It was a mild, gray day in Ludington and the threat of storms on the horizon forced the first tournament of the Ludington Offshore Classic to be cut short.
It’s just day one of a six-day tournament that brings boats in from all over Lake Michigan.
“It’s the best tournament in all the Great Lakes,” says Wally Laaksonen, captain of Blue Fairways, “Right here in Ludington this weekend.”
Hundreds of fishermen he’d to Ludington every year for the Offshore Classic fishing tournament. 6 days, five separate events and ten’s of thousands of dollars on the line.
“Whenever fishing is hot, people want to be part of it,” says Brandy Miller, President of the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce, “Obviously with some prize money attached, people are much more willing to jump in.”
The storm that was forecasted to come across the lake cut the kick off event short but while they were short on time that doesn’t mean they were short on results. They still had loaded coolers with big fish inside which is something fishermen have seen all summer long.
“There’s just bigger fish right now than we’ve had probably since the late 70s, early 80s,” says Laaksonen.
Word had spread before the tournament of about half a dozen 30 pounders caught in the area recently. Thursday’s biggest was 28 pounds. The overall winner was Dave Baker and his boat Flat Out 2. His crew knew right away they were in for a good day.
“We had a big King I think our first 20 minutes,” says Baker, “Then another good one 20 minutes after that and then another good one not too long after that. Then we felt pretty good, right?”
Now we will see if the hot start can equal more success in the coming days.
“It makes it cheaper for the rest of the week because we won a little money,” says Baker, “I don’t think we learned a whole lot today.”
But when the Big Lake is giving out some big fish, it just takes a little luck to steal a title this week.
“There’s nothing like having that rod just take off and you’re afraid your spool is going to disappear,” says Laaksonen, “And it’s just blowing your part.”
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