TRENTON, Mich. (Aug. 23, 2012) – As expected, the smallmouth bite dominated on day one of the FLW Tour Open on the Detroit River presented by the National Guard. However, the bite was not as prolific as anticipated. Many pros came to the scale saying that they only had seven to 10 bites all day long, including the leader, Thanh Le of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., who indicated he had only 10 bites on Thursday. Le’s five-bass limit weighed 22 pounds, 14 ounces, a mere one ounce over Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich., who finished the day in second place with 22-13.
Fishing deep structure on Lake Erie was the dominant pattern among anglers on day one in a tournament featuring anglers from all across the United States, Canada and Japan. Anglers are battling it out on the Detroit River for up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division. Le indicated that he was a little surprised that he was in the lead with 22-14. After catching 25 pounds on the final day of practice he expected the leading weight to be 24 or 25 pounds. Le’s leading sack included the biggest bass of the day that tipped the scales at 6-11.
“That was the biggest smallmouth I have ever caught in my entire life,” Le said. “And it was tough to bring in. That was my first bass of the day too. I caught it around 9:30. My second bass came at about 10:30, and then at about 11:30 I caught three in a row. I was starting to get nervous at about 11 with only two fish in the boat, but then the three in a row really changed my momentum.
“The fish were all at the bottom of the lake and I was targeting rock piles in about 20 to 30 feet of water,” Le continued. “All I did was use tubes and drop-shot. I had about seven areas I fished today. My first spot that I thought would be the most productive didn’t produce anything. I am still hopeful that I can pull 25 pounds from there. I know the fish are there, they just aren’t biting.”
The top 10 pros after day one on the Detroit River are:
1st: Thanh Le, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 22-14
2nd: Joe Balog, Harrison Township, Mich., five bass, 22-13
3rd: Chad Pipkens, Holt, Mich., five bass, 21-11
4th: Bill McDonald, Greenwood, Ind., five bass, 21-9
5th: Brian Metry, Grosse Pointe, Mich., five bass, 21-8
5th: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., five bass, 21-8
7th: Chris McCall, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 21-6
8th: Tim Wilson, Gas City, Ind., five bass, 21-4
9th: Jeff Vizachero, Grosse Ile, Mich., five bass, 20-12
10th: Cory Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, five bass, 20-11
Le caught Thursday’s big bass weighing 6-11 on the pro side to win $500.
Overall there were 612 bass weighing 2,019 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 133 pros Thursday. The catch included 109 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The top five anglers in the point standings from the four Walmart FLW Tour Open tournaments will qualify.
Kenneth Taylor of Shelby Township, Mich., leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 20-15 followed by Marty Hottot of Chatham, Ontario, in second place with five bass weighing 20-5.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
3rd: Keith Honeycutt, Temple, Texas, five bass, 19-10
4th: Dave Hasty, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 19-2
4th: Todd Steele, Port Huron, Mich., five bass, 19-2
4th: Bill Valberg, London, Ontario, five bass, 19-2
7th: Theo Corcoran, Waterford, Mich., five bass, 19-0
8th: Roger Walters, Madisonville, Ky., five bass, 18-14
9th: Jeff Zeisner, Arva, Ontario, five bass, 18-12
10th: Mark McCoy, Portage, Mich., five bass, 18-9
Craig Daino of Central Square, Ky., had Thursday’s big bass in the co-angler division that weighed 5-8 to win $250.
Overall there were 507 bass weighing 1,544 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 133 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 73 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup. The top five co-anglers in the point standings from the four Walmart FLW Tour Open tournaments will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Elizabeth Park Marina located at 202 Grosse Ile Parkway in Trenton, Mich., at 6:30 a.m. daily. Friday’s weigh-in will also be held at Elizabeth Park Marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 23800 Allen Road in Woodhaven, Mich., beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Detroit River tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Sept. 30 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the FLW Tour on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
ABOUT FLW FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is offering anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2012 over the course of 191 tournaments across five tournament circuits, each providing an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the “Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water,” through a variety of platforms including tournaments, outdoor expos and the world’s richest fantasy sports game – FLW Fantasy Fishing. For more information about FLW and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter and Facebook. FLWOutdoors.com