Lake Eufaula continued to display its healthy bass population, and a shallow bite in particular, on Day 2 of the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite. Another nine bags topping 20 pounds were weighed to go with the 15 from Day 1. Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., had the biggest — 22 pounds, 15 ounces. His two-day total is 43-5.
"I would have bet you a million dollars that this tournament could not be won shallow for four days," said Arey, who was in 13th place on Day 1. "It very well might not be. But if the water keeps coming up, I could see it being a key player."
Arey had a key shallow catch — a 6-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that bit a frog. And he had a story to go with it.
"It was late in the day and I had been bouncing back and forth from shallow to deep, shallow to deep," he said. "I rolled up in a pocket, and it looked right. It had the right ingredients for what's going on. I started seeing bream instantly. I saw this fish cruising, and I could tell it was a big one."
Arey cast a topwater frog to the bass and his lure caught over a piece of grass. He twitched it off the grass.
"I'm glad I could see her," Arey said. "She grabbed the legs of the frog and pulled it down, then sucked it in after that. If I hadn't seen it, I would have jerked when the frog disappeared."
Among the top five on Thursday's leaderboard, Arey, as mentioned, was in 13th place on Day 1, second place Jake Whitaker (41-10) was in 8th, third place Scott Canterbury (41-9) was 11th, fourth place Kyle Welcher (41-2) was 15th and fifth place Caleb Kuphall was 23rd. All that movement on the leaderboard indicates this tournament is wide open after the field was cut to the top 40 anglers Thursday.