big algae bloom offshore so I think a bigger profile works better in the darker water.
“You get that tube down there with a 1/2-ounce head and it creates what I’d call a ruckus that they can key on. Plus, the fish are feeding on gobies and a tube resembles a goby.”
Muir and Poms Split Co-angler Lead
Don Muir of Perryhall, Md., and Joe Poms of Paramus, N.J., tied for the co-angler lead with 20-11 each.
Muir and his pro ran to Michigan waters and fished shallow flats in 8 feet or less with scattered rock. He caught his fish by dragging a Texas-rigged 4-inch Senko. He started with the 6-inch Senko, but downsizing delivered the bites.
“It took us two hours to get there and the bite started within 10 minutes of our arrival,” Muir says. “I had my limit within two hours.”
Poms fished Canadian waters and caught his fish in 10-15 feet. His best tactic was dragging a 1/2-ounce Keitech football head with a 3.3-inch Keitech Fat Swing Impact.
“We caught fish all day long,” Poms says. “It started a little slow with drum and smaller smallmouth first, but by 9 a.m., we had our limits and by noon we were culling.”