Triton's Desforges claims victory at Lake Erie
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Triton's Mike Desforges from Ontario, Canada won his first BASS event Saturday, pulling a winning limit of smallmouth bass from Lake Erie at the CITGO Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Busch Beer.
"It's awesome," said Desforges, a realtor who takes summers off to fish bass tournaments. "I always seem to be close to winning at these bigger tournaments but I've never done it before."
Desforges' 53 pounds, 2 ounces took the boater division's $50,000 first prize from the grasp of former BASS winner Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, who brought in 52-9. The top 5 also included Canada's Gaspare Costabille, 51-1; Randall Romig of Barto, Pa., 49-2; and the first two days' leader, Jess Salmon of Milford, N.J., 49-0. On the non-boater side, Canadian Jim Tedesco's 48-7 total won him the $24,000 winner's purse.
Desforges credited his win to good decisions early in the final day of the three-day event. He cited tough fishing in practice that left him with only three potential spots to fish during the tournament. On Saturday, Desforges decided to stick with only one of those spots.
In the amateur division, Jim Tedesco just inched by the competition with a winning weight of 48 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday. "The key was that today, I stuck to my spot," he said. "It's a good spot. I got a couple of good bites early and that helped me decide to stay there."
The spot was actually a section of deep water over a series of underwater ledges that ranged in depth from 20 to 30 feet. Desforges caught the fish on a green ISG Intimidator tube with a 3/8th-ounce jig. He said another key decision was to use lighter line than most of the competition — 8-pound test Thursday and Friday, and 10-pound test on Saturday.
"I think the light line worked because the water was so clear," he said. "It definitely made a big difference."
Jack Bell battles a feisty Lake Erie bronzeback Saturday. Bell went on to finish eighth with a total of 47 pounds, 12 ounces. Desforges previous highest finish was 28th on the amateur side at a 1995 Bassmaster Top 100 event on the Hudson River.
This was the second of three events that will send the top anglers to the inaugural Bassmaster Open Championship in December — and, ultimately, the coveted CITGO Bassmaster Classic next summer. The top prize in this event for the pros is $50,000. The top non-boater will win a boat-and-motor combination valued at $24,000.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.