The Cabela’s National Walleye Tour : http://wwwnationalwalleyetourcom.zippysites.com/stopped in Port Clinton, OH this month. The weather did not cooperate, however, and the tournament was delayed. Due to safety concerns, anglers were only able to fish one day of the tournament.
Cabela’s Pro Ryan Jirik’s Evinrude-Powered Ranger was one of almost 130 boats to tackle Lake Erie for the only day of fishing the weather allowed. Jirik stated that the weather delay had him a bit on edge. He was running a long distance to his fish, and not knowing if the fish would cooperate or how muddy the water would be because of the recent storms, had his stomach in knots. He did note, however, that he thought the cancellation due to weather was a good call. He stated that he thought there “might have been a bunch of broken equipment at the end of the day, or worse” had the field been let go. Sunday was a backup day for Day 2, and some big winds were predicted to hit at about the same time as the field would be taking the water. Nerves or no nerves, Jirik’s solid finish in this event proved that he can get it done on the water.
With a lot of water to cover and the Walleyes’ constant migration East as the summer progresses, Jirik stated that pre-fishing was hit and miss. He said fish could be found from the shores of Ohio to the shores of Ontario. He thought he might have the fish to win, but they seemed very particular about what they would eat and where they were located. There was not a huge school of fish, so he knew that pinpointing them would be crucial to a good finish in the tournament.
Jirik spent only about the first 20 minutes of the tournament without a fish. From then on, he caught a fish about every fifteen or twenty minutes. When he stopped catching fish in an area, he would move a bit to locate a new school. He culled about ten fish over the 7-pound mark. He said this would be “one of those days to remember.”
Crank baits worked well for Jirik during the tournament. He pulled a crawler harness for most of practice and that worked well, but could cover more water with crank baits. During the tournament, he pulled crank baits at various depths in the water column. The bottom where he was fishing had many depressions and high spots, and the fish were holding to structure. He stated that the walleyes were eating white perch and white bass, so it was imperative to use lures that imitated that forage. Jirik posted a 7th place finish at Port Clinton this year with 5 fish weighing in at 44.38 pounds.
Ryan had fished this body of water many times, and owed his finish partially to his knowledge of where he can find fish here and techniques on which he can rely. He stated that his finish was also due to the great support of his sponsors: Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Offshore Tackle, Downriver Tackle, Elk River Custom Rods , Lucky Craft and Shoeder’s Marine, and he thanks them for all of their support. Fans looking to follow Jirik’s career can do so on Facebook.