Bassmaster Open Co-Angler Champion Eric Stecker

Eric Stecker has done something many people dream of but never accomplish. Eric won the 2016 Bassmaster Open Co-Angler Championship on Lake Champlain. We discuss his win as well as his Pennsylvania fishing.

Lets start with your 2016 co-angler Bassmaster Open win on Lake Champlain. What did it take for you to win that event?

I just kept casting in every direction with a lure that I was confident in. That lure was a jig in green pumpkin with a Crazy Legs Chigger Craw everyday. I used 1/2 oz and 1 oz jigs on all 3 days trying to contact with the bottom and just fished as good as I could.

In general as a co-angler, you are a bit at the mercy of your boater. What do you consider your biggest keys to success as a co-angler?

I call the boater the night before and ask how we would be fishing the next day. I then prepare for the next day so I can fish efficiently. And I just keep casting.

What other Bassmaster pros have you had a chance to fish?

On Lake Champlain, day one I had Brian Bylotas. Day two I had mark hicks. And day three I had Bryan Schmitt. I have also fished with Alven Shaw in another tourney. From the pros, I learned a lot about fish finders as well as different techniques on how to rig lures.

How do you like your prize of a Nitro Z18?

I really like my 2017 Nitro. It runs great and starts up everytime. My whole family loves it. Great for skiing and pulling tubes not just awesome for fishing.

Eric Stecker with a Guntersville Largemouth BassI know you fished Lake Guntersville last fall and fished the infamous bridge that Randy Howell won the Bassmaster Classic off of. You said you spent a week learning how to jig fish there. What did you learn by fishing the jig on Guntersville?

I learned to get on the bottom with a 1 oz jig and bounce it off the bottom and bounce it off rocks or any other structure I can find. Because the bigger bass are on the bottom, I catch bigger bass when using a big jig in deep water. I keep it looking natural as possible and also being as quiet as possible

Lets come back closer to home. What are your favorite Pennsylvania waters to fish?

I really only fish one it’s. Called Nocamixon Lake. It’s in southeast Pennsylvania. It’s the hardest lake I’ve ever fished. It is a great lake to practice on. Hard place to fish but if you can catch them there you can do well fishing just about anywhere.

What are your favorite baits and presentations when back home in Pennsylvania? 

If I’m not using a jig, I’m using a 10 inch Motor oil red fleck Power worm Texas rigged with a 1/2 oz tungsten bullet weight. Always works well for me everywhere. Black grape works good sometimes. I will also use jerkbaits

Last question for you returning to tournament fishing. You can fish any one body of water in the U.S. with any one pro boater. What body of water are you picking and who are you picking as a boater?

I would definitely fish Lake Champlain. You can catch huge largemouth and huge smallmouth bass in the same area. And I would really like to fish with Iaconelli just because he’s crazy like me. He lives like an hour away from me, and his garage looks like mine!

Make sure to check out Eric’s fishing on Instagram @EricStecker. Thank you Eric!

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