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The Spring RCL at Port Clinton!!! :)

Hope floats High winds could slow bite – and boats – for start of RCL Tour event on Erie

Nice now, nasty later? Morning sun and manageable winds might yield to high waves by afternoon for the RCL Tour event on Erie. (Photo by Dave Scroppo)

By Dave Scroppo - 28.Apr.2004

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — It’s nice now, but will it be nasty later? So goes the vexing question facing the competitors headed into Wednesday’s opening round of competition for the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie, where a revised forecast calls for morning zephyrs giving way to afternoon gusts of 25 mph.

And it’s just the sort of question that will influence not only how and where the pros fish but if they’ll catch Erie’s open-water walleyes and make it back in time.

“If they’re 5- or 6-footers, the guys will do OK,” says Ranger pro John Campbell of Marco Island, Fla. “If they’re 8s or 9s, it’ll slow everyone down and keep them from running to secondary spots.”

Another possible slowdown could come in the willingness of the walleyes to open sesame following a cold front that brought snow and sleet on Tuesday, the last day of pre-tournament practice, and greeted the field with another morning with air temperatures in the 30s.

“The fish were biting just as well yesterday, but sometimes the second day after a front they get more lethargic,” Campbell says.

A good bet for such conditions is the time-honored spinner rig, a combination of artificial offering with a rotating blade for flash and vibration paired with the scent and subtle action of a night crawler. The rig, too, has been somewhat outpacing the productivity of crankbaits, including Reef Runners and Smithwick Rogues, for numbers of fish in practice, a pattern that typically emerges when water temperatures enter the 50s.

But how the spinners are deployed might have to change with weather that normally sinks fish out of suspended mode and radically alters the way the rigs must be run when big waves would otherwise give them an undesired erratic action.

“I’ll be digging bottom,” says pro Carl Grunwaldt of Green Bay, Wis., a proficient and talented Great Lakes troller. “I might get out leadcore to minimize the surge in high waves.”

The final question mark is the anglers’ mobility. When big waves hit, it’s virtually impossible to move around and fish secondary spots.

Take, for instance, the thinking behind the day’s strategy for Lund pro Greg Yarbrough of White Lake, Mich., who’s wishing he’s able to go fishing for a five-fish limit first, then spirit off to another spot for big ones. But will it happen?

“I hope so,” Yarbrough says. “Depending on when it starts blowing, that might not happen.”

We’ll have a good idea of how the action unfolds when weigh-in starts at 3 p.m. Eastern at Waterworks Park in downtown Port Clinton.

Wednesday’s conditions

Sunrise: 6:32 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 38 degrees
Expected high temperature: upper 60s
Water temperature: 51 degrees
Wind: from the south at 9 mph
Relative humidity: 55 percent
Day’s outlook: warmer with south winds of 10-15 mph in the morning, increasing to 15-25 mph in the afternoon

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