2013 Bass Pro Shops Northern Open #3 Lake Erie - Sandusky, OH, Sep 12 - 14, 2013

Erie: I love her anyway

About the author

Charlie Hartley

Charlie Hartley

After a career as a professional skateboarder, Charlie Hartley began fishing B.A.S.S. events in 1993.

Lake Erie can be an extraordinary fishery. I had a huge sack on the first day up there and was in a position to make a run on a really nice finish. And then, the winds came, Friday was cancelled and my bite disappeared. I ended up fishing one of the most frustrating days of my career on Saturday. But I love her anyway.

On the positive side, both of my co-anglers had good days. They each caught the biggest smallmouth of their life while they were out with me. It’s a really good feeling to see them taking photos and texting their friends. They had a memorable day regardless of where they finished.

Those two co-anglers weren’t the only ones who had good days, though. If I have it right, there were 20 sacks of bass weighed in the first day that were over 20 pounds, and it took more than 17 pounds to end up somewhere around 50th. That says something.

I know a lot of guys, and some publications, do not list Lake Erie as the best smallmouth destination in the country. That’s their right. As for me, however, I have to say that it is the best. The other places are good but they don’t measure up when all is said and done, and the fish are weighed.

And how about Mike Iaconelli! Here’s a guy who defined his mission, knew exactly what he had to do and then made it happen. In the process of securing his place in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, he outfished several local anglers who know what they are doing and who rarely come up short. You have to respect that kind of ability.

I have something else to say about this Open, too. Chris Bowes deserves a vote of support for his decision to cancel the second day. It’s easy to criticize when you aren’t the one who has to make tough decisions like that. He did what he thought was right and what he thought was in the best interest of angler safety. That’s all you can ask of anyone.

Think about it this way: What if a couple of anglers had been killed on Friday? What would be said then? It’s not so easy when you’re the one who makes the call.

From now on I’ll be doing a little — OK, maybe a lot — of recreational fishing along with some tournament fishing in another circuit. But for the most part I’ll be marking time until the Wildcard starts down on Lake Okeechobee in December. I can’t wait for the excitement. Everyone in the tournament will have one goal — to win. No one will be fishing for a check or for a strong finish and points.

It’s time to go. I’m writing this on Tuesday so I have my Tuesday night tournament here in Columbus to get ready for. (A man has to keep his priorities in order, you know.) I need a strong performance so I’m confident and mentally ready for our championship on Saturday.