Avena close to switching gears

Adrian Avena has three 2-pounds-plus spotted bass and would like to bag a fourth before he switches gears and goes shallow, looking for one of those 6 1/2-pound largemouth game-changers like he caught on Day 2.

Avena has a 12-pound limit, which has him in second place on BASSTrakk. But he'd like to cull at least one of the smaller spotted bass in his livewell. The third-year Elite Series angler from Vineland, New Jersey, knows it's going to take a home run to catch Takahiro Omori, and soon he will start swinging for the fences in shallow, stained water.

Avena weighed a limit of spotted bass yesterday, but one of those was a 3 1/2 pounder caught shallow.

"It was up there in 2 1/2-feet of water, right where a largemouth should have been," Avena said. "I did catch a couple of 2-pound largemouth shallow, but they didn't help. It's a fine window. Right now we're kind of flirting with that line. The water temperature is still a little too cold."
Avena has marked a lot of 54- and 55-degree water shallow. The 60-degree mark is the magic spot. David Walker mentioned finding some 60-degree water yesterday. There might be more today, after a night when the temperature didn't drop below 60. It's 64 degrees now. Avena threw a buzzbait for an hour or so yesterday, trying to force the issue, with no luck.

"The conditions were screaming it," Avena said. "Next week, I guarantee it, a guy can go in these shallow pockets and catch a big bag of largemouths. We're just starting to see it now, where a few of those are getting caught."

When Avena caught the 6 1/2-pounder on Friday, "My trolling motor was kicking up mud."
With another one of those today, he just might reel in leader Takahiro Omori as well.