Canadians dominate Top 10
by Kyle Wood
FLW PRESS RELEASE
Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified.
|Clean bottom key to win.|
Dobson was a late entry into the event, and while many of the pros in the tournament spent a week or more of practice to fully break down this massive water system that includes Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the Clarkston, Mich., pro got a mere two and a half days.
“When Bryan Doyle [his practice partner and co-angler in the event] and I got out on the lake Monday the wind was whipping so bad we couldn’t fish, so we went to the river,” recalls Dobson. “We got up on this flat in the river, and it reminded me of something I’d fish back on St. Clair, and we started to see good fish. We ran around trying to find more areas like it, and I even expanded a little more on it during the tournament.”
“This pattern worked from the [Duck] islands to the river,” Dobson says. “You needed to have current, but not too much. And all of these places were shallow – probably 12 feet or less.”
The water clarity on the 1000 Islands is immaculate. Fish can easily be spotted swimming in 20 feet of water. Being that Dobson was fishing so shallow, he saw nearly every fish he weighed before he caught it.
“I’d take my time and drop my shallow-water anchors and work an area before moving a little bit and fishing some more,” Dobson explains. “I saw probably 80 percent of the fish I weighed before I caught them. Sometimes I’d have to rotate baits to get them to bite. The fish knew I was there, but they would still come eat.”
Dobson caught fish from both the lake and river on day one to make up his 24-9 limit, but from there he would never return to the lake – despite most pros suggestions that the lake was the place to be for winning fish. Catching 22-3 on day two from the river gave him enough confidence to stick with a few key areas around Wolfe Island for the final day.
“I thought going to the lake today would be risky because of the residual waves that would be out from the wind yesterday,” Dobson says. “I just stuck with my three areas around Wolfe Island, and it worked.”
To target smallmouths cruising up shallow Dobson used a small army of baits. A Megabass Vision 110 +1, Berkley PowerBait Twitchtail Minnow, Gulp! Fry Worm and Minnow, tube, Ned Rig (aka “Mr. Flanders”), and Duo Realis Spinbait 90 all saw action. The Gulp! and Twitchtail Minnow were fished on a drop-shot with a 1/4-, 3/8- or 1/2-ounce weight, depending on wind and current.
“The drop-shot was something I used more and more each day,” adds Dobson. “Today I threw the spy bait and lost five over 5 pounds. They just pulled off. They’d hit it so hard and take off running and bent the hooks out. It was unbelievable.”
Lost fish aside, Dobson is happy to finally grab a win at this level.
“I fished an FLW tournament here years ago and led going into day three. The wheels completely fell off for me, and I finished 14th,” he recalls. “I’ve had some other top 10s in the Series and Tour, so it is nice to close one out.
“I can’t thank Bryan [Doyle] enough for loaning me his Ranger 620 Fisherman this week. It is rigged to handle rough water, and it made a big difference.”
The top 10 pros:
1. Scott Dobson – Clarkston, Mich. – 68-8
2. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 61-4
3. Cal Climpson – Sharon, Ontario – 58-8
4. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ontario – 58-6
5. Bob Izumi – Milton, Ontario – 54-11
6. Dennis Carnahan – Cazenovia, N.Y. – 53-3
7. Andrew Slegona – Walker Valley, N.Y. – 48-12
8. John Vanore – Mullica Hill, N.J. – 45-6
9. Joel Richardson – Kernersville, N.C. – 42-4
10. Neil Farlow – Niagara Falls, Ontario – 39-9