Right drift for Cook

Drew Cook is on the right drift. In pretty short order he’s caught four keepers and is now hooked up again. The last one was a sheep’s head.

Cook, though, says he has about 11 pounds. I think that’s light. But his little flurry shows us how quickly things can happen if you get on the right drift.

BASSTrakk shows Cook at zero. But’s he’s making a far better showing than that.

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Hightower adds a good'un

Dale Hightower has been making the same Detroit River drift all morning, and it’s paying off.

The catches aren’t quick, but he just hooked up with his third keeper - a smallie that weighed “just under 4 pounds.”

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No shows

I met my boater, Jerry Ducette, at Marine City because we anticipated a group of anglers heading to the mouth of Lake Huron.

After all, the winner of the 2013 Elite stop took the victory fishing Lake Huron, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. A total winning weight of 82-4 was dredged up with that combo of locations to take the blue trophy.
But no one showed up. A short handful are in the river near Lake St. Clair, but it looks like St. Clair will he the main player this year.

Feider with a monster, maybe

Seth Feider just caught what appeared to be a monster from our distance. To be safe I’m calling 4 1/2 pounds but I reserve the right to be wrong on either side of the scale. That would give him about 13/14 pounds with four fish. And he’s always a little light on his guesses.

Just like that we see how quickly the world can change. Another like that and he’s scaring the heck out of hitting 20 pounds and we aren’t two hours in yet.

We know Seth will catch another. Then the difference will be in the culls.

He’s locked down on the spot he caught that one. Hoping or assuming he has brothers or mothers close by.

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Which way the wind blows

So far, the wind has rotated 360 degrees around the compass dial. Currently, it's out of the southwest. Garrett Paquette--a local favorite--likes that direction.

"We are going to have a pretty strong southwest wind later in the afternoon," he said. "I expect that to keep the bite going."

Paquette noted a steady southwest wind, like we'll have today and tomorrow, allows for steady fishing catching all day long.

"The one thing about the wind out here is it allows us to move around to find the schools of fish," he explained. "It really positions the fish well and makes them really aggressive, so today should be a good day."

Paquette predicted lots of 20- to 25-pound limits will cross the scales today.

Hightower with two

Dale Hightower is dragging a section of the Detroit River, and he’s had a little early success.

“I’ve got two,” he said. “Two 3-pounders.”

He’s just drifting in the swift current without moving his rod at all - just holding the tip down and letting the current drag his lure along the bottom.

The AOY that would have been

The year 2020 is like none other. And so is the race for the Bassmaster Angler of the Year. In a perfect world, this event at Lake St. Clair would be the conclusion of the Bassmaster Elite Series season. And in that perfect world, the final four events would be dominated by smallmouth. Guys like Seth Feider and other smallmouth specialists would be making a strong run up the points ladder to qualify for the world championship.

My how COVID-19 has changed all of that. Now, we have four more events on the schedule. There are two very strong factors that will make this AOY one for the history book.

First, the final events are in the South. And second, they are in the fall. Put one and one together and you have a setup for the most challenging AOY finish in years. Guntersville, Santee Cooper, Chickamauga and Lake Fork will be the stages for the final run.

Anglers dislike fall fishing in the South for the same reasons. The fishing is so darn tough. Lingering warm temperatures prolong the fall transition, and when it does happen, bass can be difficult to pattern.

Based on the above, we can expect to see no single angler making a strong run at the title. Consistent high finishes across the remainder of the season will be tough to do.

This one is going to be fun to watch, and it all starts right here, at the event formerly known as the grand finale of the season.

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Metro Flats, true to its name

The Metro Flats is true to its name. It’s table top flat with little patches of grass scattered around. Big schools of smallmouth move around this flat because there is no real structure to hold them.

Like a pack of wolves they roam around this place looking for gobies, yellow perch or emerald shiners to feed on.

As an angler you are drifting or moving from grass patch to patch watching your electronics hoping to head them off or see them to cast to them.

This is where lure selection and ability to read and utilize electronics will separate the field.

In the time it’s took me to write this blog we have seen Brett Preuett and Austin Felix catch big smallmouth. They are easily 200 yards or more from each other and we are in between. So there’s those that break off from the pack and probably multiple schools.

Wendlandt crushing them early

His name just flashed to the top of the BASSTrakk leaderboard, but Clark Wendlandt had probably been there for a while. We know that thanks to Mark Zona's on-the-water reporting on "Bassmaster LIVE." Apparently, Wendlandt was catching smallmouth so fast early that he didn't have time to enter the data. Zona noted that he watched Wendlandt release what appeared to be a 3 1/2-pounder. BASSTrakk indicates he's got a 16-pound, 5-bass limit.

Wendlandt isn't from smallmouth bass country. But the Cedar Park, Texas, resident is a noted smallmouth angler. He was in contention for the title on the St. Lawrence River before finishing 8th. The 54-year-old veteran tournament angler enters this event 6th in the AOY standings, only 25 points behind leader Jamie Hartman.