Ounces, not pounds, can mean everything at Oneida Lake. The last two Elite Series events here provide some perspective on expectations for the next four days, where a five-bass limit of 18 pounds is a game-changer and an average of 15 pounds a day will put you in the hunt for a title.
When Chad Griffin won at Oneida in 2009 with a four-day total of 65-10, his Day Two bag of 18-8 — tops in the tournament — was the key to victory. The top 50, two-day cut weight was 25-9. Only 5 pounds, 2 ounces separated the Top 20 and only 3 pounds, 1 ounce separated 20th through 50th place.
Dean Rojas won in 2008 with 65-2, keyed by his 18-3 five-bass limit on Day Three. Mike Iaconelli vaulted from 40th place on Day One to first place on Day Two with 20-1, the biggest bag at Oneida in the last two events.
After the Top 50 cut, 5 pounds separated first from 15th and only 3 pounds, 4 ounces separated 20th through 50th.
In other words, it's extremely difficult to make up ground after one bad day at Oneida. But if you're searching for every AOY point possible, like so many here this week, every ounce counts.
In 2008, Bernie Schultz and Dave Wolak qualified for the last two spots in the Top 12 cut with the exact same three-day total — 41-6. Chris Lane missed it by 3 ounces. In other words, an extra ounce a day made all the difference for Schultz and Wolak.
You can bet every Elite Series angler is very carefully culling fish today.