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

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

Mustad

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them. Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

Game & Fish Digital Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

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. 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...

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against the pandemic with special giveaway. News

Outdoors Industry Honoring Healthcare Heroes: COVID-19

April 27, 2020

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against...

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

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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