Pro Deron Eck of Kittanning, Pa., caught a four-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the FLW American Fishing Series Northern Division tournament on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 48 pounds, 13 ounces. For his victory, Eck earned $15,860 and a 198VX Ranger boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard motor.
“I’m a river rat at heart, but I love Lake Erie and this has just been an awesome two days,” Eck said. “Once we were able to get out on the main lake I was confident in my fishing and knew I needed to bring in 21 pound bags both days to have a chance at the win. Today I was fishing towards Walnut Grove. All week I rotated between 15 and 20 spots which I pretty much had to myself.
“I was using a drop-shot with Poor Boys tubes in Mango Magic,” added Eck. “In the late afternoon I would switch to a Hopkins jig and spoon to catch suspended fish. The bass were actually suspending around rocky humps in 15 to 20 feet of water, that’s how I actually caught my bigger fish.”
Eck got off to a slow start when the anglers were confined to Presque Isle Bay due to high winds and a small watercraft advisory on day one of competition. He crossed the stage with two fish that weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces. Eck was able to make up a lot of ground once anglers were able to get on the main lake and brought in a four bass limit each of the remaining two days of the tournament. Eck was able to show the crowd what Lake Erie smallmouth bass really look like as he weighed in several six pound fish the last two days of the tournament.
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: David Cioppa, Hopkinton, Mass., 11 bass, 47-15, $5,392 3rd: Pat Eichmann, Nancy, Ky., 12 bass, 47-6, $3,806 4th: Patrick Roy, Syracuse, N.Y., 12 bass, 43-3, $3,172 5th: Bill Chapman, Salt Rock, W. Va., 11 bass, 41-9, $2,855 6th: Derek Strub, Elora, Ontario. 10 bass, 41, $2,538 7th: Pat Golden, High Point, N.C., 11 bass, 39-15, $2,220 8th: Darrin Schwenkbeck, Varysburg, N.Y., 12 bass, 38-8, $1,903 9th: Jamie Ferdarko, Dubois, Pa., 11 bass, 35-12, $1,586 10th: James Wigal, Washington, Pa., eight bass, 27-7, $1,269
Hugh Worth, III, of Fairview, Pa., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Friday – a 6-pound, 14-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $146.
Don Smith of Brodhead, Ky., won the Co-angler Division and $6,468 cash, with a three-day total of 12 bass weighing 52 pounds, 2 ounces.
“I used Jackall Cross Tail Shad in Ayu all week long,” said Smith. “I think it’s just a matter of presenting the bait correctly and the ability to keep it moving that made the difference for me. Fishing was tougher today, but once the wind kicked in at about 11 the bite really started to pick up.
“There is a lot of drifting that goes on at Lake Erie, you can’t just sit in one spot and that fact alone gives everyone a chance to win.”
Smith caught four bass weighing 16-6 Thursday while fishing with pro Daniel Welch of Martinsville, W.Va., to open the tournament in first place. On Friday he added four more bass weighing 16-1 to remain in command of the lead while fishing with pro Jeff Hippert of Hamburg, N.Y. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with four bass weighing 19-11 while fishing with Pat Eichmann.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
2nd: Jeff Zeisner, Arva, Ontario, 11 bass, 42, $2,587 3rd: Curt Tindall, Brandon, Vt., 11 bass, 37-6, $1,294 4th: Kenneth Ramsier, Girard, Pa., 10 bass, 36-12, $1,132 5th: Joseph Stois, Sr., Fairview Park, Ohio, eight bass, 35-14, $970 6th: Donald Hamer, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., nine bass, 35-3, $809 7th: Nathan Knapp, Brooktondale, N.Y., nine bass, 29-3, $647 8th: Matt White, Midway, Pa., nine bass, 27-14, $582 9th: Chuck Bellerby, III, Croydon, Pa., seven bass, 26-15, $517 10th: Gary Walker, Harrisville, R.I., six bass, 25-10, $453
Gary Walker, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Friday – a 7-pound, 6-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $97.
The top pro and co-angler based on point standings from each of the FLW American Fishing Series divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast and Texas – will qualify for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. The top 50 pros and co-anglers from each division also qualify for the American Fishing Series Invitational on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., Nov. 4-6, with the winning pro and co-angler also advancing to the Forrest Wood Cup.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com. FLWOutdoors.com