There has been a different leader each day in the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller. It was Stetson Blaylock on Day 1, Chris Zaldain on Day 2 and it’s Kyle Monti after three days.
This would be an incredible catalyst in the career of the 27-year-old Okeechobee, Fla., angler if he wins this tournament. He came into this event ranked 68th of the 75 Elite Series anglers in Toyota Angler of the Year points. This will be the last day of his 2019 Elite Series season no matter what happens today. At Saturday’s weigh-in, Monti noted that he’s continuing to pick up subtle clues about how to catch bass on his main offshore area, and he’s not closing his mind to other options.
“I went to a bank where I had caught a couple on topwater during practice, tied on a crankbait for the first time this week and caught my biggest one of the day — close to four pounds,” he said. “That’s how this lake is fishing right now. If you’re fishing the bank, it’s hit or miss and I don’t want to miss. So, I’m going to grind on that deep hole as long as I can and if I get five bites, I think I can win.”
“I think what’s there is there, and I don’t think there are more fish coming because I think that’s a summertime spot. I have to keep an open mind to the shallow bite because it could stabilize. That could go off, and I need to be able to go do that if I have to.”
Since midnight Friday, water releases from Tenkiller Dam have slowed to a trickle. A lake that dropped almost 10 feet in the 22 days prior to this tournament, suddenly has a stable water level. It was 632.58 feet above sea level at midnight Friday; it was 632.61 at 6 a.m. today.
That last part of the previous quote from Monti bear repeating: “I have to keep an open mind to the shallow bite because it could stabilize. That could go off, and I need to be able to go do that if I have to.”