Sunday, August 25, 2013

Detroit, Southern Fried

Plano Championship Chase winner, Chris Lane, B.A.S.S. Photo by James Overstreet
Pre-tournament prognostications for virtually any national tournament held on the Great Lakes talk about the fickle nature of big-water smallmouths and the lakes themselves and an inside track northern anglers supposedly possess. Most picks are heavily loaded with names of northern "smallmouth specialists," almost to the point that it would seem no "expert" believes a southern angler could possibly figure out northern smallmouths in a big lake.

It would seem, however, that Detroit's biggest smallmouths forgot to ask the experts which lures they were supposed to favor. First place in the Elite Series season finale' on Michigan's Lake St. Clair went to Chris Lane, who grew up in central Florida, where no smallmouths live, and now calls Alabama home. Second and third went to Mark Davis of Arkansas and Alton Jones of Texas.

Actually, if you look down the list of the twelve anglers who made today's final round of fishing, only one, Nate Wellman of Michigan, is from Great Lakes country. Morizo Shimizu still lists Osaka, Japan as home. Beyond Wellman and Shimizu, addresses from Top 12 finishers include five from Alabama, three from Texas, one from Arkansas and one from West Virginia.

I'll acknowledge a few of the Top 12 anglers moved to Alabama or Texas (although not from northern states). I'll likewise acknowledge that there are far more Elite Series anglers from the South than the North, thus stacking the deck. That said, most pre-tournament stories would suggest if there were dozen northern anglers in a Great Lakes tournament, you should expect them to fill 2/3 of the top dozen or so places.

For what it's worth, northern anglers do sometimes dominate tournaments on northern waters (and southern waters). It's not my desire to argue North vs. South or East vs. West. I just found it interesting how dominant Alabama and Texas pros were among top finishers in this particular event, and it seemed like a good time to note that the best Elite Series anglers have the capacity to find bass and catch them anywhere in the country.

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