Four of the five bass in Paul Mueller's Day 1, 10th-place bag of 20-14 were smallmouths. Mueller thought he might have found a smallmouth pattern that would keep him near the top of the standings over four days at Cayuga Lake.
Yesterday, Mueller proved there are smallies big enough to win here. He weighed-in a 5-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth. But he was frustrated by both the lack of consistency in his pattern and how hard it is to land Cayuga's smallmouth bass once you get them hooked.
"I weighed a 5-6. If I could get five of the right bites, I could make the top 10 tomorrow," said Mueller, who had only 4 keepers and fell to 32nd place with 12-12. "I've got a lot of fish coming up and looking at my bait, then going back down. It's the most frustrating pattern. I almost wish I didn't have it."
Not only are these smallmouths hard to hook, that's only half the battle.
"These are the hardest-fighting smallmouth I've ever caught," said the Naugatuck, Conn., veteran smallmouth angler. "That 5-6 I had today, took me around the boat and around the boat and around the boat. I'm like, is this thing going to give up or what?"
Mueller won the battle with this 4 1/4-pound smallmouth at 7:55 this morning, and he's got two more in his livewell. Maybe this is the day the smallies turn on.