A real slugfest on Lake St. Clair

The final event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season is taking place this week at Lake St. Clair on the Michigan/Ontario border, just north of Detroit.
It is the Angler of the Year Championship, a three-day tournament featuring the top 50 anglers in points after the nine event regular season.
I was fortunate to qualify for the tournament in 30th place in the points standings.
In addition to deciding who is the angler of the year, also on the line this week are spots in the Bassmaster Classic for the top 42 anglers in points.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier columns, the Classic is the premier event in competitive bass tournament fishing, the Superbowl if you will, so qualifying is a big deal and a big dream for me.
We get points based on where we finish in these events, that is how that works.
The pressure was off for me this week because I simply needed to catch a bass to earn the few points I would need to mathematically lock me in for the Classic, which will take place in Alabama in March.
I’ll write more about my feelings on that in a future column, but it really is a big dream for anybody that enjoys competitive bass fishing.
Since St. Clair is one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the world, I was confident I could catch a bass.
I still wanted to have a good tournament and try to win, of course.
As good as the fishing is, the downside to St. Clair is it is a big, open lake that is for sure the roughest water I have ever fished on. All three days of our practice were windy, making it a workout to get around.
It’s so hard on our boats and equipment, heck even my body hurt after the first couple days.
I took one wave over the front of my boat during practice and literally had nearly a foot of water on the floor, it was scary.
It’s important that everything on the boat is tight and locked down or it will get broken.
I sampled a few different parts of the lake during the practice days but it was tough to get around and I never did get to some of the places that I wanted to.
The best fishing I found was on the south end of the lake, in Canadian water.
Unfortunately, the wind blew hard from the north the first day of the tournament and I decided to stay closer to the launch area rather than make a long run in the big water.
Several people made that ride and a few of them caught big limits, a few of them only caught a few fish and a couple had mechanical issues because of the rough water that limited their fishing or getting back to check in on time.
I managed a limit for 16 pounds on day one, not a great day at this body of water and I found myself in 32nd place.
I had a better second day and brought in just under 20 pounds, which included a six pound smallmouth and I moved up to 23rd place after two days.
As I write this we have one more day left to fish so hopefully I can have a strong final day of the season and move up a few more spots.
It’s been a great first season fishing, I’m kind of sad that it’s over but I’m looking forward to spending some time around home in the coming weeks.
In other tournament news, one of my room mates out here on the circuit, Minnesota angler Seth Feider has brought in the biggest catch each day of the tournament, 26 pounds on day one and nearly 25 pounds on day two.
He holds a two pound lead heading into the final day and has a great opportunity to win.
By the time this gets out to everyone, the tournament will be over and you can check out the Bassmaster website for the full results.
It’s been an exciting week out on Lake St. Clair with the big wind and all of the big bass.