Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.
With the whole field pinned in the Detroit River on days one and two and everything open on the final day, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the winner would do quite a few things. Leveraging his experience on the fishery and smallmouth savvy, Dobson caught fish on more than a half dozen baits and weighed fish from the mouth of the Detroit River near Erie to the mouth of the St. Clair River in St. Clair.
“I appreciate them making the call to keep us all in the river day one and two, I don’t think I’ve ever fished 16 hours in the Detroit River in two tournament days,” says Dobson. “I practiced like five days for this tournament, I spent two days up on St. Clair, and two and a half down here in the river. I grew up here in Trenton, I see a lot of Trenton people here, it’s awesome to win a big tournament out of Trenton.”
Dobson’s baits this week ran the gamut, but aside from a few fish caught on dragging baits, his main players were moving baits. His umbrella rig of choice was a Shane’s Baits Mini Blades of Glory with Keitech Swing Impact FAT swimbaits. For his spinnerbait, he used a ¾-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbait with gold and silver willow blades and a trailer hook. On the jerkbait side of things, Dobson wielded a Megabass Vision 110+1, a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 and a Duo Realis Jerkbait 100DR.
His dragging baits included a 5-inch tube on a ¾-ounce head and a magnum Ned rig with a Z-Man Giant TRD cut in half on a ½-ounce Nichols Lures Magnum Ned Rig Jig Head. He also mixed in a drop-shot with a Poor Boy's Erie Darter and a 3/8-ounce weight.
On days one and two, Dobson targeted fish in the river, catching a few off a rock pile on a flat, but catching most of his fish in current on the faces of points and breaks. In some places, he threw the umbrella rig, and on other spots he slow-rolled the spinnerbait in water as deep as 15 feet.
Today, Dobson started in the river on a community hole at the mouth, some shallow rock and a couple of deeper current spots. Then he burned up to the mouth of the St. Clair River.
“I knew it was still going to be rough, but I wanted to get three in the box,” says Dobson. “I knew there was another tournament up there, and I wanted some fish in the box in case I got there and couldn’t get on anything or they had snatched a few.”
Once in St. Clair, Dobson got on a spot at the mouth of the river that was loaded with fish, but they were barely catchable for him. His first cast produced a 4-pounder, he broke off another on the next cast and then failed to catch any quality the rest of the time. So, he headed back down into the river.
“With 5-minutes to go I caught a 4-pounder,” says Dobson. “I slow-rolled the spinnerbait up the face of a point, probably 12 feet down, and she hammered it, and then I came in.”
As it turned out, that last-minute fish may have given him the edge over Troy Stokes, but the week was still a struggle for Dobson.
“It was terrible, I caught seven or eight fish a day,” says Dobson. “The bite was tough, having 86 other boats here in the river, you’ve gotta be flawless, no mistakes.”
Of course, having to fish a river smallmouth fishery perfectly is maybe the best-case scenario for Dobson. His first Toyota Series win came at the 1000 Islands, and most of his biggest moments have taken place on moving water smallmouth fisheries. Though it’s taken him a while to get a big multi-day win close to home, it’s no surprise that he finally has.
Top 10 pros
1. Scott Dobson – Clarkston, Mich. – 59 – 3 (15) – $27,534
2. Troy Stokes – Brownstown, Mich. – 57 – 12 (15) – $10,669
3. Wilson Burton – Findlay, Ohio – 56 – 15 (15) – $9,260
4. Josh Kolodzaike – Toledo, Ohio – 56 – 5 (15) – $6,883
5. Mike Trombly – Belleville, Mich. – 54 – 11 (15) – $6,195
6. Chase Serafin – White Lake, Mich. – 54 – 5 (15) – $5,507
7. Randy Ramsey – Burlington, Mich. – 52 – 0 (15) – $4,818
8. Matt Becker – Finleyville, Penn. – 49 – 3 (15) – $4,130
9. Robert Lefere – Jackson, Mich. – 48 – 14 (15) – $3,442
10. Ryan Davidson – Branchland, W. Va. – 40 – 4 (12) – $2,753