Last night at dinner Bobby Lane was counting a wad of cash and wearing a big smile. When asked what was up, he told us he and brother Chris Lane had a bet going on who would finish the year higher in Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. The loser had to pay the winner $100.
Both brothers have had a terrific year. And both will be headed to the 2013 Classic. But based on the strength of his higher finish at Oneida Lake, Bobby completes the season at number 12 in AOY, with Chris wrapping it up at number 14. Prior to Oneida, Chris was 14 and Bobby was 15. Bobby moved ahead by finishing in 21st place at the Oneida Championship with Chris finishing 42nd.
This is the second bet we know about between the Lane brothers this season. Though I wouldn't doubt they've had many more. Back at the Classic they had a bet along these lines-- if one of them won the Classic, he had to pay the Elite Series entry fee for the other brother. You may recall that Chris won the Classic and the $500,000 check that goes along with it. And Bobby got his $43,000 entry fee paid for by his brother.
August 26, 2012
Six anglers may limit every day they competed in the Elite Series this season. That would double the number of times it's been done since the Elite Series started in 2006. Two of these anglers are "in the clubhouse" and have already accomplished the feat: Shaw Grigsby and Gerald Swindle. Four others are still on the water. Two of them have limits, according to BASSTrakk: Brent Chapman and Scott Rook. Two others appear to be short of their limits: Randy Howell and Terry Scroggins.
Limiting every day for the season is a rare feat. Here are the anglers who have done it:
2006 - none
2007 - Jeff Kriet
2008 - Todd Faircloth, Tim Horton, Bobby Lane
2009 - none
2010 - Michael Iaconelli, Peter Thliveros
2011 - none
As it often does heading into the final weigh-in, things look like a toss-up. Although our guesstimates have Randy Howell ahead of Body Duckett by a slight margin, weights for Howell could be a little heavy and that would tighten things up significantly. I really think it's up in the air -- I don't make this stuff up.
Howell could win this thing at any minute by catching his fifth keeper, but until then, this tournament is far from over. Although it will be over soon, since the anglers are checking in shortly.
To wrap things up from here, it's been an exciting day of fishing for the 12 finalists. Fletcher Shryock made his first Elite Series Top 12. Duckett caught a bonus 4-pound largemouth on a spot he found when bass came up schooling while he was hanging out on shore with Kelly Jordon one evening. Howell had a 4-pound smallmouth eat his crankbait while he was about to pull up the trolling motor. Takahiro Omori continued his momentum from yesterday by catching another 14-pound bag today and locking up a Classic berth.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a question for the War Room. Hopefully the anglers and the rest of us answered all your questions sufficiently. We had a good time. Stay tuned for Toyota Hooked Up! and the weigh-in of the Ramada Championship right around the corner.
Each day, I come away more impressed with the performance Randy Howell has been putting together. Each day, it takes longer and longer for him to catch his limit, but he manages to hang in there and stay consistent when so many other anglers have fallen off the pace. It looks like once again, largemouth with be part of the winning bag (Howell caught one yesterday and Duckett caught one today) but much less so than in the past.
Both anglers and Rook relied heavily on smallmouth bass, which reflects a shifting paradigm on Oneida Lake started by Chad Griffin when he won a few years ago. I don't know what exactly is causing it - increased largemouth pressure, lower water levels, hotter summer - but smallmouth are dominating this tournament.
To complicate things a little further, if Howell wins today, that would automatically free up another place in the Elite Series points for a Classic berth. So 32 places on the points list would be safe (34 if Brent Chapman and Chris Lane fish the Opens and up to 36 if the last two Opens are won by Elite Series pros currently ahead of the cut-off). Whew, that is a mouthful. That means even if he doesn't win, Rook could still qualify by virtue of a Howell win. If Duckett wins, he will have to hope one of the last two Opens is won by an Elite Series angler.
This just in from Steve Bowman: Randy Howell has four fish for 14 pounds. If that's true, it would move him back into the lead over Boyd Duckett. That's just the kind of move we were expecting from him.
With a nice lead coming into the day, I expected Howell to only lose this event if other angler's caught a giant stringer to beat him. I thought his fishing was consistent enough to put him over the top.
His day has unfolded anything like the way we anticipated. After a slow morning that included him catching a fish on a crankbait that bit right next to the boat while he was getting ready to pull up the trolling motor, he scrambled over to the east end of the lake like he did on Day Three.
Today, it didn't pay off in the same way. He came back with only two fish in his box, moving to the islands where he started the morning. He caught another keeper there and then followed that up with his fourth a few minutes ago. One more keeper should lock this thing up, but if it doesn't happen, it could leave things open for Duckett and Scott Rook.
It's no surprise that Boyd Duckett is still fishing in Maple Bay. This spot has been very good to him all week. Boyd tells us he has 16 pounds in his livewell. Is that to be believed? Tune into bassmaster.com at 4:00 to watch the weigh in and find out!
Things are winding down to the final hour of fishing and accurate reports are coming in from on the water. Steve Bowman has been moving around checking in with our projected leaders and it looks like things are too close to call right now.
Boyd Duckett likely has close to 16 pounds, which would give him 61-4 total. Scott Rook has "over 15" putting him in second with 60-3. Randy Howell is still looking for a limit. He has three keepers for 10 pounds, giving him 58-4.
Keep in mind that two more keepers is all he needs to win this tournament. If Howell, Rook or Duckett wins this tournament, it will change the complexion of the Classic qualification list. As we confirmed with Trip Weldon, double qualifiers (people who win a tournament and also qualify through the Elite Series) open up another spot for Elite Series anglers.
Right now only the Top 31 are guaranteed (28 through the points and three double qualifiers through the Elite Series and Classic winners). If Chris Lane and Brent Chapman fish the last Open in their divisions, then they can open up two more spots to make it 33 through the Elite Series list. That would put Scott Rook and Boyd Duckett, in 34th and 35th, as the first two out. To guarantee anything, they need to win today.
Did that clear things up? I'm afraid I just got even more confused.
Scott Rook is culling again and we're motoring back to Maple Bay to check on Boyd Duckett.
You'd think that Floridian Bernie Schultz would feel out of his element in northern New York at Oneida Lake. But Schultz has proven just the opposite is true. By making the Top 12 cut this week, Schultz now has four Top 12s to his credit at Oneida.
"It just matches my style," said Schultz. "Grass is the primary focus, but there are [boat] docks and shallow rock piles. This lake is conducive to a wide variety of lures, top-waters, spinnerbaits and slow baits, like soft plastics and jigs."
And Schultz has used a wide variety of lures this week. He entered the day in 12th place with 42-6. He said Saturday that his primary lure has been a Yamamoto Senko, both the 5- and 4-inch models in a greenpumpkin/watermelon laminate color pattern. But he's also caught fish on a new one-ounce Hildebrandt Double Deep spinnerbait, "which you can throw a country mile," a Rapala X-Rap (yellow perch color) crankbait, a Spro Bronzeye Frog and a Rapala Skitter Pop topwater lure.
"I've been really mixing it up," Schultz said. "The lake has been changing for me every day."
Unchanged is Schultz's success at Oneida. He finished eighth here in '06, 10th in '08 and ninth in '11. Schultz doesn't appear to be catching them today, according to BASSTrakk, but another Top 12 at Oneida is already assured.