CLEVELAND – With overcast skies and a reasonable chance of showers setting the conditions for Friday’s takeoff, the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers hit the open waters of Lake Erie shortly after 6:30 a.m. in an attempt to lay the foundation for a tournament title. After all, the Lake Erie event can’t be won during today’s competition. However, it certainly can be lost.
For starters, anglers in both divisions will be concentrating on making today’s top-10 cut – obviously a crucial component to any title quest. However, they also will be keeping a careful eye on the weather, particularly the wind. Because, as many anglers discovered during the first day of competition, it doesn’t matter how big of a sack you land if you don’t get back to weigh-in on time. To underscore this point, at least six boats were docked significant weight penalties (per tournament rules) for returning late in the opening round.
In addition, if the wind blows significantly during today’s competition on Lake Erie – one of the largest bodies of water Northeast Division anglers will see all season – it could greatly alter the best laid plans for a good portion of the field. With many anglers scheduled to make extremely long runs – some as much as 70 miles one way – to get to their prime areas, a stiff wind could easily derail those anglers who don’t have a good backup plan.
Finally, since winners are determined by the best combined two-day weight during the semifinals and finals, it is important to catch at least enough fish during Friday’s competition to be within striking distance of the leaderboard on Saturday. Hence, one wrong move during Friday’s competition could easily derail any chances for hoisting the trophy on Saturday.
The Stren Series event, which runs July 19-22, represents the second of four regular-season Northeast Division events. The total purse for the Lake Erie event is $262,000. The winning pro could earn as much as $64,500 in cash and prizes if various contingency awards are met, and the winning co-angler could earn as much as $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger boat and trailer if contingency guidelines are satisfied.
Competitors will also be vying for valuable year-end standings points that could earn them a trip to the $1 million Stren Series Championship, scheduled to take place Nov. 1-4 in Decatur, Ala.
After Friday’s cut, the top-10 pros and co-anglers will hit the water again on Saturday in an effort to win a tournament title. The winner in each division will be determined by the angler who brings in the largest two-day combined stringer on Friday and Saturday.
Currently, Gerald Beck of Lexington, N.C., holds the top qualifying spot in the Pro Division after netting an opening-round, two-day stringer weighing 40 pounds. Meanwhile, Gary Guilliams of Troutville, Va., led all co-anglers into the semifinals with a two-day total of 39 pounds, 10 ounces.
Stren Series action continues at Friday’s weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. EDT at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, located at 3606 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Fans who cannot attend today’s weigh-in in person can view it live on FLWOutdoors.com by clicking here.
Sunrise: 6:11 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 75 degrees
Expected high temperature: 77 degrees
Water temperature: 75-78 degrees
Wind: NNW at 10-15 mph
Maximum humidity: 76 percent
Day’s outlook: cloudy with a chance of showers