Wendlandt is feeling it

Clark Wendlandt has fished professionally for 28 years. The 53 year old Texan has fished many Championship Sundays, including an incredible run at FLW where he won three AOY titles.

But this is only his second year on the Elite Series and he doesn’t own a blue trophy yet.

“I feel awesome,” he said a few minutes ago. “There’s more fish here than I thought. That’s a big deal for me.”

Wendlandt has culled twice in the past 30 minutes. It looks like he may be staying on this spot for a while.

Keep in mind, Wendlandt finished third in the AOY Championship on Lake St. Clair last September

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Slow start for Cody Hollen

Cody Hollen has been off to a slow start this morning, but finally got on the board with this 4 pounder. Hollen had been trolling around, throwing a drop shot with no luck for about an hour... Then, he decided to switch to a chartreuse crank bait, and on the first cast, he hooked up with this nice smallmouth. Hollen is relying a little more on the crank bait now as he searches for 4 more fish to add to the live well.

Cox hates the lake

John Cox told me yesterday after the weigh-in that he was considering starting Championship Sunday on Lake Sr. Clair. But he also said he didn’t want to.

“I would rather not catch fish than fish in the lake, “Cox said.

This morning however he told me before blast off that he was going to fish in the lake if it was calm. It was and he headed to his lake spot, but then changed his mind.

But he off and headed right back to the stretches of the St. Clair River he’s fished all week.

“I was going to go, and then I said I’m going to the river, “Cox said. “I was going to go to the lake, and then I said, ‘ I’m going to the river,’” Cox said.

He’s only got one 3-pounder in the live well. And he is moving around a lot.

At some point, he’s likely to make a long run up the river.

I might go to (Lake) Huron,” cox said yesterday. “I’ve got a place where it’s just one cast but I caught 5-pounders there during practice.“

At some point, he’s likely to make a long run up the river.
I might go to (Lake) Huron,” cox said yesterday. “I’ve got a place where it’s just one cast but I caught 5-pounders there during practice.“

Wendlandt has limit at 7:38

On Friday Clark Wendlandt has a limit of 20 pounds by 7:40. “This might be the most fun I’ve had in a tournament,” he said then. “I’m not even worrying.”

Today might be more fun for the Texan. He had his limit of five fish by 7:38 today. BASSTrakk shows him with 18 pounds—three 4 pounders and two 3 pounders. We suspect he actually has more than 20 pounds.

“As an angler you never want to over estimate your fish,” Wendlandt said earlier in the week. Friday he weighed in 4 pounds more than he showed in BASSTrakk.

 

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Wendlandt off to a fast start

Clark Wendlandt started Championship Sunday fishing the same flat that’s only about a mile from Metro Park. This area has a few subtle drops, only about a foot, that channel current through the area. If you drive by at 20 miles an hour you’d never notice them. Wendlandt did, and it’s paying off for him again today.

The Elite veteran from Cedar Park, Texas, has three smallmouth in his livewell for more than 10 pounds. Wendlandt caught them all on a
dropshot.

Earlier this week Wendlandt was catching most of his fish on a crankbait. We’ll see if he goes back to it in a bit.

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A B.A.S.S. first: Two Oregonians in final

Yes, there's an international flavor to this final day at Lake St. Clair with Canadian anglers Cory and Chris Johnston and Japanese pro Taku Ito making the top 10. But we've seen that before. In the last Elite Series tournament, Ito and Cory Johnston made the top 10 at Lake Champlain. The week before that, Chris Johnston won and Ito was sixth at the St. Lawrence River. What's never happened before is two anglers from Oregon making an Elite Series final.

"That's never happened," said Jay Yelas, the 2002 Bassmaster Classic champ from Lincoln City, Oregon. "There's never been two Oregonians in the top 10 of a Bassmaster tournament. A lot of our friends back home are pretty excited. They've been calling me. They're cheering for us."

The other half of "us" is, of course, 36-year-old Cody Hollen of Beaverton, Oregon.

Recapping Wendlandt’s season

Clark Wendlandt is in an enviable position five tournaments into the Elite season. He’s first in Angler of the Year points, with a 7 point lead over Taku Ito.

He’s had three top 10 finishes: 8th at Eufaula, 8th at St. Laurence, and he’s currently 4th in the YETI Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair, just 1 pound and an ounce behind the leader John Cox.

He was 16th at the St. Johns River, and 46th at Lake Champlain.

To lead AOY an angler can have a tournament or two that is not perfect. It certainly helps if that “off” tourney leads to a 46 rather than an 81st place.

Wendlandt is continuing his strong early starts here at St. Clair with two smallmouth in his livewell already.

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It’s another beautiful day on St. Clair.

It’s another beautiful day on St. Clair. We are with Clark Wendlandt today.

He’s on a spot where he’s been catching a decent limit early each day.

We are hoping they come early again. Nothing like smallmouth jumping with the sun peeking over the horizon.

Wendlandt knows he has to catch a big sack today. In one of the closest finals in a while and on a lake where you know virtually everyone will catch 20-pounds, you have to have the day of your career to walk away with the title here.

The setting or back stop is perfect for that.

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First Cast Bass. Good or bad?

Most anglers will have a superstition or two while on the water competing. Some don’t want bananas in the boat, some don’t get gas in the morning before a tournament and others don’t want to catch one on their first cast. Well I don’t really think it bothers Jake Whitaker that he caught a 4 pounder on his first cast of the day for Championship Sunday at Lake St. Clair. He started the day only 3-11 behind and in 9th place. This 4-0 has him started off in the right direction whether it was his first or 100th cast. Whitaker has learned a little more each day about St. Clair and as a result his weight has risen each day. He had 18-7 on Day 1 (34th), 21-10 on Day 2 (16th) and he brought 22-6 on Day 3 (9th) to qualify for today. Can he make the comeback today? We will see, but first cast is a good start

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It's all about the 5-pound bite

Cory Johnston summed it up as simply as possible, saying, "It's a matter of getting a couple of 5-pound bites. Everyone is around quality fish. But you've got to have a little luck or you've got to do something different to get those above average fish."

There's no better example than John Cox remaining atop the leaderboard for the third straight day. Cox struggled almost all day long. But he got well near the end of the day with a 5-pound, 11-ounce smallmouth. That went a long way in keeping Cox in the lead, granted it's only by an ounce over Johnston and Cody Hollen.

"I probably caught 30 fish (Saturday), I don't know, probably more," Johnston said. "I've only had one other 5-pound bite (in the tournament). Today I got two of them. I'm around 4-pounders. It's about getting a couple of 5-pounders."

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