DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

DETROIT RIVER/LAKE ST. CLAIR PREVIEW

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 08/21/2013

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush

The Preview Facts for the Detroit River: 
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (August 22-25)
Location:  Detroit River/Lake St. Clair - Detroit, Michigan. 
Field Size: 99 anglers 
Previous Winner: Jason Christie (67-4) – 2012 Bassmaster Northern Open
Day One conditions: Scattered T-storms, high of 82, wind W at 9 mph.  

Kevin VanDam
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Detroit River?
“Lake Huron.”

What was the most challenging or surprising part about your practice? 
“The vastness of this whole fishery is pretty challenging.  You have the St. Clair River, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, the Detroit River, and Lake St. Clair.” 

What conditions do you think will play the biggest factor in this tournament? 
“I think that wind will be the biggest factor this week.  I would guess that half the field will be running over 40 miles one way.”

How much of a factor do you think largemouth will play this week? 
“It will be a factor this time.  The smallmouth are in poor conditions overall and not as healthy as they normally are this time of the year.  Because of that, the largemouth could be a big factor this week.”

Will the winning weight be over or under 80 pounds?
“Probably under 80 pounds.” 

Jason Christie
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Detroit River?
“Absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, the X-factor this week will be Lake Erie.  There’s just something going on at St. Clair, but I don’t know what it is.  The fish are there, but they weigh ¾ of a pound to 1 pound less than what they should weigh.  I think that if you can get there and get back, Lake Erie will be the X-factor.”

What was the most challenging or surprising part about your practice? 
“The overabundance of grass has been pretty challenging.  Last year, there was a lot more sand exposed.  This year, it seems like a lot of the lake is chocked with grass.  It’s only two or three feet tall, but there are hardly any clean areas.” 

What conditions do you think will play the biggest factor in this tournament? 
“I would think that it would have to be the wind.  Wind here makes it tough to even navigate on St. Clair.  I actually hope the wind blows because I think that the fish bite better and you can fish faster, but it makes navigating pretty terrible.” 

How much of a factor do you think largemouth will play this week? 
“I think that the largemouth will play.  I don’t think that largemouth will be a factor in the top five, but I think that you’ll see five to 10 checks that are cashed this week by guys fishing for largemouth.  The largemouth are thick and the smallmouth are thin right now for some reason.” 

Will the winning weight be over or under 80 pounds?
“I’m going to say that it will take right at 80 pounds to win.” 

Aaron Martens
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Detroit River?
“I really don’t know, but it’s supposed to blow tomorrow and that’s going to be the biggest factor the entire week.  After tomorrow, it’s going to mellow out and it’s going to be smooth sailing, but Thursday will be a test.”

What was the most challenging or surprising part about your practice? 
“Finding a decent area that was any good took me quite a while.  There’s a lot of water that only has little guys.” 

What conditions do you think will play the biggest factor in this tournament? 
“All of the conditions could play a factor.  Clouds change the way that I fish, the wind direction positions the fish and makes them eat different things, the grass and water clarity changes how the fish behave.  There’s an algae bloom going on in Erie really bad right now, so you could get an area that could be clear one day and soup the next.  The fish won’t necessarily leave, but it changes the way that you have to fish for them.”

How much of a factor do you think largemouth will play this week? 
“Probably not much, unless the wind blows so hard that we can’t get out to the smallmouth.”

Will the winning weight be over or under 80 pounds?
“I’d say that it will take right at 80 pounds.”

Gerald Swindle
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Detroit River?
“Wind. The only thing that’s going to save me this week is if there’s enough wind so that the guys can’t get to where I think that they’re planning on going.  I need the wind to blow to keep those other guys from getting to their spots.”

What was the most challenging or surprising part about your practice? 
“The lack of contour lines has really been challenging.  Fishing a lake without a lot of breaks is very challenging for my mindset and the way that I like to fish.  I’m a guy that likes to find an edge or a break or something, and they just aren’t out there.  It has driven me bat crazy.”

What conditions do you think will play the biggest factor in this tournament? 
“I think that clouds could really play a factor, because I think that the reaction bite may get a little bit better if we can get a few clouds.” 

How much of a factor do you think largemouth will play this week? 
“Coming into this tournament, I didn’t think that largemouth would play any factor at all.  Now, I think that there will be three guys who make a check fishing exclusively for largemouth.” 

Will the winning weight be over or under 80 pounds?
“Under.”

Chad Pipkens
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Detroit River?
“Wind and time management.  There’s a huge difference between practice, when you launch close to where you’re practicing and have eight or nine hours to fish, and the tournament, when you have less than five hours to fish.  With the fish scattered and a lot of small fish mixed in, you can’t be sure if you’re going to get the right bites when it counts.”

What was the most challenging or surprising part about your practice? 
“The number of small fish that are in the area that I’m fishing.  Usually, I’ll have 18 to 20 pounds a day if I get seven or eight bites in my areas.  I’ve been getting 25 bites a day, and at least six of them are short and a dozen of them are less than 2 pounds.  That’s not very typical.” 

What conditions do you think will play the biggest factor in this tournament? 
“When you’re making a long run, the wind is always the biggest factor.  There’s plenty of fish in the area if you are able to get there and spend some time, but if it takes you between two and three hours to get there, that can really change things.”

How much of a factor do you think largemouth will play this week? 
“Zero if you’re talking about the top 12.  I think that the chance is there to have a top 50 finish on largemouth, but I would find it hard to believe if a guy makes a top 12 cut on largemouth.”

Will the winning weight be over or under 80 pounds?
“I think that one or two guys will break the 80 pounds mark.  St. Clair is fishing a little bit soft, and historically you have a good shot to win here if you crack 80 pounds.”