The last NWT stop was out of Sault (pron. “Soo”) Ste. Marie, MI on the St Marys River, connecting Lake Superior and Lake Huron. First time the big show was ever there, and the last pro-am walleye derby there was waaaay back in ’05. Ton of water to cover, with some pros making 100+ mile runs one-way!
MI’s David Kolb, a tourney pro and Great Lakes charter captain for 2+ decades, got the ‘dubyah’ by a huuuge margin…. His 2-day bag of 65.04 lbs (nearly 15 lbs ahead of 2nd!) landed him cash/prizes totalling $83,259 + bragging rights:
> David: “I spent a week and a half prefishing — I worked really hard for this one. Have been in the hunt several times, so it’s nice to finish one off. Sometimes you wonder if you’re doing something wrong.”
Found his big-fish spot approx 45 miles from takeoff…a rocky shoreline in the Drummond Island area that kicked out a 26″, 27″, and a 29.5″ during prefish before he snuck outta there. Knew it was something special, but wasn’t sure it would hold up for tourney day.
> David: “I really think the big lake was too cold. …productive reefs out on Huron, but the water temp was only 62 degrees. At Drummond, the water was 68-70 degrees and that made a big difference.
> “That class of fish is really rare up here. I was fortunate to find it and that they were active in the afternoon. I don’t understand why, but it was a later-in-the-day bite.
> “I actually started the tournament on a jigging spot in the St. Joseph’s area [where] I was consistently getting 23-25 lbs. Caught a few, but ended up culling everything out at the big-fish spot. [On the final day] I pretty much spent the entire day in Drummond.”
> David: “My speed was 1.5 mph, but I was going into the current. These fish were sitting in the rocks and waiting for the current to wash the bait by…gobies there and other clouds of baitfish too.
> “…big boulders, so I wanted the crankbaits just above the bottom. Today I ran 4 boards to one side [!!] because all my bites were coming on the inside.”
He used Off Shore Tackle Magnum Planer Boards with short leads so the big ones wouldn’t bury the board (more likely to get off then). His co-angler reeled in the fish while he “coached, controlled the motor, and manned the net.”
> David: “On these big fish, getting them in the boat is everything…we only had 5 bites. I have the co-angler do most of the reeling. I kill the kicker and use the trolling motor…I’m a firm believer they can hear the kicker and then fight harder. Plus, there can be issues with prop wash. We put all 5 of our bites in the boat today.”
He had just 4 lbs in the well at noon…then put 4 giants in the boat by 1:10 (including a 29.5″ and 28″) for a day 2 bag of 34.07 lbs. Unreal stuff — BIG congrats, man!