SANDUSKY, Ohio — The top two anglers at the CITGO Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Erie, Paul Hirosky and Jon Bondy, attributed their finished to drop shotting tubes in the bass-heavy waters.
Hirosky, of Guy Mills, Pa., won his first BASS tournament on Lake Erie's waters with a five-fish limit of 19-3 on the final day and a three-day total of 55-6.
"I narrowed my fishing down to two spots and stuck with it all day," said Hirosky. "I've fished two other tournaments before this but always had bad luck. I was finally able to bring my 'A' game to Erie."
Hirosky caught his limit drop-shotting a 3-and-a-half-inch chartreuse tube on 8-pound test line. He earned $53,316 in winnings, including a fully rigged Triton boat.
"To me, this is my Classic," said the ecstatic Hirosky. "Hopefully, this is a good start to a career I've wanted to pursue."
Jon Bondy from Windsor, Ontario, took second place with an impressive 18-12 sack. His three-day total was 53-12.
Bondy also caught his limit drop-shotting a tube. The key was a vertical presentation and dancing the lure along the bottom, he said.
Rodney Sorrell of Stokesdale, N.C., jumped from ninth to finish third overall. Sorrell had 19-1 for the day and a three-day total of 51-14. "I didn't catch many fish, but the ones I did catch were the right ones," said Sorrell.
He fished in open water 26 to 29 feet deep using a green pumpkin 4-inch Yum Dinger.
Two Ohio Buckeyes rounded out the top five boaters. BASS pro Frank Scalish of Cleveland, Ohio, tipped the scales with a five-fish sack of 18-4, bringing his total to 50-14. Scalish also earned an additional $1,000 for winning the Purolator Big Bass of the tournament (5-7), which he secured his second day of fishing. Lakeview, Ohio's Ed Allen finished in fifth with a three-day total of 50-0.
On the non-boater side, Ohio's Del Smith took top honors with a three-day total of 41-10. Del earned a Triton boat with Mercury outboard package worth $25,000.
Smith worked his way to the top of the leader board using a homemade lure. He fastened a bullet head to a Poor Boys Goby with super glue and dragged it across the bottom in water 11 to 16 feet deep.
Smith was followed by New York's Matthew Daddio (40-2), Ohio's Christopher Clemence third (38-13), Ohio's Dick Parker (38-5) and Ohio's Anthony Borkoski completing the top five with 37-10.
Boater Paul Noechel pocketed an additional $1,000 for his 5-1 Purolator Big Bass of the day. Noechel reeled in the smallmouth using a Bass Trix locomotion worm.
On the non-boater side, Matthew Scholzen brought a 4-11 smallmouth bass to the scales, earning Purolator Big Bass honors and an additional $400.
This was the first of three Northern Open events that will send the top anglers to the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship in December. The top five from that championship are invited to the Classic in February 2006 at Lake Toho near Kissimmee.
The second Northern Open event is Aug. 11-13 on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The last event is Sept. 15-17 on Oneida Lake in Syracuse, N.Y.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Open Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).