By Lee Duracz
The final stop of the Polar Bear Opens on the Waldron Chain at Duke’s Bridge proved to offer the best of everything for the 2017 season.
We had our season’s best turnout with 19 boats plus our season’s best weight of 14.44 pounds, our season’s biggest critter a 14.90-pound carp, and by far the best weather we had all year with temperatures moving into the mid-40s with a manageable west wind and blue sunny skies.
The temperature hovered around 25 degrees as we arrived at the ramp, and fortunately, I grabbed a bag of ice melt beforehand and repeatedly sprinkled the ramp so nobody had a hard time launching.
Fog rolled in during the 8:00 a.m. start and temperatures came up slowly, putting us around 30 degrees at start time. The water temperature was around 40 degrees and, depending on what areas of the lake you fished, it ranged from muddy to just a little stained.
Those teams willing to divulge information after the tournament said they used several different colored blade baits (aka silver buddies) around the weed edges ranging from 4 feet to 20 feet of water. Like most tournaments, some teams caught them and caught them big while others struggled.
Steve Kline and Aaron Likens anchored their winning 14.44 pounds with a 6.64-pound kicker that also took the big bass award of the day. They earned $340 for first and an additional $95 for their big bass.
Casey Olds and Mike Raber were second ($200) with 11.58 pounds while Justin Schenk and Eben Lamber were third ($140) with 11.12 pounds, topped by a 5.28-pound bass. They said they fished Waldron Lake with firetiger-colored blade baits.
Chase Fennell and Josh Bradenburger were fourth ($80) with 11.08 pounds.
The critter pot did not disappoint, either. Gary McClure and Eric Moore managed to get a 14.90-pound carp into the boat to pocket $95 and they admitted it was the only time they had earned money in a tournament.
Ten of the 19 teams brought fish to the scales, but more teams than that had fish but didn’t weigh them.
I want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Polar Bear Opens and we hope to see them and more teams next year. Check out the calend