Chapman Takes Lesson From Douglas
The Douglas Lake Challenge presented just that for Chapman – a challenge, and one he didn't handle particularly well. In the five Elite Series tournaments this year, the 39-year-old Lake Quivera, Kan., angler's record is as follows:
St. John's River – 4th
Lake Okeechobee – 5th
Bull Shoals Lake – 5th
Douglas Lake – 68th
Toledo Bend – 1st
"I learned a lot at Douglas," Chapman said Sunday. "I kind of got my rear end kicked there. I learned a lot about how deep to fish, and also about relying on your electronics."
With a choice, Chapman prefers fishing shallow. After a shallow pattern didn't produce at Douglas Lake, he was determined not to fail in that manner again. Chapman found some big bass schools hovering near the thermocline, which was about 30 feet deep, during practice at Toledo Bend.
He began the three-day practice period with a special chip for his Lowrance electronics that local bass fishing legend Tommy Martin has produced; it shows submerged roadbeds and bridges that don't appear on the Navionics electronic map of Toledo Bend.
"I started running that (pattern) in practice," he said. "I kind of exhausted all I could look for. I was running down the lake when I saw this point the day before the tournament. I decided to pull up on it and try it. It was the only spot I had that wasn't a road bed."
That spot produced most of Chapman's four-day total of 83 pounds, 9 ounces. He caught 25-8 on Day Two, when he jumped from 11th place into the lead and was catching bass on almost every cast.
"It was just a textbook point – a main lake point that fed from Negreet Creek," Chapman said. "It's literally the last point these fish can go (before the main lake channel). It's the end of the line for them, so they set up there and ambush the shad."
After an unbelievable day Friday, Chapman experienced several hours of frustration there the last two days. Other than a few brief flurries, the point didn't provide the all-day-long excitement it did on Day Two.
"You should have been here yesterday," Chapman said to one observer Saturday, after a couple hours without a bite. He started moving around the lake to find more active fish.
Chapman's lead was only 1 pound, 5 ounces over second-place Marty Robinson going into Sunday, and seven of the final 12 anglers were bunched five pounds or less behind him.