Matt Becker of Finleyville, Penn., smoked 25 pounds, 2 ounces from Lake Ontario on the final day of the Costa FLW Series presented by Evinrude at the 1000 Islands to earn the win. Becker weighed 21-4 on day one, 19-14 on day two and sealed it with the third-largest bag of the tournament on the final day for a total of 66-4. For his efforts, the Costa FLW Series rookie took home $44,400.
Haraguchi's winning co-angler pattern
This year’s Northern Division stop at the 1000 Islands turned into a battle on Lake Ontario. Besides Ed Casey, every pro in the top 10 spent the vast majority of their time fishing offshore in the easternmost Great Lake. Making a significant run to two offshore places near Galloo Island each day, Becker was as committed as anyone to the Ontario bite.
“This is my second time here,” explains Becker. “I fished a BFL here last year in September, and it’s pretty similar now, actually. But I live in Pittsburgh, so I fish Erie a bunch, and Ontario is identical to Erie. I spent all my time in the lake looking around. I figure if you’re going to beat any of these guys you have to do what you’re good at.”
Offshore in the big lake, Becker says he averaged 20 to 30 keepers per day, but typically only got a handful of bites over 4 pounds.
“I was dropping [vertical fishing] on every one of them,” says Becker. “I did catch a few just flipping out in front of the boat when I wasn’t marking them, but 90 percent of the ones I weighed, I dropped it straight on their head.”
Becker’s bait of choice was a watermelon/white laminate Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm on the good ol’ drop-shot. He says he caught most of his fish in 20 to 30 feet of water on breaks with rock and boulders, and had to move in and out each day with the shifting conditions.
“This is my first year,” says Becker of his rookie campaign in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division. “I wasn’t sure if I could hang with these guys, but I knew I had to try it, and I got a check at Champlain, and that was a huge confidence booster. I knew if I’d ever win one it’d be on a body of water like this, and I’m thrilled. It feels unbelievable.”
Top 10 pros
1. Matt Becker – Finleyville, Penn. – 66-4 (15) – $44,400
2. Joseph Fonzi – Gasport, N.Y. – 65-11 (15) – $17,600
3. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 65-9 (15) – $13,000
4. Kurt Mitchell – Milford, Del. – 64-14 (15) – $11,000
5. Timmy Thompkins – Myrtle Beach, S.C. – 63-8 (15) – $10,300
6. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ontario – 62-4 (15) – $8,500
7. Casey Smith – Macedon, N.Y. – 61-14 (15) – $7,400
8. Chris O’Brien – Rochester, N.Y. – 61-0 (15) – $6,400
9. Ed Casey – Whiteford, Md. – 53-5 (14) – $5,400
10. Cal Climpson – Sharon, Ontario. – 49-2 (15) – $4,200