Sumrall in the marsh

I haven’t had a chance to talk with Caleb Sumrall today, but he eased deep into a ditch in the marsh before Bill Lowen reached it. 

Lowen fished the mouth of the cut, missing a fish before moving on.

Sumrall fished his way out of the marsh, and just boated a bass right in the mouth of the ditch - exactly where Lowen swung and missed.

Palmer on the board

Luke Palmer is on the board after 30 minutes of fishing as seen in the LIVE video. 

His first keeper looked to be 2-pounds and small change. That’s a good start here. He caught a little way from his primary stretch.

With no boats around he’s spreading his wings a bit and it’s paying off.

The best is yet to come for Lowen

Day 2 Leader Bill Lowen made the long run to the Cooper River this morning, and began working a tributary off the main river with a spinnerbait, a swim bait and a soft-plastic pitching bait. He is sharing the bayou with fellow XPress Boats pro Dale Hightower and Caleb Sumrall.

But Lowen just broke the ice with a small keeper.

“It probably isn’t even a pound,” Lowen said. “But it was a keeper.”

He’s also missed a couple of strikes, but he said the best is yet to come. As seen in Day 2 photo gallery.

“We’ve got about an hour before it gets good,” Lowen said.

Wind and current

Wind and current. That’s what Bill Lowen described as his perfect day. He is getting plenty of current from the tide but might be out of luck with the wind. Right now the only thing stirring in his area are the biting gnats enjoying the windless morning.

“Where I am fishing the water is really clear so the wind is a tremendous help. When the wind is blowing on that clear water it creates a ripple on the surface.”

As a result it doesn’t let the fish see as well so they react more to the lure than being wary of the bait. 

“Today what I really need is a little bit of wind to go with the current created by the tide."

Palmer wishing for wind

Luke Palmer has made it to his bank that has produced so many keepers for him the last two days

Not long after he got here, he set the hook. But came up with a miss. Every day he has traveled the same 150 yard stretch and in most passes, he’s had a bite or caught a keeper.

He’s fishing slow and he’s on his second pass of the morning, but still no keepers.

Unlike the other days, he’s the only angler in the area. Like us, when he passed the full parking lot at the nearby ramp, he thought there would be 25 boats sitting here. None seem interested at the moment. The only distraction is the 25 million noseeums buzzing around every orifice.

He’s wishing for a little of the wind that created the rough rides the last two days.

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Tidal waters produce heroes, zeroes

Todd Auten didn't zero on Day 1 at Winyah Bay, but he weighed-in only one bass. It left him in 72nd place in the 75-man Elite Series field. Auten rallied with third-largest bag of the tournament's first two days - 15 pounds, 10 ounces - on Day 2. He made the biggest jump in the standings Friday, leaping 43 places to 29th.

"Going from zero to hero," Auten said. "I think that's the nature of tidal fishing."

That "zero-to-hero" nature of tidal fisheries was illustrated up and down the leaderboard yesterday. Lee Livesay's 17-3 biggest bag of the tournament vaulted him 41 places up the standings from 44th to 3rd. Chris Johnston jumped 31 places from 53rd to 21st with 13-4. Harvey Horne didn't make the top 35 cut, but he moved 30 places up the standings from 74th to 44th with 15-10. Like Auten, Horne weighed-in only one keeper on Day 1.

On the "zero" side of the ledger, veteran tidal fisheries angler Greg DiPalma of Millville, N.J., was in 14th place with 11-1 on Day 1. He fell 31 places to 45th on Day 2 with four bass weighing 5-15. Garrett Paquette almost fell out of the cut after finishing 6th on Day 1. He starts today in 34th place. Skylar Hamilton dropped 32 places, from 23rd to 55th.

The big lesson in tidal waters is that past performance doesn't ensure future results - good or bad. Five of the anglers who finished in the top 10 yesterday, weren't there after Day 1, including, of course, Livesay and Bill Weidler, who jumped from 37th to 8th. 

Further illustrating the zero-to-hero tidal fisheries theme were the 2016 Elite Series results at Winyah Bay. In the top 10 after three days were only three anglers who started there. And three who made the top 10 started the tournament in the 60s after Day 1.

 There will undoubtedly be more "heroes and zeroes" today at Winyah Bay.

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Just like practice for Shryock

Meanwhile, somewhere in the flood-swollen Santee River is Hunter Shryock. He’s punted the game plan that worked so far because of the rising water. The reason why are the current breaks created by eddy water on the falling tide has moved farther back into the inundated forests where Shryock is fishing. 

“The water is rising so quick that all of my areas from early in the week don’t have the same eddy water. The fish are moving to the next softer current area. The fish don’t want to be that far back in the woods, because they want to be closer to the channel.” 

What to do next? 

“I am throwing everything out and treating it like a practice day. My goal today is to run a lot of new water, be the guy who makes the most casts out of the entire field of 35 anglers. If I just catch five bass those will be quality fish.” 

Yesterday that logic worked. Shryock caught three quality fish while running water in areas he’d never fished until then. The good news is Shryock has the entire river to explore and find new water.

Tacoronte's game plan

Jesse Tacoronte was boat number five going out this morning and he planned to take advantage of it. Destination is the Cooper River region where he is sharing water with other top anglers.

“Hopefully I should be by 8:35 (an hour and 35 minute run) so I’ll have it to myself for about 20 minutes.”

Tacoronte was not trying to be stingy about the shared water. He described the atmosphere as how everyone is working together for the same common goal.

“I am sharing a community hole and the guys who are there all know what each other is doing. The goal is to respect each other and work together. When we get there and Power-Pole down we are fishing so close that we can hand each other a bottled water. At the end of the day there is no arguing. We are all just trying to get to Championship Sunday.

What else is playing in favor of Tacoronte and his peers is the tide.

“It’s going to be all outgoing so that makes it right,” he continued. “When it bottoms out I am going to pack up and get out of there.”

He added, “When it the tide turns it can make the waves stand up and I don’t want to deal with it.”

Not wanting to deal with it has everything to do with the neck surgery Tacoronte had last year. 

“I don’t want to mess up my neck or my back, so it’s not out of the question for me to leave a little early.”

Where is the wind?

There are a couple things that are different today than from the two previous.

The most obvious is lack of wind. The anglers in this bay-like area might be able to actually see fish on beds today. That’s not been likely before.

But the real issue with no wind is the swarms of sand gnats or hydrilla gnats or as Johnston puts “aggravating sons of .....”

And they are aggravating. It might be hard to watch them on “Live” through the clouds of them. That’s an over statement, but they are going to be a pain.

I know now why no other anglers are here.