Caption: Chris Noffsinger with an 8-pounds-plus smallmouth.
Chris Noffsinger of Traverse City, Mich., was the boat driver for Steve Bowman and I today. As the photo above shows, Noffsinger knows a bit about catching smallmouth bass in The Great Lakes. He operates a guide service in his hometown and competes in tournaments, including this year's B.A.S.S. Northern Opens.
Noffsinger is certain his big smallmouth weighed over 8 pounds, but it wasn't weighed. There wasn't time. Four years ago this month, Noffsinger and two clients were fishing in Grand Traverse Bay. He was demonstrating how to fish a drop-shot for suspended smallmouth when he hooked this one. By the time he got it to the boat and a photo was shot, one of his clients was hooked up. So the monster smallie went back in the lake, while Noffsinger helped his client. The action would continue like that for awhile.
"We caught 53 fish in five hours, including a 7-8, a 6-8 and a 6-4 (plus the monster)," Noffsinger said.
So Noffsinger observed Aaron Martens today with an experienced eye and more than casual interest.
"It's all about the spot on the spot," Noffsinger said of Martens' methods. "Sometimes it's the spot on the spot on the spot. There's a lot of real estate out here. You've got to really know the key areas and know your electronics. He was dialed-in. I was impressed."