2006 Elite Series - Santee Cooper Showdown Santee Cooper Reservoir - Manning, SC, Mar 30 - Apr 2, 2006

Santee: Day Two: Pros' expectations

Enormous bags were hauled across the weigh-in stage on Day One capped with Preston Clark's 39 pound, 6 ounce stringer. However, not too many anglers expressed the excitement and acknowledgement of the big weights as they had at the first CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series stop on Lake Amistad.

 Only 100 pounds and 8 ounces less were caught during the first day of competition here than Day One on Amistad, that, with the field lacking two heavy-hitting anglers (Kevin VanDam and Dustin Wilks, who had to pull out for medical reasons). The cut position after the first day in Texas was 18 pounds, 10 ounces and after Day One on the Santee-Cooper Reservoir the cut is at 18 pounds even.

 Bassmaster.com caught up with a few of the anglers before take-off this morning to get an inside view on what happened to all the fuss. Here's what they had to say:

 Marty Stone, 53rd place

 Was the fish production we saw come across the stage on Day One surprising to you : I tell everybody they've got some special lakes in California and in Texas, but when this lake is right it takes a back seat to no other. The last two times we've been here it has almost taken 100 pounds to win the tournament. This lake is capable day in and day out, and I think it will do it again today.

 Is there another fishing pattern to produce sufficient weights, other than sight-fishing: I think a few guys caught some flipping trees yesterday, but under these conditions I don't think there is one you can win with. Now if the weather changes and we get a little overcast and wind, there will be some other things come into play.

 What do you have to do today to assure yourself a spot in the top 50, and have a chance to fish on Day Three: I had such a great time yesterday, but just couldn't get the big ones to bite. I literally saw 40 pounds on the beds. Today maybe I go out and the big females change their moods and minds and I catch 40 pounds. Today I am going to do what I call "put a band-aide on things" and catch at least what I had yesterday. I am going to get a little bit more aggressive and look at a little bit more water than I did yesterday. I've got at least what I did on Day One in places I haven't even been to. The big deal is don't get hung up on a fish that isn't ready because there are 50 more that are.

 Shaw Grigsby, 62nd place

 Was the fish production we saw come across the stage on Day One surprising to you : This is normal Santee because it is usually awesome this time of the year. At Amistad, we were all looking at fish that were huge and the whole atmosphere of the lake was pretty impressive.

 Is there another fishing pattern to produce sufficient weights, other than sight-fishing: No there isn't another pattern working. Rick Clunn fished all his practice days for two bites, and realized you can't catch them doing anything other than looking at them. I have never seen a lake where there is only one thing going on in my entire life. It has happened here and we are just dealing with it.

 What do you have to do today to assure yourself a spot in the top 50, and have a chance to fish on Day Three: I've got plenty of fish I just have to catch them. If I hadn't lost the three fish I did yesterday I would have easily had 25 pounds.

 Kenyon Hill, 56th place

 Was the fish production we saw come across the stage on Day One surprising to you : No not really. We hit this lake just right once again. It was cold and now it has warmed up so all the fish are pulling in. This is the time of the year you are going to catch the big sacks out of this lake. Years ago, this lake had a lot of milfoil, grass, and hydrilla in it and you could catch them like this year round. Since their grass eradication program it has limited the production. The only time you can bag them like this is when they're coming to the bank to spawn. Is this as good as Amistad? If you look at the course of the year probably not because of habitat issues and this is a very old lake.

 Is there another fishing pattern to produce sufficient weights, other than sight-fishing: There's really not another option. The only bites of any quality that I'm getting are the ones I'm getting off the beds. It's hard to randomly fish and get something. With the warmer weather they might start biting topwater and some other stuff like they normally do. Having the warm nights that keeps the water temperature up is the key.

 What do you have to do today to assure yourself a spot in the top 50, and have a chance to fish on Day Three: I am going to start in a different area today, but I am still going to sight-fish. I just need a couple of breaks, but I am around some good fish.

 Chad Brauer, 89th place

 Was the fish production we saw come across the stage on Day One surprising to you : I was a little bit surprised that as many people caught them that well, but I am not surprised that the fishery produced that well. The one other time I can remember a similar tournament to Amistad that produced so many 20-pound bags was here. I actually think that tournament was better than Amistad because there were at least 40 20-pound bags and in Texas I believe there were 38 or 39. When the timing is right this place can really produce a lot of big fish.

 Is there another fishing pattern to produce sufficient weights, other than sight-fishing: There isn't one that I know of. I've tried to make a lot of other patterns work because I'm not a very good sight-fisherman and I don't put in the time to look for those fish. I tried flipping a spinnerbait in the swamp, and as a result I'm pretty much at the bottom. It's a rare occasion where you hit a fishery where there is only one way you can catch them, but this is one of those times.

 What do you have to do today to assure yourself a spot in the top 50, and have a chance to fish on Day Three: All I can do is go sight-fishing. I talked to Dad yesterday and that is what he ended up doing, and he happened to come across some fish. I am going to go to a different part of the lake and start looking and if I see some I will try to catch them. My goal is 25 to 26 pounds to even have a chance at fishing tomorrow.

 Byron Velvick, 42nd place

 Was the fish production we saw come across the stage on Day One surprising to you : I don't think a lot of guys were expecting the big weights we saw yesterday. If you hit this lake at the right time you can see the weights, but if you hit it at the wrong time you can really struggle. When the fish aren't on the beds 11 pounds is serviceable out here. At Lake Amistad you can catch those kind of weights all year long. In the middle of the winter you can catch 30 pounds and that's why it's a year round fish factory. If you come back here in two months and try to catch 20 pound, forget about it.

 Is there another fishing pattern to produce sufficient weights, other than sight-fishing: Right now there is not other option. There might be some guys trying to get some things going, but everyone I've talked to is spotting them. With a lake like this, when the fish get on the beds they are so easy to catch but when they aren't it is fairly tough. I caught one fish in three days of practice by just trying to make something happen besides the bed bite. If you don't go with it you are basically fishing for 40th place or worse. I would be surprised if anybody is catching them not bed fishing.

 What do you have to do today to assure yourself a spot in the top 50, and have a chance to fish on Day Three: The thing is now that I know what the standard is I know what I have to fish for. I'm not going to stop on 2- and 3-pounders at all. I am going to fish for strictly big fish. For the most part you have to cull with your eyes. What I mean by that is you have to run down the bank ignoring the two's and the three's that can be tempting. A lot times if you turn around and try to catch those fish it is going to take an hour because it becomes personal. You spend excess time concentrating on a fish you thought you should have caught on the first cast. A lot of these guys won't stop for five pounds or less. I am going to key on big fish all day and ignore the males and look for the pairs.

 Timmy Horton, 48th place

 Was the fish production we saw come across the stage on Day One surprising to you : The thing about it on this lake is that you only catch them this well when the fish move up onto the beds. Other than that, it can be very tough. At Amistad you can catch those kind of weights no matter what because they really weren't even spawning that well when we were there. I think that is what was so impressive. So many of those 30-pound bags were caught just fishing and not sight-fishing.

 Is there another fishing pattern to produce sufficient weights, other than sight-fishing: I am curious to what Denny Brauer is doing because he is not a sight-fisherman. I think that so many fish have moved up by now it might be a possibility to catch some in the pads and things like that.

 What do you have to do today to assure yourself a spot in the top 50, and have a chance to fish on Day Three: I am more concerned with fishing past tomorrow. I still think I've got a great shot at making the cut for Sunday as well. I need a 25- or 27-pound today and tomorrow, and I think I can get that.

advertisement

advertisement