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Tackling The Beast that is Lake Erie

Posted by brian on October 5, 2015

Brian Erie Smallies Shaye Baker.jpg

(Photo: Shaye Baker)

Lake Erie is one unforgiving body of water: it takes a toll on your body, boat and mind.  The Bassmaster Northern Open was no different.  Despite the curve balls Lake Erie threw, I still managed to grind it out and cut a check.

Autumn transition on Lake Erie, true to form, did not hand out bites. I put a few days in on the water during practice, but was only able to scrounge up a total of six fish.  I was not having fun during practice, I could not figure it out.  I wasn’t expecting the water to be as muddy as it was.  I decided to make the run to East Sister Island because it had the clearest water I saw all week.  


The first day of the tournament I made my way to my best practice spot; I was able to put three fish in the livewell from that spot alone.  One of the most basic fundamentals of bass fishing, and life, is to follow your gut – I did and it paid off with some key fish.  My gut came through on the location but not on how to catch them.  I went up thinking cranking would get them but ended up drop shotting a big limit of smallies.  

Day two I ran back to the same spot.  There were three guys on it.  I thought I had them figured out, but I couldn’t get the bite.  I got one five pounder, but I couldn’t get a limit.  My co-angler was smashing them on a jerk shad and had a great day, like many of my competitors on day two. Early on, I started having battery trouble and ended up having to make drifts all day; the lack of use of my trolling motor definitely hindered my performance, but it is something all fishermen face at one time or another.  Big thanks to Charlie Hartley for helping out and giving me a jump so I could make it back. 

I can’t wait to go back to Erie.  It is a great fishery that I want to practice more on.    I think I found the fish I needed to scare them too.  I just needed to make a couple adjustments and would’ve been right there.  Looking back, I think I complicated the whole smallie deal.      

As for next season, the Northern and Southern Rayovac’s are looking good.  I am still holding out for the Tour though - one event is on Hartwell, my home lake and I’d love to make it in for that reason.