As we headed up North to Sandusky, Ohio, it was hard to believe that we were already fishing the last B.A.S.S Northern Open tournament. The stage was set and Old Lady Erie wasn’t going to let us forget who was in charge.
Practice was a hit and miss as one day was good and the next was rough! The only fish I could find was around Pelee Island and as rough as the water was the risk was definitely high. I needed a good finish to stay in the top five in the points race in order to receive an invite to the 2016 Elite Series. So the risk of running to Pelee, which was approximately 27 miles one way in 6ft-8ft waves, was just as great as staying close and not catching enough to stay where I needed to be in the points. I wasn’t for sure what type of fish was there but was sure that this is where I had to be to get things accomplished!
Day 1 didn’t prove to be any easier as the ride took around 1 hour each way, which only lead to a 6 hour fishing day. Hats off to my Skeeter/Yamaha rig that handled the big waves extremely well and got there and back safely. The fish had scattered and I was in search mode. My Abu Garcia Premier 30 reel and Enigma 7” spinning rod got a workout as I made drop after drop. My Reins tungsten tear drop weights help make me aware when I was in the rocks and that was the secret to getting bit. As I switched between a Reaction Innovations Little Dipper in color Bad Shad and a Flirt in color Stinky Pinky I managed to catch about a dozen fish which weighed 16-3 and had farther down the list than I wanted to be.
Day 2 was no different as i climbed into the Skeeter/Yamaha rig and began our 1 hour trip in some pretty rough waters. Once arriving back at Pelee Island, I immediately put the Abu Garcia and Enigma setup to work. The Reaction Innovations Flirt (Stinky Pinky) and the Reins tungsten weight immediately found rock which led to 6 hours of fish caching where I caught 25+ fish. As I started back to weigh in I knew my fish were in good shape for the rough ride as the deep livewells in a Skeeter provide plenty of room so the fish did not get beat up on the rough ride back. Did I have enough? Only time would tell!
As we made it back to weigh in one more time safe and sound, I finally shed my STORMR Fusion rain suit, which was a must to stay dry and comfortable, and took a deep breath. The time was here! 18-14 for day 2 and that was good enough for 37th and put me in 3rd place overall in points. I had finally done it after years of trying; I will get an invite to the 2016 Elite Series!