Pirch barely survived Day 2 disaster

There were some dramatic swings in the standings from Day 1 to Day 2 at Cayuga Lake. Clifford Pirch experienced one of those, on the unfortunate type. Pirch was in 8th place on the first day with 21-10. His limit weighing only 11-12 barely kept him in the top 35 cut yesterday. Pirch and David Fritts tied at the cut mark of 33-6, but Pirch's big bag Thursday gave him 34th place over Fritts.

Pirch is continuing to struggle today, like almost everyone else. He did swing this 3-pounder in the boat earlier this morning. The Payson, Ariz., pro is having a solid season. He was 24th in the Toyota Angler of the Year standings entering this tournament.

Hudnall’s reincarnation dream

Derek Hudnall has the southern part of the lake all to himself, but he’s only got four fish for about 12 pounds.

The problem is the thick cloud cover, which is killing his bites on mooring buoys.

“When I die, I want to come back as a weatherman,” Hudnall said. “It’s completely opposite of what it’s supposed to be.

“I need the sun to catch these buoy fish. The sun came out for about three hours (today), and that’s when I caught all my fish.”

Where is the winner on the leaderboard?

Some statistics help connect the dots and reveal patterns in tournament fishing. Others just add a different twist or storyline to think about. Take this stat for what it's worth, but this is where the eventual winners were sitting on the leaderboard after two days of competition.

St. Johns Rick Clunn sat in 5th after two days
Lanier Paul Mueller was 2nd in the standings
Hartwell Brandon Cobb was the leader because he won wire to wire
Winyah Bay Stetson Blaylock was in 6th after two days
Lake Fork Brandon Cobb was also in 6th before mounting his charge
Guntersville Jamie Hartman was 17th after climbing from 46th on the prior day
St. Lawrence Micah Frazier was 12th after two days in Waddington

Who will win here and will they be in the Top 6? The gap this week seems to lean to that side of the spectrum. Jeff Gustafson had 49-1 after two days and sixth place Stetson Blaylock was 7-13 behind to start the day. That gap will need to be chipped down by a few more anglers if they want to stay within arms reach. That seems to be a good position after two days of competition with five of seven events telling that fact. Day 3 is often when anglers rise into contention and show they are here to stay. Three winners have came from the bottom half of the Top 10 on the final day (Clunn 8th, Hartman and Frazier both 10th).

Rally time for Canterbury

After briefly falling outside the Championship Sunday cut, Scott Canterbury is back in. In the big scheme of things, his Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year first-place ranking appears to be safe. He’s got 686 points, while Drew Cook has 662 points. 

“There’s a lot of fishing left to be done and there can be no letting up,” he said. 

Indeed there is and Canterbury cannot afford to let up if the wants to fish tomorrow. And what is panning out so far is in stark contrast to Thursday and Friday. He was done “catching” by 10 o’clock, and mused that he would have weighed in if he could.. Instead, he camped out on the spot to preserve it, even taking a long lunch break on his front deck. He even said if he could, he’d weighed his catch then. 

“I caught a small limit and then came up here for the quality bite,” he after arriving at a bridge this morning. 

Meanwhile, Stetson Blaylock is outside the cut, but he’s in good shape in the AOY race at fifth place.

Benton adds a second 4-pounder

So far, a 4-pounder today is like a 5-pounder yesterday. In other words, it's big. And Drew Benton has two of them now, giving him an estimated 14 1/2 pounds.

Benton is flying under the radar in the AOY race. He moved up to 9th after the St. Lawrence River with his 17th-place finish there. He made a big jump yesterday, going from 50th place to 28th with a 19-pound bag.

Gustafson struggle continues

Jeff Gustafson continues to struggle—like his peers—to put quality fish in the livewell. His BASSTrakk score looks like this: 2-0, a pair of fish weighing 3-4 and a two pounder. He originally planned to first stop on a smallmouth area that reenergized after he went there late yesterday afternoon. That spot has what he described as bigger fish, yet they aren’t yet there.

He remains confident that those fish will appear as the day progresses. And like everyone else, he is ready for that to happen.

The morning gallery shows more. 

Prince on the bubble

Florida angler Cliff Prince is barely on the inside of the proverbial Classic cutline. At this point, 42nd place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race is that cutline.

The cutline for the AOY Championship is 50th.

Prince is in 41st place at the time of this writing, making him what we affectionately call a bubble boy.

Prince earned a solid 26th-place finish at St. Lawrence River last week, and is currently holding down 24th in BASSTrakk, which is unofficial.

What it does tell us, however, is that Prince is looking to finish the regular season strongly. The remaining regular-season derby will occur in September on Oklahoma’s Ft. Gibson. Then onto St. Clair our of Detroit.

Prince wants to be there, and especially to earn another shot at the Classic next March at Lake Guntersville.

Based on his limited remaining time, and being just inside the Classic bubble cutline, he needs to finish strongly, especially in Oklahoma in a few weeks.

He’s likely going to finish well here at Cayuga, and he’ll need that kind of momentum to hold down, or improve upon his current AOY ranking.

Right now it’s looking good for Prince.

Loughran swings in a 3-pounder

Ed Loughran has an opportunity to post the best performance of his rookie season on the Elite Series. Loughran jumped from 38th place on Day 1 to 12th yesterday with a 20-pound, 15-ounce bag. His top finish so far this season was 30th at Lake Lanier.

Like most anglers, he is struggling this morning, but the 3-pounder shown here will help. The 49-year-old Richmond, Va., resident has one of the most interesting resumes on the Elite Series, having worked as a guide while in high school, earning a Master Captain's license at age 21 and spending time as a Merrill Lynch stockbroker.

Brett Preuett enjoying Cayuga

Elite Series pro Brett Preuett is having a lot of fun on Cayuga this week. As the weights have indicated thus far, the fish are cooperating well. And Preuett is having the best event of his season.

Unfortunately he’s most likely out of contention for the Classic and the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, but that means he has nothing to lose.

And that makes him a dangerous man.

As of today, unofficially, he’s in 68th in AOY, but he’s currently in 21st for the tournament according to the latest BASSTrakk readouts. A solid performance for the young Louisiana pro.

If there is any shot at all to earn a spot in the AOY Championship, he’ll need to compliment his finish here with at least a Top 10 at Oklahoma’s Ft. Gibson Reservoir in September—the final regular-season event.

Moving his current AOY standing up to 50th or better will be required. It’s possible, but a tough climb to make at this point in the season.

But that’s the beauty of this sport, you just never know.

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