Escanaba, Mich. -- As a hydrologic technician with the U.S. Geological Survey, Brian Mailot spends his time collecting water samples and after sampling the fishing the last three days at Bays de Noc and Lake Michigan he probably would give these waters an A+.
Despite encountering limitations on where he could fish today, Mailot found just enough fish to win the BASS Federation Nation Northern Divisional presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats at Bays de Noc. After two days of calm weather, strong winds forced Tournament Director Jon Stewart to limit the competitors to the waters of Little Bay de Noc for safety reasons. Mailot had been catching his fish on the wide open waters of Lake Michigan, but was able to adjust to the bay and catch three keepers to win individual champion honors with 47 pounds, 3 ounces.
"I was a little worried when they said we were going to stay in Little Bay because I didn't really have too many spots," said Mailot. So he and his partner Jeremy Franken found a point that produced seven fish for them.
"I had a great week," said Mailot, who proved a non-boater can be a divisional champ. "I had three great partners (Franken, Robert Perkins and Gerald Woodard) who are also going to the Red River (BASS Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats)."
Mailot caught smallmouth each day mainly on a drop shot rig with a 4-inch green pumpkin Strike King finesse worm and a Warrior Baits green pumpkin tube bait. "They were as shallow as a couple of feet and then I would catch some fish that were over 10 feet deep."
The Outcast Bassmasters club member qualified for the BASS Federation Nation Championship (FNC) presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats Oct. 25-29 at the Red River by beating out the other 11 members of the Ohio team. The other seven state champions who advanced to the national championship were Franken, South Dakota; Perkins, Minnesota; Woodard, Michigan; Mark Klemp, Illinois; David Watson, Indiana; Nathan Ranallo, Wisconsin; and Dan Parker, Iowa. The Northern Divisional qualifiers will be among the 55 FNC contenders vying for six berths in the Bassmaster Classic set for Feb. 18-20, 2011 at the Louisiana Delta near New Orleans, La.
Wisconsin finished as the top team of the divisional with a cumulative weight of 402 pounds, 11 ounces and collected the top prize of a $41,000 Skeeter bass boat rigged with a Yamaha outboard motor.
The Junior Bassmaster Northern Divisional was held today as the catches of 16 young anglers were added to the cumulative weights of their respective state teams in the adult competition. Wisconsin swept the junior honors as Joshua Lee won the 11- to 14-year-olds age division with a catch of three fish weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and Harry Marsh III topped the 15-18 age group with four bass weighing 8-6. Both youngsters qualified for the Junior Bassmasters World Championship to be held in conjunction with the Federation Nation Championship in October.