On a day when three pros weighed in more than 25 pounds, Joseph Fonzi took over the lead heading into the final day of the Costa FLW Series presented by Evinrude at the 1000 Islands thanks to consistent catches of 22 pounds, 8 ounces and 22-9, respectively. In all, Fonzi has a total of 45-1 and more than a 2-pound edge over second-place pro Timmy Thompkins.
Both days, Fonzi has made a big run out into Lake Ontario from takeoff in the St. Lawrence River at Clayton, N.Y., and both days he has brought back five healthy smallmouths from deep water miles from the mainland.
“I went to that spot I caught them on yesterday,” says Fonzi. “I went there today, and they had vacated the premises. The wind switched 180 degrees, and they just swam away. So, I had to go fishing.”
Transitioning to his secondary places and still fishing quite deep, Fonzi ran three more spots and caught fish off two of them.
“I went through a lot more numbers, but I caught a lot of smaller fish,” he says. “I culled four times. At one point I had two 3-pound fish, and then I culled one that I shouldn’t have so I had to make that up. But it all worked out.”
Despite stronger winds forecast for Saturday’s final round, Fonzi is determined to take his deep-V Ranger back out into Lake Ontario again tomorrow.
“They need to let me on the lake. I have nothing on the river; I’m not a river guy,” says Fonzi. “The reason I’m doing so well here is because I’m a deep-water guide on Erie, and they [Erie and Ontario] fish identical. The river would eat me alive tomorrow.”
Lucky for Fonzi and the rest of the Great Lakes veterans in the top 10, it sounds like, barring some massive change in the forecast, Tournament Director Ron Lappin will let them take their chances in even more wind than they’ve faced thus far.
Top 10 pros
1. Joseph Fonzi – Gasport, N.Y. – 45-1 (10)
2. Timmy Thompkins – Myrtle Beach, S.C. – 42-11 (10)
3. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 42-9 (10)
4. Casey Smith – Macedon, N.Y. – 41-12 (10)
5. Kurt Mitchell – Milford, Del. – 41-10 (10)
6. Matt Becker – Finleyville, Penn. – 41-2 (10)
7. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ontario – 40-10 (10)
8. Ed Casey – Whiteford, Md. – 40-5 (10)
9. Cal Climpson – Sharon, Ontario. – 39-12 (10)
10. Chris O’Brien – Rochester, N.Y. – 39-1 (10)
Babcock steams ahead
Mark Babcock is putting on a co-angler clinic through two days at the 1000 Islands. Babcock boxed up 20-12 on day one, and he backed it up with 17-2 on day two for a total of 37-14.
“I was in the river yesterday. Today we were in the main lake,” says Babcock, who lives near New York City. “It was the same deal, 20 to 30 feet, drop-shotting all day long.”
Babcock says that one key to his performance was a bait change. A goby imitation did the trick in the river, but the lake fish wanted a shad-style bait.