SANDUSKY, Ohio — While some anglers would give up and move on to find new water, Derek Remitz knew better. He remained persistent, fine tuning what worked Thursday until it finally clicked today. As a result he leads the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Allstate.
|Remitz reaps another big bag.|
Remitz lost at boat side what was a crucial 4-pound smallmouth about 10:30 a.m. Until then his livewell was empty. After regaining composure his renewed concentration paid off during a feeding flurry when he added four bass to his catch. Even then he didn’t leave. Staying resulted in another late afternoon feeding frenzy that sealed the lead.
“I got a late start but knew the bass were still in the area,” he said. “The biggest key is the wind, which is blowing so I can make controlled drifts across the best habitat.”
Ironically, the wind blew again from the northeast, although its predicted shift on Saturday could require making significant adjustments.
Remitz is fishing specific, small objects on the bottom that create breaks in the current. The objects are rocks and the bass are using those to ambush and feed on baitfish as they are swept past them. His most productive lure is a drop shot rig that effectively imitates the live bait.
“I don’t like to drift but it’s the only way to stay on my area,” he added. “The wind is too strong to stay precisely on top of my spots using the trolling motor.”
The reason why he dislikes drifting is the extra effort required to stay on the bass. Lining the boat up so it tracks over the strike zone of the bass is the key, he added.
GPS navigation helps until the fish move and then it’s time to relocate where the bass and bait moved next. Remitz is fishing a large shoal with his most productive fishing in a three-mile area.
Remitz took no chances in risking his catch with a late arrival and weight penalty. He returned 30 minutes early to the weigh-in site at Shelby Street Boat Launch in Sandusky.
Pete Gluszek, of Franklinville, N.J., is second with an overall weight of 45-15. He is making hour-long boat runs for a good reason. He’s fishing the tailwaters of the Detroit River, taking advantage of the current and nutrient-rich food supply.
“There is an unbelievable amount of baitfish there, created by all that current,” he said.
The drainage area is expansive, covering 50 miles, but the mixing effect concentrates the bass and baitfish in specific areas. Those are the focus for Gluszek, who is catching bass on a drop shot rig and a crankbait.
“The crankbait is my ‘plan B’ and it’s reliable enough that if the other technique fails I can use it,” he added.
Today the following anglers received contingency awards.
Allstate Good Hands, Great Day: Pro angler Jim Dillard received $250 and Co-Angler Nick Leonard earned $150 for awards for climbing the most points from the first to second day. He climbed from 133rd to 81st place.
Livingston Lures Leader Award: Remitz earned a lure gift pack valued at $250 as the second day leader.
The tournament winner and more will be determined on Saturday. The top pro angler receives a Triton 19TrX boat with accessories, a Mercury 200 Pro XS outboard and custom trailer. The package is valued at $45,000. The top co-angler receives a NITRO Z18 boat with accessories, a Mercury 150 Pro XS and custom trailer. The package is valued at $30,000.
The top pro angler, should he fish all three Northern Open events, receives an invitation to the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro. As it stands that invitation would go to Remitz.
Finally, the Top 5 anglers from the 2015 Northern Open season receive invitations to the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series, the top tier of professional bass fishing.
On Saturday the final weigh-in begins at 4:15 p.m. EDT at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in suburban Toledo. The address is 1000 Bass Pro Blvd., Rossford, Ohio.