Castaway Club honors top anglers

Eckert, Hammer earn distinction of ‘Anglers of the Year’

BIG RAPIDS — It’s been quite a summer for area fishermen Aaron Eckert and Dustin Hammer.

They recently won the “Anglers of the Year” award from the Castaway Bass Fishing Club. Hammer also got honors for big bass during the season in the Big Rapids division at 4.29 pounds at Hardy Pond.

NICE CATCH: Dustin Hammer (left) and Aaron Eckert (right) were recently named this year’s Castaway Bass Fishing Club’s “Anglers of the Year.” (Courtesy photo)

NICE CATCH: Dustin Hammer (left) and Aaron Eckert (right) were recently named this year’s Castaway Bass Fishing Club’s “Anglers of the Year.” (Courtesy photo)

Eckert, a Morley resident, had fished with his dad last season and teamed with Hammer this year. He especially had success finishing in tournaments at Lake Mecosta and Hardy Pond. Those are also Hammer’s favorite lakes.

“Just get out there and put your line out,” Eckert said. “If that’s not working, try something else.”

Eckert, with his partner, caught 79 pounds worth of fish at tournament events, which is more than 20 pounds from last season’s haul.

“I like the competitiveness of it,” Eckert said. “It’s a group of guys that get together and just have fun.”

Eckert enjoys fishing for bass and walleyes.

“Better fishing is yet to come,” he said.

This is Hammer’s first year in the Castaway Club.

“We had a very good year,” he said. “Some days are better than the others, obviously. We make good decisions together. That’s the key about fishing together.”

Fishing strategies and what spots to try are among the key decisions on which Eckert and Hammer collaborate. They’ll also deliberate on which baits to use.

“It depends on the water temperature and everything,” Hammer said.

Not surprisingly, the duo is planning to fish together again next season.

“I fish four different tournaments,” Hammer said. “I fish West Michigan Bass, Split Shot Bass Club of Lakeview and Gold Star Outdoors.”

They are both looking forward to the fall fishing season.

“That won’t go away until trapping season,” Hammer said, adding that fall season “is awesome. Some of the biggest fish will be caught in September and October.”

Both fishermen have been impressed with the season so far.

“The (bluegills) are biting,” Hammer said. “It’s been a good year for me.”

Smallmouth bass and walleye will be Hammer’s main targets during the fall. He also enjoys ice fishing.

“I fish all over,” Hammer said.

Both men are avid hunters. When it comes to deer hunting, Eckert likes bow, rifle and muzzleloader hunting. His best buck has been a 10-pointer.

Hammer is an active deer and turkey hunter. He’s expecting good fall seasons for both.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of deer,” Hammer said. “They’re decent bucks.”

 

avatar

Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply