Skip to main content

Michigan pro Goes Wire to Wire

A dream come true for Nate Wellman at the 2011 Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Eriea

Michigan pro Goes Wire to Wire
Michigan pro Goes Wire to Wire

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Nate Wellman has had a dream since he was 12 years old: to fish in the Bassmaster Classic. Since then, he has strived to make that dream a reality by trying to qualify through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens as well as the Bassmaster Elite Series. But before today, he’s always come up short. With his win on Lake Erie, he’ll be able to live out that dream next February on Louisiana’s Red River at the 2012 Classic.

This victory was two-fold for Wellman, the second half lying in the fact that he has never won on his home water of Lake Erie. He’s fished the lake for more than 10 years but has never broken through and earned a major victory.

“I can’t even explain what this means to me. To come here and win means an awful lot, but to get to go to the Classic means the world,” he said.

Wellman narrowly missed a spot in the 2011 Classic with his third-place finish in the 2010 Northern Opens points when only the top two anglers went. Along with the Classic berth, Wellman also took home a fully rigged Nitro boat with a 225-hp Mercury outboard and nearly $9,000 cash. His Day Three catch weighed 18-4, giving him a three-day total of 63-11. Most of his fish fell for a Berkley Gulp Minnow and an Erie Darter, all drop shotted. On Days One and Two, he used a prototype ABT Lures crankbait that he says will reach 29 feet in depth.


When much of the field struggled because of the calm winds on Day Three, Jared Rhode of Port Clinton, Ohio, excelled and took home $12,500 for his runner-up finish. He caught 22-11, which gave him a three-day total of 61-15. Michael Murphy of Gilbert, S.C., also figured out how to catch a solid stringer as he brought 22-2 to the scales, giving him a total of 61-0, earning him more than $10,000. He says that every day presented a new challenge as the weather conditions fluctuated. The first day the winds were high and blew 6-foot waves across the lake, while on Day Two it calmed down a bit and nearly disappeared on Day Three.


“I lost a good fish today, but I learned something from it. They were really finicky and I found that they were just playing with it, so I had to let them take it before I set the hook,” he said. “It was a real grind.”

Murphy relied on an Ima Beast Hunter crankbait the first two windy days, then switched to a Reins tube and a Tabu Tackle Whip Tail worm when the wind receded.

In fourth place is Chris Malone of Ironton, Ohio, who caught 19-1 today for a total of 60-08. He won more than $8,000. In fifth place is Kurt Dove of Del Rio, Texas, who caught 20-12 for a total of 58-12. He took home $7,500.

On the co-angler side, Day One leader Jonathan Shoemaker of Elyria, Ohio, reclaimed the lead and took home the win along with a Triton boat with a Mercury outboard valued at $35,000 for his catch of 38-4. His Day Three weight was 11-11. Like much of the field, he relied on a drop shot rig with a Roboworm, leech, or a soft jerkbait on the end.


In second place is Day Two leader Mike Chunko of Alliance, Ohio, who caught 9-9 today for a total of 37-7. Behind him is Bobby Woods of Stafford, Ohio, who also caught 37-7 thanks to his Day Three weight of 12-13. In fourth place is Chris Van Vliet of Cleveland, Canada, who caught 11-12 today, giving him a total of 37-6. Rounding out the top five is Pete Manns of Seville, Ohio, who caught 11-6, giving him the same total as Van Vliet, 37-6.

The third and final stop of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens is Sept. 22-24 on Oneida Lake in Syracuse, N.Y.

For more information about the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens, visit www.bassmaster.com/open.


2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Supporting Sponsors: Humminbird, Luck “E” Strike, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats

About B.A.S.S.

For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Costa Ferg Sunglasses

Costa Ferg Sunglasses

Costa's Todd Barker reveals the features of the new Costa Ferg sunglasses, a best-of-category winner at ICAST 2020.

New from Old Town: Sportsman Autopilot 136 and Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

New from Old Town: Sportsman Autopilot 136 and Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

Brand ambassador Ryan Lilly highlights the features of the Old Town AutoPilot 136 motorized kayak and the Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman canoe.

Tackle Test 2020: Lew

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow Hunting How-To

6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow

Jace Bauserman - August 27, 2020

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time.10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths.5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

Quick look at common, easy-to-catch fish species (video).Get On Board: Species 101 for Beginning Anglers Other Freshwater

Get On Board: Species 101 for Beginning Anglers

Game & Fish Staff

Quick look at common, easy-to-catch fish species (video).

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will combine the top two hunting and fishing retailers in the United StatesBass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal Stories

Bass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal

Abhijith Ganapavaram and Sruthi Shankar

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will...

Major League Fishing (MLF), a made-for-television bass fishing competition featuring the country's top professional anglers, celebrates its 5-year anniversary this summer with news it has become the No. 1 fishing show in the nation.Major League Fishing Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary with Top Rating Stories

Major League Fishing Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary with Top Rating

MLF Communications

Major League Fishing (MLF), a made-for-television bass fishing competition featuring the...

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day Other Freshwater

240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day

Lynn Burkhead - June 22, 2020

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths.Chase a Mixed-Bag Bite at Lake Oconee Fishing

Chase a Mixed-Bag Bite at Lake Oconee

Larry Larsen - April 28, 2020

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now