“I haven’t caught a fish on a crankbait since the first day.”
But just as I typed that last sentence he picked up a crankbait and fired it into the waters of Lake Eufaula. Got to keep these bass honest.
Scott Canterbury just boated his second keeper, a 3 and a half pound
bass which gives him 6-8 so far today.
On BASSTrakk Jamie Hartman has popped ahead of him by 5 ounces. But
there are seven hours of fishing time left and if today is anything
like yesterday, the lead will change often.
Shane LeHew caught the biggest bag of the first three days of the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula. The problem was his 25-pound, 1-ounce five-bass limit was reduced by two pounds due to a penalty. During a flurry of catches the 31-year-old Catawba, N.C. pro lost count of the fish in his livewells. When he realized he had six, he called tournament director Trip Weldon to report the mistake, thus the two-pound penalty.
As he told his roommate and fishing partner Brandon Cobb, "This was the worst best day I've ever had, if that makes any sense."
It cost LeHew a spot in Saturday's Top 10 final. LeHew's three-day total of 56-9, after the penalty, was only four ounces behind Buddy Gross's 10th place total. LeHew would have been seventh going into the final without the penalty.
"I've never done that before in the 15 years I've been fishing," LeHew said. It may not have happened to him before, but it's something that happens about a half-dozen times a year on the Elite Series.
"I was on a place where I caught one bass yesterday," LeHew said. "I hadn't really thrown a crankbait. I picked up a Berkley Dredger, just a 14-foot diver. I was fishing a place that came up to 11 (feet deep) and dropped off to 14
"I went to catching 'em every single cast. I guess in that massive flurry I forgot to cull."
While LeHew won't be fishing tomorrow, his 25-pound bag indicates what's possible during Saturday's final. And it included the big bass of the day, a 7-pound, 4-ounce bass that was just one ounce shy of the big bass of the tournament so far. There were 15 bags over 20 pounds weighed on Day 1, 10 on Day 2 and another five caught on Day 3, when the field was reduced to the top 40 anglers.
While leader Scott Canterbury's 4-pound, 3-ounce lead over second place Caleb Kuphall makes Canterbury the favorite Saturday, Shane LeHew gave the rest of the top 10 proof that anything can happen.
We caught up with Brad Whatley and the Texan with the excellent Fu Manchu mustache said he’s had a tough day so far with about 10 pounds in the livewell.
But overall he was feeling good about fishing on Day 3.
“It’s been a good tournament, decent I’d say. I wish I had caught 22 pound out of that big school I found on Day 1.”
Whatley had a good practice and was catching fish shallow. But he hasn’t been able to replicate that pattern during the tournament. He’s currently in 35th place in BASSTrakk.
He told us he saw a giant Asian carp jump out of the water and asked if we had seen them as well. The answer was no.
Whatley is leaving Eufaula in the morning driving to Muskogee, Oklahoma, to compete in the Central Open on the Arkansas River.
Travel safe Brad and good luck in Oklahoma!
Shane LeHew told me he caught 10 bass in a row just before I pulled up in him. And BASSTrakk showed him just out of the Top 10.
“That’s a 2-pound penalty,” LeHew said. “That probably cost me a chance at making the Top 10.”
Alabama pro Wes Logan is fishing in his second Elite tournament and was 35th in the Day 2 leaderboard. He has 14 pounds in the livewell so far today.
“After the practice I had I’m tickled to death with how this tournament is working out,” he said. “I probably had the worst practice I’ve ever had. I was trying to do too much at one time.”
That may be the rookie curse for an Elite angler fishing in his home state. They may have more knowledge than they know what to do with.
There’s no rest for the weary. Logan will leave directly from here driving to Muskogee, Oklahoma for the Central Open #1.