My Lake Erie plan

OK, we all know the drill. This one is about winning.

I’m feeling reasonably good as of today. That doesn’t mean I have any preconceived notions that I’m going to win or anything like that. It does mean, though, that I’ve had a lot of time to practice and put things in order up here.

That’s important because Lake Erie is somewhat of a unique fishery. The fish are big, there are plenty of them and it’s weather dependent. The big fish part of things is obvious but it still deserves mentioning. Most of the anglers will catch fish, lots and lots of fish. That means that just putting together two or three patterns to get on them isn’t much help. It’s the size that matters.

A good guess would be that it’ll take 20 pounds a day to be competitive, and that will by no means guarantee you a win. The size of some of the fish in these massive, offshore schools is frightening. There are times when almost anyone can catch smallmouth between 3 1/2 and 5 pounds cast after cast. That means things will likely be competitive even into Sunday.

But the real thing about getting ready to fish Lake Erie is the weather, specifically the wind. It can come from any of several directions, and it can blow really hard. It creates waves, big waves that can keep you from getting to a spot or returning from one.

The way to avoid such a thing is to plan for everything. That means locating spots you can get to no matter where the wind is coming from, or how strong it is blowing. That, in and of itself, isn’t a big deal. But when you combine it with the need for two or three patterns in each of those spots along with the reality that you need giant fish…

When I say that, I don’t mean to sound negative. The great thing about all of this is that Lake Erie is one of the legendary fisheries in the United States. It’s one of the few places where you actually can have a chance to do something like I’m describing. This tournament can be won in any number of places. It’s not like the winning fish are all bunched up in one area.

The final factor that’ll affect what happens this week is the temperature. It’s supposed to be in the lower 90-degree range tomorrow and Wednesday but then break. Thursday through Saturday’s highs are predicted to be anywhere from the middle 60s to the middle 70s. That’ll make fishing hard much easier.

Extreme heat can be a problem if you have to fish in it day after day. One day is no big deal, just drink lots of water and get lots of rest. There’s no real lasting effect. If you go at it for three or four days, however, it gets a lot tougher. No matter how well you take care of yourself you start to get tired and rundown.

We’ll know how all this shakes out this weekend, won’t we?

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,

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