Last dance in Detroit - Major League Fishing

Last dance in Detroit

Top 10 pros to fish final day for $200,000 Chevy Open prize in final event of FLW Tour regular season
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Pro finalists follow the start boat onto the Detroit River for one last dance of the 2008 regular season in the Motor City. Photo by Patrick Baker.
July 13, 2008 • Patrick Baker • Archives

TRENTON, Mich. – The 2008 Wal-Mart FLW Tour regular season culminates in today’s tournament action on the Detroit River and will end with one of 10 pro finalists hoisting a $200,000 winner’s check. Sunday marks the Tour’s last dance before the big ball: the Aug. 14-17 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray.

Though 10 pros are competing on the final day of the high-stakes Chevy Open, two have distanced themselves from the pack in the hunt for the win: Alvin Shaw and Vic Vatalaro. Shaw held a 13-ounce lead over Vatalaro when they blasted off from Elizabeth Park Marina at 6:30 a.m.

Pro leader Alvin Shaw hydrates before hitting the Detroit River one more time.“It’s always good to be in the top 10 … but this one I’m a little apprehensive about,” Shaw said.

The Kellogg’s pro from State Road, N.C., made the cut at Beaver Lake in May, but said he “had a bad finish there,” ending the event in ninth place. However, Shaw is not at all worried about his primary area up the river on Lake St. Clair drying up.

“I think I’m on some good fish … I think I could come up with the bag to win it,” he said, adding that his biggest challenge may be in his mind. “Probably, it’s going to be a mental game – If I can stay focused and determined.”

Stiff winds are expected out of the west today, which Shaw said could convince him to cut his fishing time a bit short to ensure he returns to check-in on time. Vatalaro could see his fishing time slightly reduced as well, as they are both making runs of similar distance, but the Pringles Select pro from Kent, Ohio, was welcoming the wind as he prepared for takeoff.

“It probably helps me if it blows real, real hard,” he said. “It’ll actually add to the fish biting.”

Vatalaro was all smiles this morning before takeoff, seemingly undaunted by the task ahead despite having a slight deficit to overcome.

“I’m just going to go out to fish, have a good time and fish a clean game – just do my thing,” he said.

The expected winds will likely put a damper on the portion of the field headed for Lake Erie, including third-place BP pro J.T. Kenney of Port Charlotte, Fla., who sits 4 pounds behind Shaw’s lead with 16 pounds, 14 ounces. But the fishing has been good all week, so anything can happen if anglers get on the right bites, whether they are fishing the bountiful smallies of lakes Erie or St. Clair or the underrated population of largemouth bass on the Detroit River.


Sponsor-wrapped boats await the final 10 pros competing on the final day of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Chevy Open.Sunday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Cobo Center located at One Washington Blvd. in Detroit beginning at 4 p.m.

In conjunction with the weigh-in, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Cobo Center from noon to 6 p.m.

The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to meet their Fantasy Fishing team anglers face to face and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing-themed games and rides like the Ranger boat simulator.

Children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last. One lucky member of the audience will even win a new Ranger boat during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, July 13. Admission is free, and you must be present to win.

Sunday’s conditions

Pro Kim Stricker motors toward tourney action in his Chevy boat on the final day of the Chevy Open in Detroit.

Sunrise: 6:09 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 71 degrees

Expected high temperature: 80 degrees

Water temperature: 72 degrees

Wind: W at 5 mph

Maximum humidity: 65 percent

Day’s outlook: windy with a mix of clouds and sun; winds W at 20 to 30 mph