Even under the best of circumstances Neil Farlow isn’t much of a talker, but he let his fishing do the talking for him on day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division derby presented by Polaris and hosted by Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission on Lake Erie out of Buffalo, N.Y.
Farlow, of St. Catherines, Ontario, was tight-lipped about his spots and his lure choices in the opening round, but probably he’s not doing a lot differently from the rest of the field. Drop-shot rigs and tube jigs, in that order, seemed to be the approach du jour among pros and co-anglers alike. Farlow also indicated that bottom composition changes were key and attracted more smallmouths.
Friday’s semi-final round is expected to produce more exceptional stringers, and perhaps changes in the top 10, where only a pound and an ounce separate 10th place from first place. Meanwhile, here’s a look at some of the anglers trying to tip Farlow out of the top spot.
The New York angler brought in one of the biggest smallmouths of the day, a 5-pound, 7-ounce fish. He caught it and others dragging a drop-shot rig around the Waverly Shoal area. Wright culled five times and says the fish he was on didn’t show any particular preference to the bait color he was using.
“I was fishing a shoal with a lot of rock and where the bottom changed from gravel to chunk rock,” he says. “There was also a breakline in 31 to 39 feet down. The fish bit pretty good early in the day, but it really slowed down around midday.”
Wright was fishing with a Lew’s reel with Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon.
Sim hedged his deep-water bets by trying to get a shallow jerkbait bite going along the Canadian shoreline. It didn’t work, so he did what just about everybody else was doing: He fished a 30-foot-plus breakline that featured a rock-to-sand transition.
“I wound up with a drop-shot rig in my hand. I culled about five fish during the day,” he sats.
A lot of people have mistaken Kenney as a shallow-water specialist more accustomed to flipping and pitching jigs and rigs into shallow cover. Kenney fished like a local on day one and was culling fish by midmorning. His best spot was a rocky bottom in 30 to 33 feet of water.
“I could see all kinds of bait at the bottom, and when the drop-shot got around the bass they ate it,” says Kenney. “The slower I fished it, the better they liked it. I thought they would bite better later in the day when the sun came out and the wind got up, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.”
“I caught about two dozen keepers today – all of them on a drop-shot rig,” says the Georgia pro.
Tucker went against type as one of the few U.S. anglers to travel into Canadian waters to catch his limit. He ran about eight miles from the takeoff point at Safe Harbor Marina to fish a rock bottom in about 35 feet of water. Isolated rocks were critical to his approach.