- Mike Suchan, Outdoors
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When asked which U.S. region has the best overall fishing, Jerry McKinnis leaned back in his chair and thought.
"Such an interesting question," the longtime host of "The Fishin' Hole" said.
After thinking about it a bit, the man who has made fishing of all kinds his business for more than 40 years, had an answer. With his dachsund Archie sitting in his lap, face hanging over crossed legs, McKinnis said:
"I would have to say Northeast."
That's not what readers who voted on ESPNOutdoors.com's Who's Got Game? poll said. We asked which region has the best overall fishing, and the Southeast received a big nod. Of the 802 votes, 45 percent, or 361 votes, went to the Southeast. Second was the Midwest (22 percent, 176 votes), the Northeast (15, 120), the West (10, 80) and the Southwest (7, 56).
McKinnis explains his reasoning.
"If you went to the Northeast, all the major species would be plentiful," he said. "All the major fish would be represented in the Northeast."
McKinnis continued, motioning as if the map of the U.S. was laid out in front of him. He moved his open hand to the left, toward the upper Midwest. Toward the Great Lakes.
"All the way across is (excellent fishing). The Great Lakes, there's no comparison. You don't have any fisheries that can compare to the Great Lakes. You can go up there and catch as many as you can get in the boat.
"There's specific outstanding lakes and spots in each of the regions, but the Northeast is hard to beat."
As pointed out by both three-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam and BASS tournament director Trip Weldon in the overall bass Who's Got Game? story, the north might not let you enjoy a day on the boat in the winter, but it's a heck of a lot more comfortable fishing in the summer up north.
"There's days down here you can hardly stand to go out," said McKinnis, who is based in steamy Arkansas. "It's not as bad on Lake Erie as it is on Sam Rayburn (Texas) in August. That would almost offset their winters."
The reason the voting is skewed somewhat is because of the great numbers of southern anglers, our experts have said. That said, we here at ESPNOutdoors.com wonder if people in some states even own computers.
C'mon, defend your region. Heck, vote for a region you really think has the best game. Then tell us why. You can via the ESPN Conversation feature at the bottom of each page. We'd really like to hear from you.
The fishing polls are complete and the Southeast did run away it with 318 points, almost double that of second-place Midwest. The Southwest, which includes Texas, is last.
Yes, them's fighting words. The Lone Star State should have its chance to help the Southwest gain some ground as the hunting questions are on tap, starting with which region has the best deer hunting.
Git to it!
Overall fishing results:
Northeast 15 percent (120 votes) = 15 points
Midwest 22 percent (176 votes) = 22 points
Southeast45 percent (361 votes) = 45 points
West 10 percent (80 votes) = 10 points
Southwest 7 percent (56 votes) = 4 points
Northeast 147 points
Midwest 163 points
Southeast 318 points
West 94 points
Southwest 71 points
McKinnis disagrees, says to head north to experience best in U.S.