Hank Cherry won the last B.A.S.S. tournament he fished, which was, of course, the Bassmaster Classic. He started slow in this one. Cherry was tied for 41st place after Day 1 at Lake Eufaula with 16-15. He made the top 40 cut in 34th place with 16-1 yesterday. Cherry has heated up this morning. He already has a limit weighing 15-8, which includes a 6-pounder.
After Elite Series rookie Kyle Welcher described the various methods and depths he fished in compiling a 20-pound, 15-ounce limit yesterday, which has him in fourth place after two days, he was asked how he'd form a game plan for today.
"Oh, there is no plan," laughed Welcher. "The only plan I want is where I'm going to start. I start there, and if the wind starts blowing, I might hit this. If there's clouds, I might hit this. I just wait and make decisions throughout the day. That's what I like to do. I don't ever plan out four or five stops or what I'm going to do. I just ride by something, and I see it on the bank or see it on the graph and go hit it."
Welcher supported himself as a professional poker player previously. In essence, he's tournament fishing the same way: There is no plan until you see what cards are in your hand. Welcher said he caught fish as deep as 20 feet and as shallow as 14 to 16 inches yesterday.
"I'm junk fishing, a hundred percent," he said. "Not so much junk fishing with baits, I'm junk fishing with structure. I'm throwing the same baits, just to all kinds of different crap."
Of his five-bass limit yesterday, Welcher said two came on a topwater lure, two came on a plastic worm and one came on a creature bait.
Jake Whitaker, who started the third day of the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula in second place, just landed first keeper that goes about 2 pounds.
“Hopefully we’ll get rid of him later,” he said.
The Elite Series veteran is working a frog in pockets off the main lake, and he missed one bass earlier.
Yesterday at weigh-in Jamie Hartman talked about making key adjustments to his presentation. The reason why was the change in wind direction, from the south to the north.
"The wind changed and totally repositioned my fish."
By that, he meant how the bass are relating to his area. Precision casts are a must. Anything off target gets ignored. For now, it looks like Hartman has it dialed in.
Hartman told me that he is still learning his area, that it has such great potential that he is acquiring more knowledge of what makes it tick.
"I've got to refind them again. They probably moved about 40 yards. When you are fishing deep, in 24 feet of water, that is a long way. To find them again, means I must hunt and peck."
Hartman said the process worked like this yesterday. He moved around and caught one or two, and then kept moving until he hooked up consistently with multiple fish. That didn't pan all the way out like he wished.
"Maybe with the wind changing it will keep them in one place, and they will start bunching up."
Hartman is fishing one large school of bass, and yesterday vacated the spot after catching what he estimated to be 14 pounds.
"All I wanted to do was catch enough to stay in the game, then let it rest."
So far, so good.
Scott Canterbury started Day 3 fishing out deep, but he only spent 15 minutes doing that, then headed into a small cove where he caught his first bass of the day, three and a half pounder. It was caught on a top water bait.
That cove happened to be where the Humminbird plant has its boat house, with the plant just up the hill. Eufaula is where Humminbirds are manufactured, they test products right here on the lake, and they do customer service here as well.
Canterbury said he didn’t go shallow yesterday until 1:00, when he proceeded to catch three good fish in an hour.
“This one was a bonus,” he said. “Now I’m going to go fish my brush piles.”
Seth Feider was boat No. 14 in the Day 3 takeoff, which began at 5:25 a.m. Central Daylight Time. And he was the first angler with a keeper in the boat - at 5:37 a.m. If you're following BASSTrakk, you know it's spinning, spinning, spinning - spinning like a spinning top, just like it has at the start of the two previous days on Lake Eufaula.
As for Feider, he'd added two more 2-pound keepers by 6:04. And four anglers had four keepers by 6:35. Third verse, same of the first two at Lake Eufaula.
After making a couple of stops along the way, Zoom Pro, Brandon Cobb, boats his first fish to start the day! The Greenwood, SC native is coming off his first appearance in the Bassmaster Classic back in March.
Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Neil Paul
Lake Eufaula continued to display its healthy bass population, and a shallow bite in particular, on Day 2 of the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite. Another nine bags topping 20 pounds were weighed to go with the 15 from Day 1. Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., had the biggest — 22 pounds, 15 ounces. His two-day total is 43-5.
"I would have bet you a million dollars that this tournament could not be won shallow for four days," said Arey, who was in 13th place on Day 1. "It very well might not be. But if the water keeps coming up, I could see it being a key player."
Arey had a key shallow catch — a 6-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that bit a frog. And he had a story to go with it.
"It was late in the day and I had been bouncing back and forth from shallow to deep, shallow to deep," he said. "I rolled up in a pocket, and it looked right. It had the right ingredients for what's going on. I started seeing bream instantly. I saw this fish cruising, and I could tell it was a big one."
Arey cast a topwater frog to the bass and his lure caught over a piece of grass. He twitched it off the grass.
"I'm glad I could see her," Arey said. "She grabbed the legs of the frog and pulled it down, then sucked it in after that. If I hadn't seen it, I would have jerked when the frog disappeared."
Among the top five on Thursday's leaderboard, Arey, as mentioned, was in 13th place on Day 1, second place Jake Whitaker (41-10) was in 8th, third place Scott Canterbury (41-9) was 11th, fourth place Kyle Welcher (41-2) was 15th and fifth place Caleb Kuphall was 23rd. All that movement on the leaderboard indicates this tournament is wide open after the field was cut to the top 40 anglers Thursday.
Tyler Carriere with a wild catch deep in the brush using the boat as a battering ram to get to the fish. Carriere is still looking for a limit.