BY D’ARCY EGAN
TRENTON, Mich. — Port Clinton tournament bass pro Jared Rhode raced from Elizabeth Park on the Detroit River to his favorite fishing haunts on Lake Erie on Friday and Saturday to win the major league FLW Tour’s BFL Super Tournament with a tremendous limit of 10 smallmouth bass that weighed 49 pounds, 5 ounces.
“It was a pretty rough run on Saturday, with 15 to 20 mile per hour winds coming out of the southwest,” said Rhode, 38. “It took two hours just to get to the waters I wanted to fish around Pelee Island. That gave me just a four hour day of fishing.”
Rhode put himself into the driver’s seat on Friday with a tremendous bag of five smallmouth bass weighing 26 pounds, 3 ounces. Anchoring that catch was a 5-pound, 11-ounce behemoth. Adding 23 pounds, 2 ounces on Saturday earned him the top prize, taking home a $7,604 paycheck.
It was the fourth BFL tournament that Rhode had won, and one of his most satisfying victories.
Rhode is a walleye charter captain on Lake Erie during the summer, and a seventh grade science teacher at Port Clinton Middle School the rest of the year. His wife, Amber teaches third graders at Bataan Elementary School.
“We’ve been pretty busy this year with our new baby, Fischer. The BFL Super Tournament is the first bass tournament I’ve been able to fish this year,” said Rhode.
Rhode relied on working drop shot rigs in 22 to 26 feet of water around his hot spots off Pelee Island, in Ontario waters. He said his old standby, a green pumpkin Berkley Gulp soft plastic bait, caught the majority of his bass.
“I also caught about 25 or so walleye on that rig that were between six and 12 inches in length,” said Rhode, with a laugh. “The walleye fishing is phenomenal right now on Lake Erie, and it’s going to be just great for the next decade.”
Rhode spooled his Shimano Stratic reel on a Loomis fishing rod with braided line and an 8-pound test fluorocarbon leader. The drop shot rig had a No. 1-sized Gamakatsu drop shot hook, and was weighted with a half-ounce sinker.
Rhode praised his Minn Kota Ultrex bow-mounted electric trolling motor for keeping him on the best spots. It linked with his GPS unit, and anchored the boat to the hot bass holes he was fishing despite the wind and waves.
Kyle Greene of Ortonville, Mich. (42 pounds, 13 ounces) finished second, followed by John Devries (42 pounds, 5 ounces) of Fishers, Ind.