Catching 20 pounds in a tournament is a great day for most any lake in the country. Lake St. Clair, however, is showing it’s not like most any other lake.
While pros knew St. Clair was going to put out some big limits of smallmouth bass at FLW Tour stop No. 7, which is presented by Mercury, few predicted that the pro field would catch 32 limits of more than 20 pounds on day one. Plus, co-anglers added seven more 20-pound-plus bags. Heck, Larry Nixon – the winner the last time the Tour stopped here – caught 18 pounds and sits in 79th.
While seemingly everyone caught plenty of big bronzebacks, no one did it better on day one than Chad Grigsby. The Maple Grove, Minn., pro’s 25-pound, 13-ounce bag was anchored by a 6-3 kicker, giving him a 1-13 lead over second-place pro Darrel Robertson.
Yet, as great as his day ended up, it certainly didn’t start that way.
“I really didn’t catch them well until 10 a.m.,” Grigsby says. “That’s when the clouds left and the lake slicked off. I made a little adjustment to a different bait. I hadn’t thrown it at all, even in practice, but almost immediately we started catching them.”
Even then, the bites were sporadic; every 20 to 30 minutes, according to Grigsby, as most of the fish are just “rogues” roaming through his area on the Canadian side of St. Clair. Every so often, he or his co-angler, Jason Williams (second place, 22-3), would hook one and see a few more following it, allowing the other angler to pitch out and hook into a double.
As for the bait and the area, Grigsby is understandably tight-lipped about both, simply saying he’s got his area to himself for the most part and that “it has all the right ingredients.”
Of course, he would know those ingredients. While he currently chases smallmouths back home in Minnesota, Grigsby actually grew up in Michigan and spent the first 25-plus years of his life fishing St. Clair.
“I haven’t been on this lake in eight or 10 years, but I know the lake well,” Grigsby says. “It’s fishing better now than it ever did all those years when I lived in the state.”
Grigsby hopes his special lure continues producing tomorrow, but if the wind picks up as it’s supposed to he says he’ll just have to adapt.
“I know the area where the right fish are,” Grigsby says. “That’s the key, because if the conditions or the fish change, I can just change with them.”
1. Chad Grigsby – Maple Grove, Minn. – 25-13 (5)
2. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 24-0 (5)
3. Ryan Chandler – Hebron, Ind. – 23-10 (5)
4. Scott Dobson – Clarkston, Mich. – 23-7 (5)
5. Dylan Hays – Sheridan, Ark. – 23-6 (5)
6. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 23-2 (5)
7. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 23-1 (5)
8. Joey Cifuentes – Clinton, Ark. – 22-11 (5)
9. Justin Atkins – Florence, Ala. – 22-6 (5)
10. Russell Cecil – Willis, Texas – 22-2 (5)
Mark Myers is seeking a little redemption on Lake St. Clair, and he’s off to the best start toward it.
Back in 2011, Myers finished second in a Costa FLW Series event on the big lake, after what would’ve been the winning fish jumped off in the final hour of the event. The big ones stayed pegged today, however, and Myers caught 23 pounds, 9 ounces to hold the co-angler lead.
“It was slow the first hour and a half, but then I made a bait change and things came together,” says Myers, who fished with pro Darrel Robertson.
1. Mark Myers – Cedar Falls, Iowa – 23-9 (5)
2. Cody Kelley – Portage, Mich. – 22-3 (5)
2. Jason Williams – Mason, Mich. – 22-3 (5)
4. Chad Smith – Minnetonka, Minn. – 21-6 (5)
5. Jamie Jacobus – Johnstown, Ohio – 21-2 (5)
6. Kenneth Taylor – Shelby Township, Mich. – 20-9 (5)
7. Mike Emrich – Chatham, Ontario – 20-2 (5)
8. Mark Goetsch – Gibralter, Mich. – 19-12 (5)
9. Don Smith – Brodhead, Ky. – 19-10 (5)
10. Craig Kopczyk – Ortonville, Mich. – 19-7 (5)