We don’t know what’s happening with Pete Gluszek, and for a good reason. He’s fishing a 45-minute, bone-jarring boat ride the opposite direction from the rest of the pack, which is around Pelee Island.
With two brave Bassmaster.com soldiers on the front line, Shaye Baker and Ronnie Moore, we couldn’t risk sending one of them to search for Gluszek.
What we do know is Gluszek has a good reason to make the run. The water where he is fishing is teeming with baitfish. Yesterday he told me that it’s supercharged from the mixing effect of a strong current coming into the lake from the Detroit River.
He’s catching smallmouth on a drop-shot rig. There is a catch, too, pardon the pun. Gluszek has a backup plan of using a crankbait, so if the drop-shot pattern fails (doubtful) he’s got a go-to tactic not exploited by anyone else.
Here’s what likely could be his other edge: The roughest part of the day is getting there and back. He’s not riding the waves like the images you are seeing of Derek Remitz as posted by Shaye Baker. Boat control is easier and more than likely, and that allows him to stay more focused on fishing.
In the interest of public safety, we don't recommend coming out on Lake Erie right now without Dramamine. My camera boat driver has been sick all morning and, though I'm a journalist at heart and the integrity of the story is everything, I didn't have the heart or the stomach to take a pic while he was in the act of exporting. Knowing that I sacrificed a good punchline or two in the interest of his pride and well-being, Brandon offered to hop down and fake it for a pic right quick, thus yielding the above photo. The only problem is the quick moment down and back up set his internal bilge pump off again and he spent the next 10 minutes or so regretting his decision to fake it.
Oh, the days of our lives ...
Catching fish plays second fiddle to keeping your boat in the water at this point. On average, Remitz's trolling motor spends about 20 seconds out of every minute in the air. Run that across six hours of fishing and Remitz is basically just holding on for two hours out of the day.
We made it to Derek Remitz's starting spot. His main area, really. He has four stretches on this shoal that have scattered "bumps and rocks." If this area doesn't produced today, he's saving enough time for a 2-mile run to another honey hole.
Nothing so far for Remitz, though it took him a few hours yesterday to relocate the school. These smallmouth move around this area, swimming a few hundred yards before settling in on another rock pile. Remitz allows the wind to blow him along these rougher stretches, drifting through them until he gets bit. Once Remitz gets a bite on a particular drift, he'll make that drift again and again, typically catching a good one every drift or two.
The difference between what Remitz is doing versus several other anglers we've watched this week is subtle. There's no need to work your dropshot in 5-foot waves, and Remitz knows that. He just lets the waves move his bait as his boat floats 5 feet into the air and then falls back down the wave. Really he seems to be working just to keep his bait on bottom. If you've ever seen a drop-shot rig underwater, you know the slightest twitch of the rod tip elicits quite a bit of action in the worm on the other end. Out here, if you have a smallmouth eyeing your bait and you add a twitch to what the waves are already doing, you're likely to snatch the bait away from the bass and never know it was there.
Riding across Lake Erie in a bass boat is about like wiping with sandpaper. Some days you get 600-grit and some days you get 40-grit, but it's always uncomfortable.
That being said, I think everyone should do it at least once, to reevaluate your life and get right with your maker if nothing else.
On the ride out this morning I watched as my camera-boat driver Brandon Osting marvelously maneuvered among 4- and 5-foot rollers while he also kept a constant eye on the boat's bilge pump, making sure any water that he saw enter the boat quickly exited and making sure there wasn't more water exiting than he saw coming in. The latter would indicate a very serious problem, failure in the boat's hull or plumbing, which numerous anglers have faced this week.
While he was doing all that and I had nothing else to do besides the obvious, holding on for dear life, I scanned the horizon looking for the top 12 boats that were also venturing out into the unknown. More than once I thought I spotted a boat in the distance, but it turned out to be a 7-footer rolling, its crest riding a couple feet above the endless sea of 5-footers.
When you put yourself in a situation like this, when you dare Mother Nature, you have a heightened sense of things. A little bit of fear, a little bit of adrenaline, a little worry.
Opens Pro and former Dallas Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh said it best as he crossed the weigh-in stage on Day 1: "I'd rather have to tackle Adrian Peterson than run across Lake Erie."
Jamie Jacobus shows a 4-pound smallmouth its own reflection.