Fishing

Duracz and Coleman repeat as Hoosier Pro champs

2012-10-22T22:00:00Z Duracz and Coleman repeat as Hoosier Pro champsJohn Burbridge john.burbridge@nwi.com, (219) 933-3371 nwitimes.com

Two heads are better than one.

When Phil Duracz and Steven Coleman put their heads together, the fish don't have much of a chance.

"We're very methodical in our approach," Coleman said. "We like to explore different options and not get into the pattern of doing what everyone else is doing.

"Often, I'll try one strategy while Phil tries another. From that, we'll usually get an idea what strategy works that day, or even mix them up and come up with something else."

For the second-straight season, Duracz, 29, of Chesterton, and Coleman, 23, of Whiting, emerged as "Anglers of the Year" after winning another Hoosier Pro Tournament Team title.

"It's knowing how to be at the right place at the right time," Coleman said. "It comes from experience and seeing certain things that happen every spring, summer, fall and winter."

The tournament circuit spans three of the seasons excluding winter. The first of seven events was held April 29 along the Tippecanoe River, where Duracz and Coleman took second.

At the next event on Lake Maxinkuckee, the pair placed first.

"We were in good shape after two events, but then we tailed off here (sixth at Lake Manitou) and here (fifth at Lake Wawasee)," Coleman said.

Duracz and Coleman were able to rebound in the final two events of the circuit, which included the Hoosier Pro Team Tournament Classic, Sept. 23, held along the "Six Span Bridge Launch" of the St. Joseph River. The pair's second-place showing at the season-finale classic clinched the repeat.

At all seven tournament events, teams had eight hours to catch as many as five measurement-qualified bass, which were weighed and released.

The team has been together for less than three years.

"We met through mutual friends," said Duracz, who Coleman credits for taking him under his wing. "(Coleman) has gained a lot more confidence in himself as a fisherman since I've known him, and I have confidence in him as a teammate ... as much as I do with myself."

Duracz has had success at other tournaments, including the Angler's Choice Tournament, and was named to "The Bass Federation" Indiana Team in 2010.

But he doesn't just fish for bass.

"I like catching all types of fish, as long as they're big," Duracz said. "That's what people always say about me ... 'He doesn't care what he catches, only if it's big'."

Of all the places he has fished -- including Alaska -- Coleman prefers catching trophy-sized walleye in his own backyard.

"People don't give Wolf Lake a lot of respect," Coleman said of the body of water that submerges part of the Hammond-Chicago border, "but there are a lot of big fish in that lake. Maybe I should just keep that a secret."

One secret Duracz and Coleman were willing to reveal is how they target fish that tend to congregate under docked pontoon boats.

"Whenever we're having a tough day, we can always count on success from there," Duracz said. "For fish, it's a great place to strike because the shadow from the boat overhead hides them so effectively."

You still have to cast a well-placed lure, which often means threading a needle between the boat's motor and one of it's pontoons.

"You've got to be able to cast accurately, especially when you don't use live bait," Coleman said. "We're always challenging ourselves to improve our casting. Like when you see a can floating in the water away from your boat, it's just natural to try to hit it."

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