Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Detroit Decisions

All eyes will be on Joe Balog, a Great Lakes expert who lives by Lake St. Clair, when Balog brings his fish to the B.A.S.S. Open scales on Thursday.

You can bet there's a lot of noodling happening now on the waters closest to Detroit. Pros are currently practicing for a B.A.S.S Open that begins on Thursday. Any bass tournament out of the Motor City begins with the basic decision about whether to fish St. Clair, massive Lake Erie or the Detroit River, which connects the two waterways -- a decision impacted by where pros get the most bites and catch the biggest fish during practice and by the weather outlook.

Anglers who are unfamiliar with these waters must first find stuff they like and then decide what strategies make the most sense. However, decisions aren't necessarily easy for the pros who know these waters best because an angler's two best areas might be 75 miles from each other. Weather is a factor in any bass tournament because it affects fish behavior, but the forecast has an extra big impact on Great Lakes fisheries because it dictates where a pro can and cannot run or fish effectively and the practicality of moving from one spot to another during a day.

Big-water specialists like Joe Balog, who won a 2006 Northern Open on Erie and who now calls the St. Clair area home, enjoy advantages that stretch way beyond knowing how the fish behave and where they go on these waters (although that knowledge is important, too). They know how to run big water and how to set up over offshore structure and fish it effectively, even when the lake is rocking.

I haven't looked at the 5-day forecast for Detroit, but in truth what it says now about Thursday may have little to do with what actually happens. The pros may have have to take one final peek up a flagpole on Thursday morning and then decide which way to point the boat!

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