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Clarence Mitchell Jr. on his 13.7-pound walleye win in 2018 Lake Erie Fall Brawl: ‘It was God’s work.’

December 3, 2018

Clarence Mitchell Jr. on his 13.7-pound walleye win in 2018 Lake Erie Fall Brawl: ‘It was God’s work.’

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Two years ago, Clarence Mitchell Jr. won fourth place in the Lake Erie Walleye Fall Brawl. This year, he won -- on his fourth fishing trip of the derby.

Mitchell, 63, of Sheffield Lake, was out with two buddies, Darrel Smith and Chris Johnson, on Smith’s charter fishing boat. They had been out for about three hours, trolling six lines off of Edgewater Park in Cleveland. They had caught a few good eating-size walleye as they experimented with lures and depths.

And then, Mitchell hooked a 13.7-pound tank, with a pink and purple Bandit lure.

“I knew when I got that pole and set the hook it was kind of heavy. I didn’t have no idea it was that big. But he was,” Mitchell said in a phone interview Monday. “He got my legs shaking.”

Mitchell has been fishing since he was 15, but started walleye fishing about eight years ago.

“I love it,” he said. “I love the thrill of it.”

When he reeled in the whopper walleye, the crew took off for land and rushed to Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake, the official weigh-in spot for the Brawl.

Mitchell’s 30.5-inch fish won the ninth annual Brawl, pending a lie detector test, said Brawl founder Frank Murphy. That means Mitchell wins a tricked-out, sparkly green, $100,000 Warrior boat. The second place fish was 12.09 pounds.

The brawl began 2010, with 50 guys who threw a couple bucks in a pot. Now the contest, which ran Oct. 19 through Sunday, has dozens of sponsors, events and a food drive. About 6,400 anglers signed up, from states as far as North Dakota and Colorado, paying $30 for chance at the boat and cash prizes.

This year, the contest is also awarding a boat, a 16-foot Hewescraft, with a trailer, rod holders and motor, to the winner of the kids division. Santiago Navarro won that division, with a 11.3-pound walleye.

He and Mitchell will be awarded their prizes at the awards banquet Friday.

“I call it God’s work, that’s the only way I can see it,” Mitchell said. “He had that fish to hit my line. But you can call it lucky.”

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