Smallmouths and the wind are cooperating in Costa Erie Event - Major League Fishing

Smallmouths and the wind are cooperating in Costa Erie Event

Image for Smallmouths and the wind are cooperating in Costa Erie Event
JT Kenney Photo by Jesse Schultz.
July 26, 2018 • Colin Moore • Toyota Series

Lake Erie lived up to its billing as a top smallmouth destination Thursday morning, much to the satisfaction of anglers competing in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Polaris. By midmorning, several limit stringers had been reported by FLW reporters and photographers as anglers fishing in the shadow of the Buffalo, N.Y., skyline were in the process of culling their weights from the mid- to high teens into the 20s.

Among the anglers reporting 20-pounds-plus limits were JT Kenney and Austin Felix, while other pros with decent five-fish sacks included Chris Johnston, Matt Becker, Derek Olson, Chris Adams, Kirk McMullen, Tyler Sheppard and Travis Manson. Likewise, a number of co-anglers were seen using balance beams to cull their catches.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether the competitors are hitting stuff they found in practice or fishing community holes such as Seneca Shoals, Snug, Sturgeon Point, Waverly Shoals and other. Typically, the anglers start on the upwind side of targeted bottom, then drift down to the juice. Not surprisingly, most fishermen are using drop-shot rigs, with a few tube jigs and Ned rigs mixed in. Sheepshead or drum seem to be almost as plentiful as bass, but locals regard them as a good omen that gobies are plentiful in the area and being targeted by smallmouths as well.

Anglers concerned that the wind might hamper their efforts on opening morning were relieved to see that the southwesterly breeze was relatively mild. For a short spell around 9 a.m., the wind picked up briefly, but not enough to faze the Costa fishermen. That might not be the case Friday as the wind and the seas are expected to build gradually and complicate travel to more distant spots once the community holes are played out.

The day one weigh-in begins at 2 p.m. at Safe Harbor Marina, 1111 Fuhrmann Boulevard on the south side of Buffalo. All contestants fish Thursday and Friday, and the top 10 after the first two rounds compete for the championship Saturday. Tournament director Ron Lappin says that 169 boats are entered in the event.