Day 3 greeted all anglers with morning wins and myself an 8lb deficit. I decided to write off Big Bay de Noc and stick with Little Bay and south of Escanaba. My plan was to try an area north and then head down to the Ford River area where I caught a quick 13lbs the day prior. We had 5 foot waves right away at the mouth of the harbor. We managed a few followers early, but could not convert them on spinnerbait and jerkbaits. My partner had one area to try up there, caught a pike and had another follow.
By the time we got back down past the harbor, we were now looking at 6 foot plus waves, the interesting thing about this area of Lake Michigan, is we never had clean swells, they always had chop all over them and were breakers, which made running large waves particularly difficult. It took us about 30 minutes to go the 8 miles, we were able to tuck in behind some shoals, which made the area very fishable. Long story short, we never got any sun, and it turns out we needed that for these fish, 4 hours, a couple shorts and a few follows. Sound like musky fishing
On the return trip, waves were exceeding 8 feet and we had no fish, what a great feeling. We got back a little early and ducked into a pocket of water behind the harbor, I actually was able to catch a 15″ largemouth on a tube in a small clump of pads. That was it, kind of a disappointing end of my tournament. I ended up in 39th place and the team was 6th out of 8.
Congrats to Randy Wieczorek our National qualifier from Minnesota and Wes Haney, overall winner from WI. Truthfully, anything less then a trip to nationals would have been disappointing. Oh well, at least my boat did not end up like the pictures below, those large waves broke a lot of stuff on day 3. This Wisconsin boat had its jackplate shear off while riding the waves back from Big Bay.
One other note, the America’s Best Value Inn (formerly Travelodge) of Escanaba was a great host to us tournament anglers, outlets all over the place outside, bag lunches for tournament days and spaghetti dinner on the final night, awesome to feel appreciated and welcomed as a tournament angler!