Fairview Township resident Chris Rhoades captained his team to first place and an $8,000 prize in this past weekend’s first Great Lakes Tackle Shop Summer Invitational on Lake Erie.
Rhoades’ Rock Bottom team weighed 30 fish — the maximum 15 each on both Aug. 24 and Aug. 25 — that weighed a combined 526.70 pounds, 9.2 pounds more than runner-up Mother Moose.
Rock Bottom cashed out not only with the first-prize money, but also with $1,500 for winning the Triple Fish Challenge, or weightiest combination of three fish from among the four species the tournament chased: steelhead, lake trout, walleye and brown trout. Rock Bottom’s entry of 31 pounds .94 ounces included 12-pound .16-ounce and 9-pound .74-ounce steelhead and a 10-pound .04-ounce lake trout. The lake trout was the only one caught by any team during the two-day event, and it and the largest steelhead won biggest of species honors for Rock Bottom at $25 each. The team’s total take: $9,580.
Bill Davis, a Union City resident, captained Mother Moose to a $5,000 haul. Third was captain Kyle Caldwell and Cops ‘n Bobbers, a team of retired and active Erie police officers who pocketed $3,500. Ontario’s Get It Wet, captained by Yvan Charrios, was fourth and wont $2,500. Fifth place, and $2,000, went to Wolfman and captain Ken Nulph.
All told the invitational attracted 18 teams and paid out more than $22,000. Four teams caught more than 500 pounds of fish and an additional 10 teams caught 438 pounds or more. Not a single brown trout was caught during the invitational.