By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor


Former FLW Tour pro Scott Dobson got away from top-level fishing several years ago in order to spend more time with his young son. Much of that bonding time has been spent on the water, and some of those excursions have been quite profitable for Scott Jr., who's now 10.

"We fish team tournaments and I pay the entry fee, but then he insists on keeping all the money we win," Dobson said. "Hey, if it keeps him interested, I've got no problem with it."

The senior Dobson recouped all of the loot he's let his son pocket Ė and then some Ė when he won last week's 1000 Islands Northern FLW Series out of Clayton, N.Y. The haul for the biggest victory of the 43-year-old's career was in excess of $82,000.

"I'd knocked on the door quite a few times at this level and on the Tour, but I wasn't able to close the deal," said Dobson, who's served as the VP of operations for a cable contracting company for the past 17 years. "I wouldn't say this was easy, but I made the right decisions and things came together.

"When I finally held up that trophy, that's when I felt like it was over."

It was a tournament he almost didn't attend due to mechanical issues he incurred en route to an 8th-place finish in a BFL on his home waters (Lake St. Clair) just a few days earlier. He ended up borrowing the big-water friendly Ranger 620FS owned by his travel partner, Brian Doyle, and some of the boat's features paid dividends against the powerful winds that the 137-angler field encountered during the event.

It'd Been A While

The 1000 Islands are about an 8-hour drive from Dobson's home in Clarkston, Mich. He'd competed in triple-A derbies there twice before, but his most recent visit was more than a decade ago.

In 2001, he caught 18-pound stringers on each of the first 2 days to lead at the midway point (the tournaments were 4 days back then), but managed just a single 2 3/4-pounder on day 3 and plummeted out of the second cut. That derby took place during the same calendar week as this year's event.

"I was a much younger person then and not as smart," he said. "I ran out to the area I'd been fishing, which was just outside (the St. Lawrence River on Lake Ontario), and it'd gotten completely blown out by the east wind.

"The water temperature had dropped 10 degrees and the fish just vanished overnight. I went from hero to zero real fast."

He put in 2 1/2 days of practice for this year's event. He initially launched into the lake at Henderson Bay, but couldn't accomplish anything due to the fierce wind.

He relocated to the river and quickly found a scenario to his liking.

"We got behind an island that was somewhat protected and it reminded me a lot of the St. Clair flats," he said. "Twenty minutes after I shut down I started seeing stuff that I like to do on St. Clair.

"It seems strange to say it was basically a shallow pattern because it worked from 4 or 5 feet (of water) all the way out to 20 feet. It was somewhat flat-related, or maybe the first break off the flat. The big key was you had to get away from the mossy bottom, which is a pretty well-known deal."

He focused on places where the substrate was sand or gravelly rock. Many of the places featured sand grass, which only grows to a few inches off the bottom.

He assumed that the fish he caught were post-spawners that were hanging out and feeding up on the clean-bottom areas. His locales were oriented at least somewhat toward the west, where some sort of current was a constant presence.

He estimated that he looked at 80 percent of the fish he caught before making his first cast to them. A dropshot rig enticed the majority of the fish he caught during the event, including the biggest ones, but he also employed a tube, a Ned rig and a Duo Realis Spinbait 90.

Phenomenal Start

Dobson's 24-09 stringer on day 1 was the biggest of the event and it was anchored by a bronzeback that was just an ounce shy of 6 pounds. That was his first fish of the day, and it came from a river location.

"That one blew my mind," he said. "I saw some other fish there, but they weren't biting. After that I ran out to an island in the lake and finished my limit and culled a couple of times. It was rough out there and I wanted to go back and take another look in the river, and on my first cast in there I caught another 5 1/2."

He fished that place for awhile longer without success, then relocated to a flat.

"They were everywhere in there and I made two more big culls. When I looked in my livewell, I knew I had what was pretty much a super-sack and it was time to head back to the ramp."

He boosted his lead from 1 1/2 pounds to 5 on day 2 with a 22-03 bag. The lake was put off-limits that day due to the violent wind and he assumed his river stuff would get crowded, but that didn't transpire.

"I was really kind of paranoid about it, but I didn't have any company. A couple of people came in and out, but that was it."

The lake was back in play for day 3, but Dobson quickly dismissed any notions he might've had about fishing it.

"With a lead like I had, it didn't make sense to run 18 miles out into the lake to an island when I could catch 20 pounds in the river, 15 miles from the boat ramp."

His final-day haul was almost 2 pounds better than that and he outdistanced runner-up Chris Johnston by more than 7 pounds.

Winning Gear Notes

> Dropshot gear: 7'4" medium-light Dobyns Champion Extreme (for short casts) or 7' medium-light Dobyns Champion (longer casts) rod, Shimano Stradic CI4+ spinning reel, 10-pound Sunline FX2 braided line (main line), 8-pound Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon (8' leader), 1/4-, 3/8- or 1/2-ounce Provider Tackle cylindrical dropshot weights, No. 1 or 1/0 Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot hook, various Berkley soft-plastics (Gulp! Fry, PowerBait Minnow or PowerBait Pro Twitchtail Minnow in green-pumpkin, watermelon pearl or shad pearl).

> He used the same rod, reel and line set-up with the tube and Ned rig, both attached to Provider Tackle jigheads (1/4-, 3/8- or 1/2 ounce, depending on wind). The tube was a 4" Provider Tackle Performance Series model in a color that company owner Art Ferguson, himself a former FLW Tour pro, calls Mardi Gras.

> The Ranger 625 that he used was equipped with a Minn Kota Ulterra trolling motor, and the Spot-Lock feature was a huge advantage for him. "It allowed me to keep both feet on the deck in that rough water and gave me the freedom to walk around the boat without worrying about the trolling motor."

Notable

> Dobson hopes to return to the Tour level when Scott Jr. gets a bit older. "That's definitely not out of sight," he said. "There'll come a point in time when it's back on the radar."



Final Standings

1. Scott Dobson -- Clarkston, Mi -- 24-9 (5) -- 22-3 (5) -- 21-12 (5) -- 68-8 (15) -- $82,899

2. Chris Johnston -- Peterborough, On -- 20-13 (5) -- 20-7 (5) -- 20-0 (5) -- 61-4 (15) -- $14,609

3. Cal Climpson -- Sharon, On -- 23-1 (5) -- 18-11 (5) -- 16-12 (5) -- 58-8 (15) -- $11,684

4. Cory Johnston -- Cavan, On -- 19-12 (5) -- 18-1 (5) -- 20-9 (5) -- 58-6 (15) -- $9,425

5. Bob Izumi -- Milton, On -- 19-8 (5) -- 17-13 (5) -- 17-6 (5) -- 54-11 (15) -- $8,482

6. Dennis Carnahan -- Cazenovia, NY -- 17-9 (5) -- 17-4 (5) -- 18-6 (5) -- 53-3 (15) -- $7,540

7. Andrew Slegona -- Walker Valley, NY -- 18-1 (5) -- 19-10 (5) -- 11-1 (5) -- 48-12 (15) -- $6,597

8. John Vanore -- Mullica Hill, NJ -- 15-2 (5) -- 19-8 (5) -- 10-12 (5) -- 45-6 (15) -- $5,655

9. Joel Richardson -- Kernersville, NC -- 16-8 (5) -- 17-15 (5) -- 7-13 (3) -- 42-4 (13) -- $4,712

10. Neil Farlow -- Niagara Falls, On -- 13-0 (5) -- 21-2 (5) -- 5-7 (4) -- 39-9 (14) -- $3,770

The following anglers did not make the cut and did not fish on day 3.

11. Nick Cousvis -- Whitby, On -- 17-7 (5) -- 16-6 (5) -- 33-13 (10) -- $3,534

12. Chris O`Brien -- Rochester, NY -- 22-0 (5) -- 11-12 (4) -- 33-12 (9) -- $3,299

13. Ken Golub -- Pittsford, NY -- 16-8 (5) -- 17-0 (5) -- 33-8 (10) -- $2,827

14. Mike Desforges -- Burlington, On -- 15-7 (5) -- 17-14 (5) -- 33-5 (10) -- $2,827

15. Jason Putman -- Cicero, NY -- 20-5 (5) -- 12-12 (5) -- 33-1 (10) -- $2,827

16. Bob Whitgreave -- Manning, SC -- 16-11 (5) -- 15-14 (5) -- 32-9 (10) -- $2,827

17. Jim Tutt -- Longview, Tx -- 17-10 (5) -- 14-12 (5) -- 32-6 (10) -- $2,827

18. Grae Buck -- Harleysville, Pa -- 14-5 (5) -- 17-10 (5) -- 31-15 (10) -- $2,827

19. Shane Hatch -- Owls Head, Me -- 13-13 (5) -- 18-0 (5) -- 31-13 (10) -- $3,101

20. Thomas Lavictoire Jr. -- West Rutland, Vt -- 18-2 (5) -- 12-12 (5) -- 30-14 (10) -- $2,827

21. Tom Belinda -- Holidaysburg, Pa -- 14-15 (5) -- 15-15 (5) -- 30-14 (10) -- $2,592

22. Michael Maloney -- Painesville, Oh -- 14-5 (5) -- 15-14 (5) -- 30-3 (10) -- $2,592

23. Kirk Sullivan -- Minden, On -- 18-13 (5) -- 11-5 (5) -- 30-2 (10) -- $2,592

24. Richard Dunham -- Freedom, Pa -- 15-15 (5) -- 13-4 (5) -- 29-3 (10) -- $2,592

25. Rick Taylor -- West Olive, Mi -- 13-11 (5) -- 15-7 (5) -- 29-2 (10) -- $2,592

26. Troy Garrison -- Topsham, Me -- 13-11 (5) -- 14-15 (5) -- 28-10 (10) -- $2,356

27. Ron Nelson -- Berrien Springs, Mi -- 18-7 (5) -- 10-1 (5) -- 28-8 (10) -- $2,356

28. Jeff Coble -- Manson, NC -- 15-5 (5) -- 13-0 (5) -- 28-5 (10) -- $2,356

29. Bill Chapman -- Salt Rock, WV -- 14-8 (5) -- 13-10 (5) -- 28-2 (10) -- $2,356

30. Jim Vitaro -- Wooster, Oh -- 12-1 (5) -- 15-12 (5) -- 27-13 (10) -- $2,356

31. Curtis Richardson -- Belleville, On -- 14-13 (4) -- 13-0 (5) -- 27-13 (9) -- $1,885

32. Dale Gorrell -- Hatfield, Pa -- 11-14 (5) -- 15-13 (5) -- 27-11 (10) -- $1,885

33. Casey Smith -- Macedon, NY -- 16-9 (5) -- 10-11 (5) -- 27-4 (10) -- $1,885

34. Tim Wilson -- Gas City, In -- 13-10 (5) -- 13-8 (5) -- 27-2 (10) -- $1,885

35. Richard Law III -- Bergholz, Oh -- 13-2 (5) -- 13-11 (5) -- 26-13 (10) -- $1,885

36. Moo Bae -- West Friendship, Md -- 15-4 (5) -- 11-7 (5) -- 26-11 (10) -- $1,885

37. Chris Novack -- Mansfield, Ct -- 12-2 (5) -- 14-2 (5) -- 26-4 (10) -- $1,885

38. Chris Baumgardner -- Gastonia, NC -- 14-3 (5) -- 12-0 (5) -- 26-3 (10)

39. Chris Panetta -- West Simsbury, Ct -- 11-13 (5) -- 14-3 (5) -- 26-0 (10)

40. Tim Reneau -- Del Rio, Tx -- 12-10 (5) -- 13-5 (5) -- 25-15 (10)

41. Chris Blanc -- Riverside, Ct -- 18-5 (5) -- 7-9 (3) -- 25-14 (8)

42. Tom Tarasoff -- Kingston, On -- 16-2 (5) -- 9-9 (5) -- 25-11 (10)

43. Matt Greenblatt -- Port St Lucie, Fl -- 15-8 (5) -- 10-1 (5) -- 25-9 (10)

44. Ed Casey -- Whiteford, Md -- 12-0 (5) -- 13-6 (5) -- 25-6 (10)

45. Daniel Murphy -- Wharton, NJ -- 10-2 (5) -- 14-10 (5) -- 24-12 (10)

46. Jonathan Robla -- Norwood, NY -- 17-14 (5) -- 6-11 (3) -- 24-9 (8)

47. Andrew Buss -- North Liberty, In -- 10-8 (5) -- 13-1 (5) -- 23-9 (10)

48. Kyle Weisenburger -- Ottawa, Oh -- 9-15 (4) -- 13-8 (5) -- 23-7 (9)

49. Chuck Bellerby III -- Croydon, Pa -- 11-4 (5) -- 12-1 (5) -- 23-5 (10)

50. Michael Crocker -- Pasadena, Md -- 13-14 (5) -- 9-6 (5) -- 23-4 (10)

51. David Barnes Sr -- China, Me -- 12-10 (5) -- 10-10 (4) -- 23-4 (9)

52. Michael Wolfenden -- Warwick, Ri -- 9-14 (5) -- 13-5 (5) -- 23-3 (10)

53. Brian Bylotas -- Scott Township, Pa -- 4-11 (1) -- 18-6 (5) -- 23-1 (6)

54. Jason Shipton -- Muncy, Pa -- 13-10 (5) -- 9-0 (5) -- 22-10 (10)

55. Corey Radomski -- Ocala, Fl -- 13-2 (5) -- 9-8 (5) -- 22-10 (10)

56. Zac Zernec -- Ortonville, Mi -- 16-2 (5) -- 6-7 (5) -- 22-9 (10)

57. Devon Banks -- Lake Orion, Mi -- 12-6 (5) -- 10-0 (3) -- 22-6 (8)

58. Michael Abernathy -- Coventry, Ri -- 12-3 (5) -- 10-1 (5) -- 22-4 (10)

59. David Cioppa -- Hopkinton, Ma -- 9-12 (5) -- 12-7 (5) -- 22-3 (10)

60. Steven Stinson -- Pickering, On -- 13-3 (5) -- 8-11 (4) -- 21-14 (9)

61. Hugh Crumpler III -- Palm Bay, Fl -- 16-7 (5) -- 5-5 (3) -- 21-12 (8)

62. Jeff Lobaugh -- Emory, Tx -- 11-15 (5) -- 8-15 (5) -- 20-14 (10)

63. Joseph Wood -- Westport, Ma -- 10-12 (5) -- 10-0 (5) -- 20-12 (10)

64. Kirk McMullen -- Greensburg, Pa -- 13-10 (5) -- 6-15 (4) -- 20-9 (9)

65. Dale Prinkey -- Warren, Oh -- 11-13 (5) -- 8-11 (5) -- 20-8 (10)

66. Jeff Fitts -- Keystone Heights, Fl -- 9-13 (5) -- 10-8 (5) -- 20-5 (10)

67. John Dial -- Winter Haven, Fl -- 6-13 (2) -- 12-15 (5) -- 19-12 (7)

68. Jess Caraballo -- Danbury, Ct -- 8-1 (2) -- 11-11 (5) -- 19-12 (7)

69. Chris Flint -- Potsdam, NY -- 11-0 (5) -- 8-11 (4) -- 19-11 (9)

70. Omari Navies -- Fort Washington, Md -- 9-1 (4) -- 10-8 (4) -- 19-9 (8)

71. Jason Kervin -- Auburn, Me -- 10-5 (4) -- 9-1 (5) -- 19-6 (9)

72. Johnny Nguyen -- Tucson, Az -- 1-2 (1) -- 17-14 (5) -- 19-0 (6)

73. James Mignanelli -- Harmony, Pa -- 9-4 (4) -- 9-10 (5) -- 18-14 (9)

74. Robert Brennan -- Forked River, NJ -- 6-5 (3) -- 12-8 (5) -- 18-13 (8)

75. Rick Chenoweth -- Fredericksburg, Va -- 12-14 (5) -- 5-13 (4) -- 18-11 (9)

76. Michael Ertel -- Manahawkin, NJ -- 9-7 (3) -- 8-12 (3) -- 18-3 (6)

77. Michael Hall -- Annandale, Va -- 5-4 (2) -- 12-14 (5) -- 18-2 (7)

78. Bradley Staley -- Pleasant Garden, NC -- 6-9 (4) -- 11-9 (5) -- 18-2 (9)

79. Joseph Fonzi -- Gasport, NY -- 10-2 (5) -- 8-0 (2) -- 18-2 (7)

80. Wil Dieffenbauch -- Morgantown, WV -- 6-0 (2) -- 12-0 (5) -- 18-0 (7)

81. James Dixon -- Southfield, Mi -- 17-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-7 (5)

82. Matthew Kiefer -- Decatur, In -- 14-5 (5) -- 2-14 (1) -- 17-3 (6)

83. Steve Lucarelli -- Meredith, Nh -- 7-10 (2) -- 9-8 (5) -- 17-2 (7)

84. Trent Pardue -- Troy, NC -- 9-5 (5) -- 7-12 (5) -- 17-1 (10)

85. Paul Mazzitelli -- West Wyoming, Pa -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-13 (5) -- 16-13 (5)

86. Merle Wells Jr -- Hammond, NY -- 7-11 (3) -- 9-2 (4) -- 16-13 (7)

87. Mike McDonald -- Randleman, NC -- 10-5 (5) -- 6-6 (3) -- 16-11 (8)

88. Dan Mittlestat -- Woodhaven, Mi -- 6-11 (2) -- 10-0 (5) -- 16-11 (7)

89. John Trask -- Jay, Me -- 8-9 (5) -- 8-2 (5) -- 16-11 (10)

90. Nick Radtke -- Greenwood Lake, NY -- 9-8 (5) -- 7-2 (3) -- 16-10 (8)

91. John Wright -- Concord, Nh -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-3 (5) -- 16-3 (5)

92. Troy Morrow -- Eastanollee, Ga -- 15-12 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-12 (5)

93. Joe Lineberry -- Selwyn, On -- 15-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-11 (5)

94. Matthew Clary -- Massena, NY -- 13-2 (5) -- 2-2 (1) -- 15-4 (6)

95. Josh Milligan -- Edenton, NC -- 9-12 (5) -- 5-7 (3) -- 15-3 (8)

96. Jared Dial -- Winter Haven, Fl -- 5-11 (4) -- 9-3 (4) -- 14-14 (8)

97. Scott Cooke -- Marengo, Oh -- 3-13 (3) -- 10-11 (4) -- 14-8 (7)

98. Duke Nave -- Norristown, Pa -- 4-7 (2) -- 9-10 (5) -- 14-1 (7)

99. Frank Guarascio -- Marcy, NY -- 2-10 (1) -- 11-2 (5) -- 13-12 (6)

100. Jamey Caldwell -- Carthage, NC -- 8-12 (3) -- 4-5 (1) -- 13-1 (4)

101. Jack Minnig -- Levittown, Pa -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-0 (5) -- 13-0 (5)

102. Matthew Pain -- Scottsboro, Al -- 5-15 (4) -- 6-11 (4) -- 12-10 (8)

103. James Ciferni -- Hammond, NY -- 9-4 (3) -- 3-5 (2) -- 12-9 (5)

104. Joe Lucarelli -- Center Harbor, Nh -- 12-6 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-6 (4)

105. Joe Trinko -- Southern Pines, NC -- 3-11 (2) -- 8-9 (5) -- 12-4 (7)

106. Ronald Martinez Jr. -- Valley View, Oh -- 6-1 (4) -- 5-15 (2) -- 12-0 (6)

107. Noah Pisaturo -- Rochester, NY -- 11-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-15 (5)

108. Paul Kimball -- Glastonbury, Ct -- 4-7 (4) -- 7-7 (2) -- 11-14 (6)

109. Andrew Dauberman -- Mifflinburg, Pa -- 3-5 (2) -- 8-0 (4) -- 11-5 (6)

110. Christopher Grenier -- Clarksburg, WV -- 7-2 (4) -- 4-2 (3) -- 11-4 (7)

111. Larry Kempler -- Bluemont, Va -- 3-1 (1) -- 7-14 (4) -- 10-15 (5)

112. Michael Birr -- Franklinton, NC -- 6-3 (2) -- 4-12 (2) -- 10-15 (4)

113. Garry Woodruff -- Candia, Nh -- 2-2 (1) -- 8-7 (3) -- 10-9 (4)

114. Harold Marietta -- Hunker, Pa -- 9-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-13 (5)

115. Brandon Stapleton -- Temperanceville, Va -- 2-1 (1) -- 7-12 (5) -- 9-13 (6)

116. Lucas McDaniel -- Fishers, In -- 9-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-8 (5)

117. Michael Egan -- Lake Wales, Fl -- 7-3 (4) -- 1-8 (1) -- 8-11 (5)

118. Burley Warf -- Moneta, Va -- 2-0 (1) -- 6-8 (3) -- 8-8 (4)

119. Nathan Knapp -- Brooktondale, NY -- 8-7 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-7 (4)

120. Matt Stasiak -- Pittsburgh, Pa -- 4-15 (2) -- 2-12 (1) -- 7-11 (3)

121. Ryan Smith -- Galloway, NJ -- 5-10 (3) -- 1-8 (1) -- 7-2 (4)

122. Alex Peric -- Wheeling, Il -- 6-6 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-6 (4)

123. Jeffrey Ware -- Warrenton, Va -- 6-4 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-4 (3)

124. Dan Morrow -- Eastanollee, Ga -- 5-2 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-2 (4)

125. John Hansen -- Street, Md -- 1-13 (1) -- 3-0 (2) -- 4-13 (3)

126. Jack Gifford -- East Woodstock, Ct -- 3-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-14 (1)

127. Frank Guerra -- Lenhartsville, Pa -- 2-4 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-4 (1)

128. Adam Singer -- Brookfield, Ct -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Glenn Babineau -- Mechanicville, NY -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Kyle Hoffman -- Harpers Ferry, WV -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Jeff Hippert -- Hamburg, NY -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Sean Caswell -- Highland, NY -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Ryan Powroznik -- Prince George, Va -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Ernie Freeman -- Broad Run, Va -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Ryan Ingalls -- Fairfax, Va -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Steven Hatala -- St. Clair Shores, Mi -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

128. Aaron Stone -- Rome, NY -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Big Bass

> Day 1: Cal Climpson -- 6-04 -- $274
> Day 2: Shane Hatch -- 5-15 -- $274