Pro Rich Fike And Co Rich Dobbs Take the Lead on Day One of the FLW Walleye Tour-Detroit River/ Lake Erie
Pro Angler, Rich Fike of Farmington, PA and his Co Angler, Richard Dobbs of Woodridge, IL have taken the day one lead of the FLW Walleye Tour on the Detroit River/Lake Erie event. With a five fish limit of 36.6 pounds, Rich clearly made the right decision to make the run to the lake to fish the Michigan waters of Lake Erie this morning.
Weather today was brutal for anyone who made that run today, and most of the field did it. Rich gave up part of his strategy and technique to catching today's winning fish, and shared it with us. (photo by Brett Carlson, FLW Outdoors Writer/Photographer)
Juls: Congrats on taking the lead on day one today, Rich. How does that feel to be in the lead of your first Pro event?
Rich: Ah, a little odd. (Laughs) If I have to say so myself! Especially, fishing against the caliber of some of some of the fishermen that I'm fishing against here this week.
Juls: Take us through your day...how did your day go today?
Rich: It actually started off "Great"! I don't think it could have started off any better. I made a one hour pass, and when I was done with that one hour pass I had my limit, and one "big fish". I went back up, and I made another pass, and the next pass I never caught a fish, but when I was winding my lines in, the last line that I was bringing in...I looked out and the board was just buried! (Laughs)
And, like I told my partner, Rich, "I'm not really looking for a bunch of fish...I'm just looking for the right fish." And, that was the right one. Then, I made another pass...the next pass...( I interrupt)
Juls: How big do you think that big girl was?
Rich: I would have to say that thing was pushing 9 pounds, or a little better. That fish was nice. It was like super thick for it's length, and I just knew it was a good solid fish. We ended up with three really good fish like that by the time we were done. You know, really good solid females that were spawned off aready. Then, I got a smaller female that hadn't spawned yet...it was probably only 24 or 25 inches, but she was pre-spawn and still full of eggs, and pushed over 6 pounds.
Juls: Well, it's obvious you went out to the lake and didn't stay in the river...can I ask if you were pulling cranks or were you pulling crawler harnesses?
Rich: Ah, yeah, I started out with cranks and spinners...two and two...and, I figured I would just let the fish tell me what they wanted to go with, because prefishing most of my fish were coming off of crankbaits. The last couple days they started trickling in on the spinners.
I really was kind of in awe of what was actually going to go today, and after the second fish I think I started bringing in the other two lines, to switch them out, and while I was switching them out I was catching fish on the other ones. So, once I switched over to all four spinners I pretty much stayed with that the rest of the day. Then, probably around 12:30 or so...I guess it was from the winds and the cold...the bite seemed to fizzle out.
So, I can't really predict any kind of prediction for tomorrow, other than I'm going to pray a lot!
Juls: And, wear long underwear!
Rich: (Laughs) Yes! And, wear long underwear...
Juls: It's supposed to be cold in the morning...30's...and, a high near 50, but still quite windy from the west.
Rich: It's, well, you know...probably the veterans will step up, which I'm not saying I'm not a "veteran", I'm just not a well known veteran. (Smiles) I would have to say that if I stay in the hunt, I'm going to be very appreciative, and thankful.
Juls: So, what's your game plan tomorrow?
Rich: Pretty much the same thing. I'm just going to go back down with the same insight that I had today. I'm going to put out a couple cranks and a couple spinners, and hopefully something will start happening, and I'll win this thing. (Laughs)
Juls: Well, best of luck to you tomorrow. Go gett'um!
In second place after day one is Pro Tory Newman of River Rouge, MI and his Co Angler, Joe Bruno of Strongsville, OH with a basket of five fish weighing in at 36.4 pounds. Only 2 ounces behind the leaders!
In third place is Pro Ed Stachowski of Canton, MI and his Co Angler, Tom Nevans of Strongsville, OH with 35.2 pounds.
Fourth Place belongs to Veteran Pro John Campbell of Marco Island, FL and his Co Angler, Mirko Canji of Belle River, MI with five fish weighing in at 35.1 pounds.
Rounding out the top five places is another veteran Pro, Mark Meravy of Shorewood, IL and his day one Co Angler, Todd Macker of Columbus, MI with 33.6 pounds of Walleye.
Anglers are allowed 5 fish to the scales, and those five fish must measure 15 inches long. Upgrading fish is allowed on Michigan waters, so the competitors can cull fish once they have a limit of "keeper" fish in their livewells.
Today's conditions went from misty rain, light winds, and mild temps, to chilly temps, a brisk wind, and drier conditions this afternoon by weigh in time. Tomorrow's forecast is shaping up like this:
Tonight: A chance of sprinkles and flurries before 1am, then a chance of flurries. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Breezy, with a west wind between 16 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.
Friday: A chance of flurries before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. West wind between 16 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Friday Night: Areas of frost after 2am. Otherwise, partly cloudy, with a low around 34. West northwest wind between 6 and 15 mph.
Saturday: Areas of frost before 8am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 62. Breezy, with a light wind becoming south southwest between 17 and 20 mph.
One funny thing that happened on the water today was when Co Angler, Jesse Proffitt of Eau Claire, WI hooked into a huge Sturgeon!
Jesse: We were fishing a big fish spot, where we had already caught two fish that were 24 and 25 inches long, and I had another bite, and I set the hook...right away my line just went...(he mimics something with his hands) and I knew right away this was a big fish! So, it didn't come up...it didn't come up...and, after a while...(I interrupt again)
Juls: Did you think you were snagged at that point?
Jesse: (Laughs) Yeah! I thought it was a big snag. All of the sudden, my Pro, he motors up with the trolling motor and all of the sudden my line started going again and I was taking drag, so I knew then it was something huge! I knew it was a fish at that time. (laughs)
We ended up fighting it for about 45 minutes, and at about 20 minutes into it, I asked him, "Do you think I should just cut the line?", because we only had so much time left to fish...
Juls: At that point, did you know what you had on the line yet?
Jesse: Not at that time, all we knew was that it was something big.
Juls: Like a state record Walleye, or something? (laugh)
Jesse: (laugh) Yeah!
Juls: So, are your knees shaking big time at this point?
Jesse: Oh yeah! Definitely! Then, my Pro says, "Well, we've got to get it up just to see what it is", so I sure got an experience from that one today.
Juls: How big was it?
Jesse: (opening his arms as wide as they would go) Oh, it was probably this big...
Juls: So, 5 to 6 foot long, eh?
Jesse: Oh yeah! Easily! (laughs)
Juls: That's awesome! Thanks for sharing your story and experience with us! Good luck tomorrow.
Take off is at 7AM from Elizabeth Park in the morning, and everyone is welcome to come on down and cheer on your favorites while they ready for take off.
After tomorrow's weigh in the top 10 pros and co-anglers, based on combined weight from days 1 and 2, will be matched up to fish the third and final day of competition on Saturday.
Join us here on Walleye Central's Live Leader Board for continued coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour on the Detroit River and the waters of Lake Erie tomorrow.
For more information about the FLW Walleye Tour please go to www.flwoutdoors.com.