In a slugfest, it’s hard to separate yourself from the rest. Well, the FLW Tour event on Lake St. Clair, which is presented by Mercury, is clearly a slugfest.
An eye-popping 32 limits of more than 20 pounds were weighed on day one, and that doesn’t include the seven more from co-anglers.
Slugging the hardest on day one was Chad Grigsby and his 25 pounds, 13 ounces, yet the guys right behind him are packing quite the punches, as well.
Apparently, the scale in Darrel Robertson’s boat is not all that accurate, and he’s more than OK with that.
He felt he was coming to the scales with 19 pounds, but it turns out he had “all of that” and then some when he weighed in a surprising 24 pounds.
However, while it had a pleasant ending, much like Grigsby’s, Robertson’s day didn’t get off to the best start.
“We weren’t catching much, and when we did start, my co-angler [leader Mark Myers] was whooping me,” Roberston says. “He switched baits and had a limit, and I only had one.
“I ain’t stupid. I didn’t fall off the tournament truck yesterday. I asked if I could have some.”
Soon after, Robertson joined Myers, and the two nearly put 50 pounds of smallmouths in the livewell from a 300-yard stretch of water on the Canadian side of the main lake. Robertson figures he only knew of the area because he thinks it’s the same he fished six years ago.
“I was telling my wife when we pulled up [in practice] I thought this was the same area,” Robertson says. “My third cast I caught a 5-pounder, and I figured that was a good place to start today. We ended up never leaving until we came in early. No reason to be culling 4-pounders.”
Ryan Chandler has never had a top 10 in five seasons fishing as a pro on Tour, but he has his best shot after day one.
“I had a blast today,” Chandler says. “I must’ve culled four 19-pound limits.”
Chandler is fishing in the same vicinity as Robertson on the Canadian side, but considering the size of the area, you could hardly consider them even remotely sharing water. Instead, he says he “zigged and zagged” around the area a bunch today, eventually locating a little sweet spot that seemed to hold his better fish.
After leaving the area at 2 p.m., he says he ran around and culled another 19-pound limit thanks to two key unnamed baits he’s using.
While many of the tournament favorites stumbled, the odds-on favorite certainly did not.
“I had a game plan to catch 22 to 23 pounds of fish a day, and I executed it,” Michigan pro Scott Dobson says. “I’m content. It’s a four-day tournament. You need a plan, and I have one.”
While most top pros drifted areas out in the main lake, Dobson targeted “isolated things” that were current-related to catch his bag.
“I like to fish ‘stuff,’ not mindless miles of nothing,” Dobson says
Incredibly, Dobson only hit three places of “stuff,” and when asked if he was saving any areas, his simple response was “lots.”
“I’m excited,” Dobson adds. “I want to make the Cup, and if I can stay in the top 10 each day here I’ll be able to do that and have a shot at the win.”
Count Dylan Hays among those who were pleasantly surprised by how well the big fish bit on day one.
“I didn’t really know how much I could catch,” says Hays, who fished the Canadian side of the lake. “I knew I was around some big ones, and fortunately today I got the right bites.”
Of course, surprises can be short-lived, and while Hays feels his area still has plenty more left in it, he also knows how fickle smallmouths can be.
“The nice part is it’s a large area, and there’s not a lot of people there,” says Hays. “So I’ll hopefully connect with a couple more big bites tomorrow.”