Sturgeon Bay bass tournament delayed due to wind

Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament truck, May 19, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

DOOR COUNTY (WLUK) -- It was a rough day to be out on the waters of Green Bay.

Weather conditions in Door County caused a popular two-day fishing tournament to be temporarily postponed.

The 27th annual Stugeon Bay Open Bass Tournament scheduled for Friday and Saturday has been delayed until Saturday and Sunday.

White-capped waves, and a determined wind combined to keep the fishermen off the waters of Green Bay near Little Sturgeon Bay, Friday morning.

"We went out there this morning, around 5:00, just as the sun was coming up, to kind of check the conditions. There were waves, anywhere from two to six feet. There are some really big swells. So, just for the safety of the tournament participants, we really want to keep those guys off the water, so no one gets hurt," said JJ Malvitz, Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament President.

One hundred thirty teams from around the Midwest and Canada will compete in the catch-and-release tournament.

"Over the past decade, our tournament has really shown, and showcased the great fishing up here," said Malvitz.

Malvitz says angler surveys reveal the tournament brings in big bucks.

"Just leading up to the tournament, that there's an influx of over $400,000 into the local economy here in Door County," he said.

And that impact is being felt around the area, at hotels, restaurants, and places like Stevenson Pier Sport and Gift in Little Sturgeon Bay.

"Over the past two years, it's been at least a 10 percent increase," said Roger Cherney, Stevenson Pier Sport and Gift Shop Owner.

Cherney says he stocked up on fishing supplies, and more.

"We're busy. Our deli, completely way up. Completely way up. People got to eat sandwiches, and we make them here," he said.

"I'm usually up here for like four or five days," said Eric Haataja, Milwaukee.

It is Haataja's second time fishing the tournament. He says he can't wait to get back on the water.

"Sturgeon Bay, Green Bay has one of the few tournaments that has like eight-plus pound smallmouth weighed in every year. And this is like the Super Bowl of smallmouth," he said.

Weather permitting, fishing boats are scheduled to take to the water beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.

There will also be a "Kid's Day" event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring games, prizes and crafts.

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