Brock Mosley has had an up-and-down two days at Lake Tenkiller. He was in 11th place on Day 1 with a 12-pound bag, then dropped to 30th on Day 2 when he weighed only two keepers totaling 5-4. He's off to good start today with this 2 3/4-pound smallmouth bass.
Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Frank Talley just put his first bass of the day in the livewell, a 2-pound smallie that fell for a topwater on a wind-blown bank.
But he had to be patient before setting the hook.
“It slapped at it three times before taking it,” Talley said. “That’s what they’ve been doing.”
That catch put him in seventh on Basstrakk, just more than 3 pounds out of the lead.
And just like that, Harvey Horne moved up a spot from seventh to sixth place with a fish weighing 2-4. He’s playing the same pattern as when he stared that tournament.
That is staying just far enough offshore to target bass that are coming off the shoreline as the water continues to drop 6- to 8-inches each day.
“The fish have been in the bushes all summer during the high water period,” he said. “I am trying to find bass that have pulled out with the falling water, and that are staging on the next available cover.”
Right now, Horne is fishing a windblown secondary point, which perfectly matches the above conditions. He is armed and ready with a wobble head jig and a soft plastic frog.
Chris Zaldain is in a familiar place, which is at the top of the scoreboard. He’s got four Championship Sundays, with a fifth in view. What else is familiar is his pattern and bait lineup.
At three other Championship Sunday events, he used a 3-inch Megabass Spark Shad, rigged on a very unique 1/8-ounce Megabass Okashira Screwhead. Molded after a hand carving by famed lure designer Yuki Ito, the jighead is equipped with an asymmetrical prop that features one blade longer than the other. What is key, as called out by Zaldain, is the hydrodynamic design that features lanes that channel water under the chin to provide increased stability at all lure speeds. Broken down, that means the swimbait always stays running true.
“Windblown and shallow points are the key,” he said.
What else is key is the discovery made by Zaldain early yesterday. He stayed on the same area until 10 a.m., then started looking for new water.
“I learned a lot about how the smallmouth move up and down on the cover,” he added.
Above all else, the offshore bass are feeding on very small baitfish, something that Zaldain feels is important with his compact lure.
“You need to match the lure to the size of the bait because these fish are so dialed into those smaller baitfish."
Day 3 of this event is showing us a third set of weather conditions and it’s anybody’s guess whether it helps or hurts.
We are sitting on Chris Zaldain basically on the main lake. Unlike any day thus far the wind is smoking out of the south. We are bobbing and splashing in 2-footers that seem to be growing. Some of the spectators are having trouble keeping their trolling motors in the water.
It’s created the coolest morning the Elites have seen since the St. Lawrence River. That’s nice for those who are out here. But no fish catches yet.
Yesterday at the weigh-in Carl Jocumsen told me that he would have a tough to decision to make about today.
“I’ve got to decide whether or not I want to go to the bank, early and when it’s windy, or go see if they are firing out deep.”
By the looks of BASSTrakk the deep bite is indeed firing. The scoreboard shows him with two keepers in the livewell, both caught within six minutes apart and weighing 3-0 and 4-0. That has him in the lead.
Offshore experience led Jocumsen to fishing a jig on the bottom.
“When it’s cloudy the fish like the jig on the bottom,” he said. “They will be looking down, as opposed to sunny conditions when they will be looking up and seeing the shadows of the baitfish.”
The good news for Jocumsen is he is getting plenty of sun and wind. He determined the wind repositioned the fish.
With that pattern in place, he went looking to expand his pattern, searching to duplicate the strategy elsewhere.
If Scott Canterbury ultimately wins the Toyota Angler of the Year title, he will look back upon his last hour on Lake Tenkiller yesterday as crucial. He was in the last flight, so he had a 4 p.m. check in time. At 3 p.m., while the first flight was checking in, Canterbury had four bass that "probably weighed less than four pounds."
Canterbury culled those four small bass with five that weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces, during the final hour. It gave him a two-day total of 17-8 and, most importantly, kept him above the top 35 cut-line, in a tie for 28th place.
"I'm just trying to figure out how to catch a bass," said Canterbury, who came into this event with 19-point AOY lead over second place Drew Cook. "It's so hard out there. (Friday) was such a grind."
Of that last hour when he culled up to 8-9, Canterbury said, "It was really important and unbelievable how I was blessed today."
If he had weighed-in four pounds, he would have finished somewhere between 45th and 50th in this tournament. As it stands now, Canterbury lives to fight another day. AOY points aren't earned until an angler's final place in the standings is determined. And Canterbury has at least one more day to earn some critical AOY points.
In a tournament where less than two pounds separates the top six places, and Frank Talley moved from 42nd to 9th with a 14-pound, 8-ounce bag yesterday, anything is possible today.
It will be a little breezy on Tenkiller today as we'll have a frontal system approaching from the west. The latest high-resolution models show that much of the activity will stay well west of the lake today, but there is a small chance that a few scattered showers and storms make it into the area. At this point, chances are around 20%. Skies will be overcast to start with temperatures around 70 degrees at take-off, but those clouds will decrease somewhat through the fishing day allowing for some sunshine at times. Highs will top out around 83 degrees. Winds will be out of the south at 10-15 MPH with gusts up to 20 MPH possible. Dewpoints will stay in the lower 70s.
The front moves in on Sunday which will bring a much greater risk of showers and thunderstorms. There is a marginal risk of severe storms with damaging winds up to 60 MPH and hail up to 1-inch in diameter as the main threats. The stronger storms may hold off until the latter half of the fishing day. Skies will generally be mostly cloudy with temperatures starting off in the lower 70s and rising to the upper 70s for the high. Winds will be out of the south to the south-southwest at 10-15 MPH with gusts up to 20 MPH possible. Chance of rain will be around 60% and dewpoints will stay in the lower 70s.
Despite a drastic overnight weather change, not much changed in the overall totals from Day 1 to Day 2 in the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller.
On Day 1, the 75 anglers weighed-in 42 five-bass limits and 291 bass totaling 571 pounds, 6 ounces. On Day 2, there were 39 limits and 298 bass totaling 573 pounds, 8 ounces.
However, the anglers who caught them were where the big changes occurred. Half the top 10 on Friday weren't in the top 10 Thursday, including new leader Chris Zaldain, who was 13th on Day 1, and Frank Talley, who moved all the way from 42nd place to 9th with the big bag of the day, which weighed 14-8.
The 35th place Day 2 cut weight remained amazingly consistent. Jeff Gustafson was tied for 35th on Day 1 with 8-0 pounds. He caught 8-5 Friday and took 35th-place with 16-5.
It's difficult to make any kind of an educated guess about what today's 35th-place/Day 2 cut weight will be. There was a two-way tie on Day 1 for 35th place between Ed Loughran III and Jeff Gustafson with 8 pounds even. Based on what's been visible on "Bassmaster LIVE" and the ever-changing weather, which now includes patches of blue sky, it seems tougher than yesterday.
So my uneducated guess is 15 pounds. And the biggest question of all in the Toyota Angler of the Year race is this: Will leader Scott Canterbury make the cut today? Canterbury has finished no lower than 22nd place in only one tournament this season, when he was 49th at Lake Fork.