Walters swinging for the fence today

Elite Series rookie Patrick Walters was considered one of the pre-tournament favorites at Winyah Bay. He and a partner won a college regional tournament here in 2017. He lives in Summerville, S.C., only 20 minutes from the Cooper River. Walters has stayed in the hunt through two days, entering today in 15th place.

Barring a collapse, Walters will be leading the Toyota Angler of the Year standings after this tournament. He has posted finishes of 4th at the St. Johns River, 22nd at Lake Lanier and 11th at Lake Hartwell.

If he's going to make a run at this trophy, he's going to have to hit a 15- to 17-pound "home run" today. And he planned to swing for the fence, starting with running way up the Cooper River.

"I got on something later (Friday)," he said. "I lost a 4-pounder on a frog. If I can get on my frog bite, things will kick off. But that bite has to be on or you're going to go up there and catch 8 pounds."

Walters has his 8 pounds, plus a bit. BASSTrakk shows him with 9 1/2-pounds at 12:30 p.m. But as far as he is up the Cooper River, Walters probably doesn't have much fishing time remaining.

A limit for Palmer

Luke Palmer has just finished his limit. He should have around 9 pounds and change.

The last one was just a limit filler. He had just come off the mega bed in the back of a pocket, feeling a little frustrated that neither of the big fish would bite.

Back on his way to his primary area he caught that one.

He’s hoping the big fish will still be there tomorrow and it will be his first stop in the morning if he stays in the top 10.

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Palmer finds his power

Luke Palmer was on the way to a bed with two big fish on it when he ran across another bed.

He quickly got into position. Tossed his offering into the bed. A hook set later and he had broken off.

But he quickly re-grouped. After a half dozen casts, almost all of them that can back without the soft plastic lure, he boated the fish he had broken off on.

And on the next he caught his twin. Both were in the 1 1/2 pound range. He should be in the 7-pound range with four fish. And he’s yet to get to the bed with the big ones on it.

He’s currently rigging up for that trip.

With a slight ripple and tide movement, he’s hoping those better fish will be in a biting mood like the last two he just caught.

Kreiger seeing more spawners

Koby Kreiger caught the biggest bass of Day 2. It weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and came off a spawning bed, like two others he weighed-in yesterday and two of his five on Day 1.

"There seems to be more fish spawning now than there was three or four days ago," Kreiger said Friday, after weighing-in 12-11 and moving up from 34th place to 14th.

Kreiger is fishing north of Georgetown, primarily in the Waccamaw River. He noted that finding bass on spawning beds can't be done all day long on these tidal waters, saying, "There's a very short window, maybe two hours, three hours tops, where you can see them if you're in the right area where they're spawning."

Kreiger's 20-place move up the standings Friday is a prime example of how important a big fish is here. The difference in his five bass weighing 8-11 on Day 1 and his five bass weighing 12-11 on Day 2 was that 6 1/2-pounder Friday in place of a 2 1/2-pounder Thursday.

The 51-year-old Alva, Fla., resident has another difference-maker is his livewell today - a 4-pounder in his 10-pound limit that has moved him to 4th place on BASSTrakk at 11:30 a.m.

Palmer with second keeper

Luke Palmer just added his second fish the livewell.

Moments after worrying the fish wouldn’t bite and making the decision to head toward the two bedding fish, he hooks up with a 2 1/2 pounder on his favorite bank.

That should give him a little more than 4 pounds, although BASSTrakk is showing him lighter than that.

This is actually the first time he’s been down his bank with the tide moving out and a small ripple on the water.

While typing that he swung and missed one. Things might be firing up for Palmer.

 

"Turtle" Lowen going slow

Bill Lowen's nickname is "Turtle," and it's fitting for the way he's been successful not only this week at Winyah Bay, but last week in his 7th place finish at Lake Hartwell.

"They want my bait moving really slow," said Lowen, after his second-straight 13-pounds-plus day moved him into first place Friday. "Just like last week with that buzzbait, they wanted it as slow as you could get it to go. My spinnerbait (this week) is no different. They want it high in the water column, and they want it slow. If I burn it along, I don't get a bite. But if I fish it slow and float it around the grass, they'll flush it like a toilet bowl."

Lowen didn't make the run to the Cooper River in 2016 when he finished 34th. And in an angler survey question prior to the season, Lowen voted to make the Cooper River off-limits in order to keep the playing field more Winyah Bay oriented. He's now glad he was out-voted on that issue.

"Be careful what you wish for," said Lowen with a smile.

Lowen working the beds

Bill Lowen saw a bass running shad on the bank, tossed a Fluke to it and broke off. Then he noticed a 3-pounder on a bed right next to the boat.

He worked the bed for about 15 minutes until the bass started “acting funny” and the pro moved on. “It didn’t help that I got right up on it,” he said. “It was a good one.”

He now has three small bass in the livewell, but he said he would probably have a limit if the wind would blow as it has the last two days. “I need (the wind) to make them commit,” Lowen said. “You don’t know how many fish have come up behind my bait. A lot.”

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Palmer moving on

Luke Palmer stayed on that bed for exactly 30 minutes without a sniffle of a bite.

He’s leaving now and there’s still two big fish on the bed. He can see them. But evidently they ain’t playing at the moment.

He did say at one point, “this would be a lot easier if I had 10 or 11 pounds in the boat.”

We guess that thought is working on him. He’s moving off and getting on his primary bank. But it’s a good bet we will be back.

Paquette on the upswing today

Garrett Paquette experienced one of those tidal fisheries yo-yos on his first two days at Winyah Bay. The 24-year-old Elite Series rookie from Canton, Mich., was 6th on Day 1 with 12-8, then almost fell out of the top 35 cut on Day 2 with only two bass weighing 5-7.

Paquette is back on the upswing today, catching a limit in the first two hours and culling up. BASSTrakk shows him in 13th place at 10 a.m. with 8 pounds, 9 ounces today.

Palmer on the hunt

As we expected with the lack of wind, Luke “I am your father” Palmer has found a fish on the bed.

He made about 2 dozen casts to no avail, then moved on. He said the fish was 4 to 6 pounds. That’s a donkey in these parts.

He fished away from the fish for about 200 yards. But after saying “if I can catch that one I might not need to catch a whole lot more,” he turned and is now back on the bed.

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