Lake Erie Cabela’s NTC Championship Report June 8-10, 2017

251. That was the full field of boats entered in last week’s Cabela’s National Team Championship held out of Lorain, Ohio, on the big water of Lake Erie! This was my first time fishing this event. I was invited to fish with Coal Valley, IL, angler Paul Hebbeln. Paul had qualified for the event but his partner was unable to fish. Paul has a newer Ranger 620 in his garage but no experience or fishing equipment for fishing Erie so we took my Ranger and equipment and headed to Lorain on June 4th. Early, early Monday morning, we followed our friend and Erie guide, Ronnie Rhodes, to Cleveland to spend a day prefishing on spots Ronnie wanted to check. We fished just east of Cleveland and found a nice pod of walleyes and caught numerous on our “walleye wire” line and traditional cranks off planer boards. We moved another seven miles east to Moss Point where our bite improved. Ronnie caught a solid 12 pounder while we had one big fish and missed a couple. We came off the water late afternoon feeling we had good fish away from the pack sure to show up near Lorain. The next two days found us on shore while the winds blew and the waves ran big. We chose to stay safe and stay off the water. I know many anglers went out in spite of the weather. Because this was Paul’s first rodeo at Lake Erie, we hit every bait shop I knew from Lorain back to Port Clinton plus showed him the boat launches we’ve used and places we’ve stayed in the past. “Pauley” found a number of Bandit cranks to his liking and began building his Lake Erie tackle box! The first tournament day found us in the second flight–we headed east for the 38 mile run to Moss Point. We caught four on our Bandits but could not get the big fish bites. We started for Lorain, stopped at Avon Point, and popped a really nice 8 pounder before heading in. The Ranger 620 kept us safe and the Evinrude E-tec gave us really good gas mileage during the longest boat ride I’ve every gone in a tournament! Day 2 came and we decided to head back to Avon. We ground out four smaller fish there and wondered where our big fish had gone. We finished in 190th place with total weight of 24-05. While the top 25 finished the competition on Saturday, Paul and I headed home with lots of windshield time to reflect on our time at Lake Erie. You can see all the results at the NTC website so be sure to check it out and the stories about the bite. Paul and I want to say a special thanks to Ronnie Rhodes for helping us both on and off the water. Consider having him guide you on your next trip to Lake Erie. We also want to thank Craig and the crew at Erie Outfitters for their support of all the anglers–be sure to stop by when you are in the area. Finally, a special thank you to Paul for asking me to be his partner and fish the big water! I think his Lake Erie fishing gear will expand and the number of Bandits he owns increase substantially in future months!! Hope you enjoy the pictures from practice and tournament days. Spike

Lake Erie Cabela's NTC Championship Report June 8-10, 2017

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