Neil Farlow of St. Catharines, Ontario, pieced together an impressive five-fish bag of smallmouth bass that totaled 24 pounds, 4 ounces to take the early lead in the prestigious Costa Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Series Northern Division bass tournament being hosted by Buffalo.
Included in his catch was a huge 6-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth that set the pace for tourney big fish. He was still in the lead after the second day of action, too … with the same weights. Fishing was cancelled Friday due to high winds and a Small Craft Advisory on the lake.
The bass tournament went off as planned Thursday as 169 pros and 169 co-anglers hit the big waters of Lake Erie out of Safe Harbor Marina in Buffalo. As they started to weigh fish in, a limit of five bass was the norm for these expert fishermen.
“Where else can you can go to catch a 20-pound limit of smallmouth bass and end up in 44th place?” emcee Ron Lappin, director of tournament operations for FLW, said from the stage. “It’s incredible.”
That’s exactly what happened as only 4 pounds, 4 ounces separated the top 44 anglers that cracked the 20-pound barrier.
Farlow used a mixture of drop shot rigs and tubes to take his fish. The bite was good early, but as the day progressed and the wind increased, fishing slowed. Wave height at the end of the day was closer to 6 feet. He is leading the pack by just 1-ounce over Ben Wright of Peru, NY.
For the co-anglers, Sakae Ushio of Tonawanda reeled in a five-fish catch that weighed in at 23 pounds, 7 ounces to take the early lead. He was not using drop shot rigs or tubes, but failed to elaborate on exactly what he was using. The pro angler he was fishing with was Cory Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, currently in fourth place in the Angler of the Year standings with FLW.
As a result of the cancellation for Day 2, everything shifts to Saturday. All 169 boats will be fishing with co-anglers as if it’s Day 2. It will not only be the Top 10 anglers for each class as was the original plan. Weigh-in will be at Buffalo Safe Harbor, not at Cabela’s in Cheektowaga.
Of course, this is all predicated on the boats actually getting out fishing. Weather forecasts for Saturday were not favorable. If they do get to fish, the plan is to bring the first flight of boats in at 11 a.m. instead of 2 p.m. Check out www.flwfishing.com for an update on what will be happening on Saturday.