St. Clair barely tops St. Lawrence, again

The two-day “cut weight” is always a focus on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Make the cut and you’re guaranteed a $10,000 check. Miss it and you leave empty-handed.

That mark has been particularly interesting over the last three events since moving north to fisheries dominated by smallmouth bass. The two-day cut weights have matched or exceeded that of noted largemouth bass lakes like Okeechobee, Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn.

Because the cut weight is so important, both in short-term dollars and season-long implications for the Angler of the Year race, anglers start looking at it after Day 1 of each tournament, giving them a target to shoot for the next day.

Lake St. Clair established a new Day 1 mark for 2017 Elite Series season Thursday. It took a whopping 17 pounds, 12 ounces to be in 51st place on Day 1. The previous mark was 17-10 on Day 1 at the St. Lawrence River. And St. Clair stayed true to form on Day 2, establishing the highest two-day 51st-place weight of the nine-tournament season – 34-15, topping the St. Lawrence River by two ounces, again.

Think of it this way: You could have caught a 5-bass limit each day averaging 3 ¼-pounds per fish and you would have been eliminated after two days at both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain.

Note: Because there are 108 anglers of the original 110 competing now, after Chad Grigsby dropped out recently, the Day 2 cut this week was the top 50 anglers, rather than 51, as it had been in the previous eight events. For comparison’s sake, here are the 51st place weights on the first two days of the nine regular season Elite Series events this season:

Day 1Day 2

Cherokee Lake    

13-0125-02

Lake Okeechobee

13-1027-14

Toledo Bend Reservoir   

13-1226-04

Ross Barnett Reservoir

11-0522-14

Sam Rayburn Reservoir 

15-1232-04

Lake Dardanelle  

11-1221-10

St. Lawrence Rive

17-1034-13

Lake Champlain   

16-0932-00

Lake St. Clair 

17-1234-15