2012 Elite Series Douglas Lake Challenge Douglas Lake - Dandridge, TN, May 3 - 6, 2012

2012 Douglas Lake Challenge Live Blog

Grumpy Old Men

12:14 pm EDT, May 6, 2012 |

James Overstreet  and I have always liked Britt Myers, but the dude is beginning to irritate us two grumpy old men. He stayed a grand total of 10 minutes in the place where he caught that 3 1/2-pounder. Ten minutes!

 

We might as well be giving Triton/Mercury test drives today, as much as we've been stopping and starting. I haven't even had time to eat my Spam on white bread sandwich (with a dollop of Miracle Whip).

 

And I had hoped to detail the "long-lining" crankbait technique that Myers, Jeremy Starks and several others are using this week.

 

So here goes: Oops, we're moving again. Stop No. 20 lasted only seven minutes.

Pays to be top 50

11:51 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

With his 41st place finish at Douglas Lake, Kevin VanDam just tied his own record with 16 consecutive top 50 (in the money) Elite finishes. KVD also accomplished the feat in 2008-10. In his Elite career, VanDam finishes in the money 93.33 percent of the time -- far more often than the next best angler. Gerald Swindle (33rd at Douglas) just notched his 11th consecutive top 50 finish, which is the best run of his career and one of the best in Elite history. On the other side of the coin, Florida's Matt Greenblatt finished 25th at Douglas, ending his drought of seven consecutive finishes outside the money. Now the longest dry spell belongs to Jami Fralick with six straight sub par performances. Fralick hasn't earned a check since last year's tournament on Lake Murray. The record for futility belongs to Dave Smith; from 2008 to 2011 he failed to finish in the top 50 in 24 consecutive tournaments.

Finally! No. 4 for Myers

11:51 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

On stop No. 19 today, we caught back up with Myers just in time to see him catch  his fourth bass of  the day, and it was a good one, somewhere in the range of 3 1/2 pounds. That should give him around 10 pounds for the day.

 

More importantly, it gives Myers a shot of confidence in his game plan.

Running on empty

11:37 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

We had to leave Mr. Run & Gun, Britt Myers, because, as James Overstreet just said, "He done run our a** out of gas."

 

But here's a recent sample of how much running Myers has been doing. He has stopped to fish 16 times so far this morning, and  we've seen his entire rotation more than once:

 

Stop #12 10:00 to 10:07
Stop #13 10:10 to 10:18
Stop #14 10:23 to 10:47
Stop #15 10:52 to 11:00
Stop #16 11:01 to 11:07

 

All which begs the question: Is Britt Myers keeping a lure in the water long enough to win this tournament?

Circus

10:55 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

We should have put some gas in the boat before following Britt Myers today. We're going to have to do that at some point, obviously.

 

When Myers left his 13th stop of the day, at 10:18 a.m., he was in sight of where Jeremy Starks has been set  up all week. Myers led his armada of observation boats past Starks' armada of observation points, then stopped and did a U-turn when Brandon Card was set up on the next place Myers wanted to fish.

 

So  Myers' armada sped past Starks' armada again, going toward Douglas Dam this time.

 

This took all of about five minutes and Myers is fishing again. He still has only three bass in the livewell. If I hadn't seen him doing this same run-and-gun method Saturday, when he had 18 pounds  in the boat, I'd swear  he was panicking.

 

But this has been his plan all week, and he's continuing to execute it. Saturday in a way was an aberration for him because he caught several fish in his first few spots. Today is going more like his other two days  of competition.

 

He's probably trying  to remind himself of that, with only six-pounds-plus in the boat after four hours of fishing.

Myers having a breakout year

10:51 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

It's great to see Britt Myers having such a strong year. He's been fishing the Elite Series since its inception, but his best AOY finish to date was 56th in 2007. This year, however, he's been on a roller coaster ride that's been more thrills than chills. He started the season at the St. Johns River by finishing dead last! Not only is that disappointing, but it's almost fatal to an angler's chances for getting a Classic berth under the new AOY scoring system ... or so I thought. Since that disaster at the St. Johns, Myers has been amazing. He was 16th at Okeechobee, second at Bull Shoals and is now on the verge of winning at Douglas. That's turning things around in a big way! A win here will be huge for him. Apart from the payday, the recognition and the AOY points, he'll earn a spot in his first Bassmaster Classic. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Myers manages to smile even when things aren't going so good, but right now they couldn't be much better.

 

 

Look at 2013 Classic anglers

10:12 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

The win-and-you're-in format for Classic qualifiers looks to play a big role this year. In 2011, only one Elite winner (Shaw Grigsby) wouldn't have also qualified through the AOY rankings (he was 48th and needed to be 36th or better). This year, we've already got two Elite winners who are Classic bound despite having mediocre to lousy seasons. Ish Monroe (Okeechobee winner) is currently 47th in the AOY race with plenty of time to move up, but Brandon Palaniuk (Bull Shoals winner) is 74th and would likely be missing the Classic completely if it weren't for his win last week.

Fall from grace

10:09 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

With his 88th-place finish at Douglas Lake, Brandon Palaniuk just notched the worst finish ever by an Elite angler following a win. In the 99-angler field, he was in the 11th percentile. The previous worst was Kotaro Kiriyama, who was 94th out of 106 anglers following his 2008 win on Lake Erie.

Does Starks have enough?

9:50 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

You've got to like Britt Myers's chances here. Not only does he have a big lead going into this last round, but 65 percent of Day 3 leaders in the Elite Series go on to win. His chances are probably more like 95 percent because Douglas simply doesn't produce many really big bass. So far, the biggest is Byron Velvick's 6-10 from Day 2. Without really big bass, it's tough to mount a comeback in a tournament like this. It's much easier to make a comeback in a slugfest like we've seen on Falcon, Clear, the California Delta or Okeechobee where a 30-pound catch is possible. Even though Jeremy Starks has said he thinks he can catch 25 pounds today, saying it and doing it when you need it are two very different things.

Myers is jacked up

9:13 am EDT, May 6, 2012 |

It's only 9 a.m. and  Britt Myers has stopped on his eighth spot of the day. He's looking at his electronics before making a cast or two, and if he catches nothing, he's gone.

 

At the previous stop, he didn't even make a cast.

 

If you watched the Kentucky Derby yesterday, you might have seen one of those incredible still photographs that show a galloping horse has all four hooves off the ground in full sprint. James Overstreet just captured a photo of Myers running to the front of his boat to drop the trolling motor, and both feet were off the boat deck.

 

Myers is just a bit jacked-up.

 

He still has three fish.

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