DETROIT, Mich. — Canadian fishing brothers Cory and Chris Johnston have always pooled their tournament winnings and split them 50-50. If Cory were to win the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship here this week, his younger brother would definitely deserve half the $100,000 paycheck.
Cory Johnston salvaged his first day on Lake St. Clair in Chris’s boat, after Cory’s outboard motor died at mid-morning Sunday.
“It was a disaster,” said Cory, who entered the tournament third in the AOY standings, 14 points behind leader Scott Canterbury. “I don’t know if the powerhead went, but something happened to the motor. It shut off when I was running.
“Chris showed up about an hour later. He switched boats with me and I got going.”
Cory weighed a 19-pound, 7-ounce limit, which put him in a tie for 15th place. Obviously, his day could have been a much more devastating disaster.
“I salvaged the day, but it wasn’t what I wanted,” he said. “There are two more days, so we’ll see. I only missed about an hour of fishing.”
Chris, on the other hand, only got about 90 minutes of fishing time. His adventure was just beginning with the boat switch.
“I started at another end of the lake,” Chris said. “I fished one spot and was going to the next one. (Cory) knows it. There were two or three other boats on it. I pulled a fish in and he’s waving at me. I’m like, huh, what’s going on, is there fish?”
Chris quickly found out what was going on, and it wasn’t fish. So he gave Cory his boat. After the switch, Chris was faced with having trolling motor power only, five miles away from shore.
“I called some friends,” Chris said. “They knew a guy who had a boat. He met me about a half-mile out and took (Cory’s) boat the rest of the way in.”
Chris fished what was left of his day in a 19-foot Ranger furnished by someone he’d never met. (Chris and Cory sent a big thank you to Brian Scurr of Windsor, Canada, who loaned Chris his boat.)
“That was my day,” Chris said. “It wasn’t much of a fishing day. I got maybe an hour-and-a-half total. I ended up getting my fifth keeper right in front of (the Metro Park check-in site).”
Chris finished with 11-7, which left him in 39th place.
“It was more important for Cory to catch fish,” he said. “I’m in 10th place (in the AOY standings). I couldn’t win AOY, and he’s got a good chance at it.”
The two brothers from Canada, both in their first season on the Elite Series, still have two days to make a splash in this tournament. And both seemed confident it could happen.
“There are some big pods of fish out there, and they’re moving around,” Chris said. “You get on one of those and in 20 minutes you can have 25 pounds. I had one in practice, and my brother found two. They’re moving, but (Monday) I’ll just go look for one of those and see if I can load the boat.”