Welcher is on a winning streak

Kyle Welcher knows how to play the cards when he's on a hot streak. The Elite Series rookie has supported himself in recent years as a professional gambler. He seems to have a knack for how to play his luck in pro bass fishing too. Welcher landed this 5-pounder at 11:19 to take the unofficial lead on Day 2 at Lake Eufaula.

The 27-year-old resident of nearby Opelika, Ala., has lots of experience at this lake, although little of it has been in June over the years. Welcher was one of the 15 anglers who sacked over 20 pounds yesterday. He's close to 20 pounds again today. Welcher had one of the highlights of the Elite Series opener in February at the St. Johns River with a 10-pound, 1-ounce big bass of the tournament, where he finished 8th.

"I like to keep the stress of winning or losing a lot of money out of my life and gamble on the front of this boat now," said Welcher of his new career on the Elite Series.

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We were bad luck for Bill Lowen

This morning Steve Bowman and I covered Bill Lowen for about four hours and captured him catching four bass for about 10 pounds. After a very long dry spell, during which Lowen dropped out of first place and deep into the BASSTrakk standings, we decided to head out and focus on anglers who were catching em.

Lowen and his cameraman Wes Miller claimed we were giving them bad luck and said they were glad to see us go. Sure enough, they were right. A few minutes after we left, Lowen landed a 5 pound bass, moving back near the top of the leaderboard. I was disappointed we missed it. Bowman was happy for Bill. Not sure what that says about our personalities.

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Whitaker back in contention quickly

We're seeing lots of this today - anglers getting right in a hurry. Jake Whitaker is the latest example. Four of his five keepers have come since 10:50. He caught 13-pounds, 12 ounces in 33 minutes to surge back into contention. BASSTrakk shows Whitaker in 4th place at 11:15 with 15-12 on the day and 36-14 for the tournament.The 2018 Elite Series Rookie of the Year was 8th on Day 1 with 21-2.

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DeMarion lands a 6-pounder

Elite Series rookie Destin DeMarion caught a limit yesterday. However, it was the lightest limit of the day at Lake Eufaula, totaling 9 pounds, 4 ounces. DeMarion is on what he needs today. The Grove City, Pa., angler caught this 6-pounder at 10:21. DeMarion has a limit weighing 15-4 today.

Rookie Kuphall staying strong

Elite Series rookie Caleb Kuphall had a good first day on Lake Eufaula, finishing 23rd with 18-12. He's backing it up with another solid day so far. The 3-plus-pounder shown here is one of three 3-pounders in a 15-4 limit that has moved him up to 12th place today, unofficially.

The 37-year-old Mukwonago, Wis., resident qualified for the Elite Series and the 2020 Bassmaster Classic through the Central Opens last year, when he won at Alabama's Smith Lake and finished second on Missouri's Grand Lake. Kuphall was 19th at the Lake Guntersville Classic in March.

Pipkens catching 'em in flurries

Chad Pipkens was one of 15 anglers who topped the 20-pound mark at Lake Eufaula yesterday. He finished in 10th place with 20-13. And he's well on his way to topping 20 again today. The Lansing, Mich., resident, who is in his eighth year on the Elite Series, is in first place on the BASSTrakk unofficial leaderboard with a two-day total of 37-3. Pipkens has caught 16 bass in the first four hours today, and he's been catching them in flurries offshore. His best two - a 4 1/2-pounder and a 3 1/2 - came within 15 minutes of each other at 9 o'clock.


Pipkens culling up

Chad Pipkens was landing a cull fish when we pulled up to him, and after shooting some shots of him releasing a bass we joked about him hooking the fish while I was too far away.

“I’ve caught 10 fish in a row,” Pipkens said. “Just nothing big.”

On his next cast, the Elite Series veteran bowed up on what turned out to be a 3 1/2-pounder - allowing him to cull up again.

Hartman reels in “chandelier” with No. 5

It’s against the Elite Series rules to use a multi-lure bait, like an Alabama rig. But there’s nothing against the rules about catching a bass that has an Alabama rig - and a few feet of braided line - attached to it. As you can see in this video, Jamie Hartman was surprised when he looked down and saw a “chandelier” coming to the boat with his fifth keeper this morning, which he hooked on a plastic worm.

Carriere chooses shallow, obviously

After three days of practice this week at Lake Eufaula, it was obvious you could catch bass shallow and you could catch 'em deep. And there are Elite Series anglers doing both during the tournament. As is obvious from this photo, Tyler Carriere of Youngsville, La., has chosen shallow.

Carriere had a solid Day 1, with a 15-pound, 5-ounce limit. It left him in 59th place on a day when 83 of the 86 anglers weighed a five-bass limit.

Lowen continues to focus shallow

This morning Steve Bowman and I are following Day 1 leader Bill Lowen. The Indiana pro had 23 pounds and 4 ounces of bass yesterday.

Today he’s continuing his shallow water focus, despite most of the field following the conventional Lake Eufaula wisdom (for this time of year) and fishing deeper.

BASSTrakk is showing Lowen with three bass and 6 pounds 10 ounces in the livewell. Right now he’s fishing a little island that is chock full of squawking birds; snowy white egrets, blue heron and cormorants are all protesting his presence.

Yesterday Lowen caught most of his fish between 8:30 and 2:00.Lowen continues to focus shallow.

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