Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.—Oct. 1, 2016—Wisconsin’s Bob Ahrndt and Chad Kurowski rocketed out of the gate with a 27-pound, 3-ounce, 5-fish limit to grab the day one lead at the 2016 Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s World Bass Championship on Sturgeon Bay of Lake Michigan.
The two-day event presented by Cabela’s pits the Midwest’s top two-person bass fishing teams against one another in an all-out battle for ultimate bragging rights and thousands in cash and prizes, plus lucrative sponsor contingencies including Ranger Cup, Stratos 2X and Garmin Grand Giveaway bonuses.
Teams qualified by fishing Cabela’s NABC regular season events in Minnesota and Wisconsin this summer. Qualifiers are open to all bass anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation.
Undaunted by dire reports of transitional bass and a tough bite on the world-renowned smallmouth fishery, Ahrndt, of Peshtigo, and Kurowski, of New Franken, targeted a trio of hotspots where the wind had whipped the bay’s mythical bronzebacks into a feeding mood.
“The day did start out a little tough at first, but then we pulled up on a spot where the bass were schooled up, eating crayfish and shad,” says Ahrndt.
“We fished them awhile, caught a limit and moved on to our next spot,” he adds. “We fished three spots in all and left bass biting on all three, so hopefully they’re there again tomorrow and the wind doesn’t blow too hard so we can get to them.”
Not that they want the wind to totally lie down. “Wind is a good thing out here,” he explains. “The flatter the conditions, the tougher the bite. When the wind blows, the big ones come out to bite. We’ve had a steady north to northeast wind for five or six days now. If it stays somewhat like this, we should be able to catch our fish again.
That being said, Kurowski acknowledges that anything can happen on this historic and ever-challenging slice of Great Lakes paradise. “This is Sturgeon Bay,” he cautions. “You can catch them one day out here and zero the next.”
Fellow Wisconsinites and reigning Cabela’s NABC Team of the Year Ben Otto and Casey Gallagher are hot on the leaders’ heels. They sacked a monstrous 25-15 limit of their own and feel good about their odds going into the second round of the title showdown.
“Today was better than expected,” says Otto, who, like Gallagher, hails from Pulaski. “We caught fish early and all throughout the day.”
Fueling their confidence, the action was widespread. “We caught a few bass just about everywhere we went,” he continues. “We ran into a pretty good school at one point and left them biting, so hopefully we can get them again tomorrow.”
In all, Sturgeon Bay was more generous than many anglers expected after enduring a tough practice period earlier in the week. Six teams broke the 20-pound barrier and it took 14 pounds to crack the top 10. More than half the field boxed a limit and only one squad blanked.
Big bass of the day was a 5-pound, 13-ounce beauty boated by 2012 Cabela’s NABC Team of the Year Will Pappa and Austin Felix of Minnesota.
Rounding out the top five are:
3. Scott Bonnema and Bob Spriegl, 20-13
4. George Liddle, Jr. and Janet Parker, 20-03
5. Dennis Fiedler and Duane Anderson, 20-01
5. Adam Rasmussen and Ben Antoniewicz, 20-01
For full results CLICK HERE.
“We had a tough week so we’re pleasantly surprised,” Fiedler said while waiting his turn in the NABC bump line. “If our pattern holds up tomorrow should be another good day.”
The action continues tomorrow out of scenic Wave Pointe Resort and Marina near the city of Sturgeon Bay. Bass fans are invited to come out and cheer their favorite teams on at the 8 a.m. launch, then come back for the 4 p.m. weigh-in to see who claims the coveted championship crown.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is concluding its sixth season as title sponsor of the NABC. Other sponsors include: Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats, Mercury Marine, Garmin, MotorGuide, G-Juice and T-H Marine.
The Cabela’s NABC is based in Ponca City, Oklahoma. For more information, visit northamericanbasscircuit.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (580) 765-9031.