Jaye bummed about a miss

Kelley Jaye is having a good day, in fact, probably better than the 17-12 limit that's showing on BASSTrakk. But it hasn't been all good. Gettys Brannon reports that Jaye just lost a 5-pounder that threw his jerkbait, and it shook him up a bit.

However, this sunshine should cure any ills Jaye is suffering over the miss. A post-spawn jerkbait bite is right in his wheelhouse. He demonstrated that on Day 1 with the third-place bag of 22-0. He's getting close to another bag like that today.

Reese's change up

Yesterday I blogged about Skeet Reese brushing off the thought of needing to go flipping after putting nearly 20 pounds inside his livewell using moving baits. That happened by midmorning, and now he just brought out the long rod. The forward-thinking Reese surmised the bass on the move bite would go away with the sun.

This morning I asked Reese about his comment yesterday about practicing for today. Here’s what he had to say.

“By 10 o’clock I’ll know whether or not it’ll work,” he said. “That’s the hardest thing about tournament fishing, which is abandoning something the’s been working, but there is a time and place for all of it.”

That time is now, although the place remains the same as yesterday. Coincidentally, I am writing this at 10 a.m. The shad spawn, in Reese’s mind, is over, and that makes the timing right to make the change now.

“All I want to do is survive until the next round, avoid crashing and burning just based on what worked yesterday."

He added, “Instead of force feeding a reaction or winding bite I know the change is necessary."

Roumbanis completed the puzzle on Day 2

Fred Roumbanis was desperate for a bite yesterday, so he picked up a spinning rod with a shaky head jig and caught a 3-pounder and a 2-pounder. Then he came to his senses.

"This is why I haven't made the (Bassmaster) Classic the last couple of years," Roumbanis told himself. So he put the spinning rod down and picked up a baitcaster with his signature Optimum BoomBoom 6-inch swimbait tied on the line. And the puzzle pieces started falling into place shortly after. "It has taken me all week to figure this out," Roumbanis said. "The waypoints started adding up. You compile your puzzle pieces by marking every time you catch a quality fish."

Here's what the complete picture looks like now: Roumbanis has found two "sweet spots" where bass are transitioning to and from spawning areas.

"You've got to have bait," he said. "If you see bait and some bigger blobs on the (Garmin) Panoptics, those are probably bass. If you don't see bait and see a lot of blobs, those are probably carp. I'm using the bait to distinguish the species of fish I'm fishing for. That's the key element."

When Roumbanis caught a 5-pounder at 8:30 this morning, it confirmed everything he learned yesterday. No spinning rods for "Boom Boom" today.

Dynamics of the day

Today on Kentucky Lake there is enough going on to make the head spin of any hardcore Bassmaster tournament junkie. Consider this list. 

1. Let the sun shine: The sun has come out, finally, for the first time during the competition. That is mostly good for everyone, since the bass will become more concentrated on structure.

2. Prespawn/spawn/postspawn: All phases of the spawn are in play, although the falling water level has all but eliminated the sight fishing bite. This morning I watched the king of sight fishing, Shaw Grigsby, tying on square bill crankbaits. “My beds are on dry ground,” he said. 

3. Water up, down: For the most part the water is still falling but more stable than previous days. 

4. Shad spawn: There’s a shad spawn but it needs low light conditions for the best success. Yesterday the overcast skies and rainy conditions prolonged the bite. Today, that bite ended early. 

5. Leaderboard shuffle: Already significant changes have occurred on the scoreboard. As of 9:15 a.m. local time the newcomers were Kelley Jaye, Wesley Strader, Brent Chapman and Ott DeFoe. Look for more shakeups as the day goes on. 

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Roumbanis with 5-pounder

At 8:15 Fred Roumbanis caught his first keeper, and it was a good one— the judges in this boat estimated the largemouth bass at 5 pounds. 

Boom Boom started the day in second place here at Kentucky Lake. He had 17-11 on Day 1 and 22-11 yesterday for a total of 40 pounds 10 ounces. As of last night, he sits in fifth place in Toyota Angler of the Year standings after finishing 63rd at Lake Martin and 11th a Grand Lake. Roumbanis did not make the 2018 Bassmaster Classic and told us earlier he’s really focused on qualifying for the big dance in 2019.

It’s crowded at Crowded Point

This morning Steve Bowman and I are covering Fred Roumbanis, who started the day in second place. Boom Boom was fishing along and made his way to a lake point when we noticed a gaggle of boats. Turns out it was Brandon Palaniuk and three spectator boats. Boom Boom fished right up near them and then departed. About that point, I looked at our Lakemaster map and noticed this area is called Crowded Point. It lived up to its name this morning.

Faircloth making a charge

For proof that anyone in today's Top 50 anglers could advance to the Top 12 final, look no further than Todd Faircloth. He started the day in 38th place. But a limit weighing 18-4 this morning has Faircloth in 4th place, according to BASSTrakk, and only 1-6 behind leader Skeet Reese.

Faircloth won't stay that high in the standings with 18-4 at the end of the day, but he's got plenty of time to build on that hot start. Faircloth's five keepers now include the following: 5-0, 4-0, 4-0, 3-0 and 2-12. Twenty-pounds-plus is well within reach.

Mornings are key for Skeet

Skeet Reese had his 21-pound, 10-ounce limit by 10:30 a.m. yesterday. And he caught two 3-pounders in the first half-hour this morning. But with the sunshine today, the shad spawn bite that has been the key to his success each morning may not last as long as it has on the previous overcast days.
"I'm not seeing shad, but that has to be what it is," Reese said yesterday. "They're feeding for the first four hours of the day. I've got to change how I fish in the afternoons because the last two days I definitely drove the suck bus."

There might be a change for the better, as well, with the sunshine and warming weather today, which is forecast to be in the lows 80s for a high.

"If we got some sun and the water starts warming up again, there's going to be another wave of fish moving shallow. There are still plenty of pre-spawn fish that are waiting to move shallow."

Reese reported water surface temperatures between 66 and 68 degrees yesterday.

Comparing Grand and Kentucky lakes – Day 2

With two Elite Series events on back-to-back weeks at two of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, it might be interesting to compare snapshots of each. It isn’t intended to indicate that one lake is better than the other. It’s done more in the interest of trivia than anything else. This will be updated as the 2018 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Kentucky Lake presented by Abu Garcia progresses through Monday.

Grand Lake  Kentucky Lake
Day 1           Day 1
Bass weighed-in     531     493
Ave. weight      3.15 lbs.       3.22 lbs.
Limits  102       82
20-lb. bags       11       9
Big bass     7-3       7-7 (2)
Big bag     23-12        24-3
25th place       17-12     18-6
50th place     15-11     15-8



Grand Lake     Kentucky Lake
Day 2Day 2
Bass weighed-in         505                   473
Ave. weight                      2.98 lbs.       3.13 lbs.
Limits                                            92      70
20-lb. bags    6   9
Big bass                                  6-12 (2) 7-11
Big bag                                                          26-3     24-0    
25th place                                  34-6     33-15
50th place                                30-6       29-11