Caged animals

Lee Livesay spoke the word about the mood of the guys as we go into the second hour of the fog delay.

"We are like a bunch of caged animals."

The thick fog is concentrated around the takeoff area. Meanwhile, the fog has dissipated elsewhere.

What's notable is practice is in full swing for the 230-boat amateur tournament set for later this week. That means the heat is already on in terms of fishing pressure. You've got to think that'll be a factor due to the delay.

At this point, I've got to think that guys like Matt Arey and those making the long run up into the Hiwassee River are thinking twice about doing that. Lost fishing time is now a must to reevaluate into the day's game plan.

Whitaker's comfort zone

Jake Whitaker has a proven history of success when fishing around marinas and boat docks. Call it a fishing strength, confidence factor or both. 

"The reason why I like docks during fall is the bait congregate in the larger marinas, using the boat slips and walkways for protection, as they migrate up the creeks," he said. "That, in turn, attracts the bass." 
Whitaker discovered three particular sweet spots in the marina where he is fishing. 
"I don't know what it is about those three slips, but it's where there is more bait and bass, than anywhere else." 
My hunch is the renters of those slips planted brushpiles for their own fishing pleasure. What else he noticed was the bass he caught had the white skin tones that are giveaways they came from deep water. That could be an indicator his spot is capable of reloading. As he catches and keeps fish, more move in. 
Also key is that Whitaker is capable of matching the tiny size of the shad being fed upon by the bass. He is casting a swimbait on a 1/8-ounce weight with a 1/0 hook. 
When I spoke with him this morning at the ramp, Whitaker was eager to hit the docks to find out if they reloaded, after he caught 11 pounds, 2 ounces, for an overall weight of 25-5. 

Wendlandt takes AOY tumble

David Mullins, 20th (21-4)

Clark Wendlandt could still be leading the Elite Series Angler of the Year race when this tournament is over. But he isn’t now, based on the Day 2 standings in the Guaranteed Rate Elite at Chickamauga Lake. AOY points are based solely on the final standings in each tournament. While Wendlandt’s total is final, new leader David Mullins could easily fall several places today in a tournament this volatile.

The asterisk in the chart below indicates the seven anglers who will be fishing on Day 3 at Chickamauga. They’ve all got room to rise and fall before this tournament is over and their AOY points become official.

For instance, if Mullins fell 15 places to 35th today, he’d earn 66 AOY points and have a season total of 606 – one point less than Wendlandt – going into the final tournament at Lake Fork in November.

The main point here is that the AOY race has tightened considerably. Wendlandt had a 47-point lead over Mullins and a 65-point lead over Austin Felix after Santee Cooper. And there will probably be a new AOY leader after this tournament. Lake Fork promises much drama in the 2020 Angler of the Year race.

After Santee CooperAfter Day 2 at Chickamauga
1. Clark Wendlandt 587 1. David Mullins 621* | 20th
2. Cory Johnston 550 2. Austin Felix 614* | 9th
3. David Mullins 540 3. Clark Wendlandt 607 | 81st
4. Drew Cook 528 4. Kyle Welcher 597* | 5th
5. Seth Feider 522 5. Jake Whitaker 593* | 4th
6. Austin Felix 522 6. Drew Cook 584 | 45th
7. Paul Mueller 515 7. Cory Johnston 584 | 67th
8. Taku Ito 515 8. Scott Canterbury 581* | 19th
9. Brock Mosley 509 9. Patrick Walters 581* | 10th

10. Micah Frazier 

509 10. Matt Arey 581* | 6th

Note: Ties in point totals are broken by the cumulative weights on full field days (Day 1 and 2) for the season.

Blaylock getting patience tested

Stetson Blaylock is getting his patience tested by the bass in Chickamauga Lake. So are the other 84 anglers in this tournament. After only 29 anglers weighed five-bass limits on Day 1, it dropped even further to 20 on Day 2.

But so far Blaylock has passed the patience test better than anyone else. He leads the Guaranteed Rate Elite at Chickamauga with 28 pounds, 1 ounce. John Cox, one of the many who didn't catch a limit Saturday, is second with 27-3. 

"This whole tournament is going to come down to how many times can you throw in the same spot without getting mad and leaving," said Blaylock. "If (the bass) are there, you've literally got to keep throwing and throwing and throwing, and then you'll get a bite."

The field was cut to the top 40 after Saturday's weigh-in. Chris Johnston took 40th place with a two-day total of 16-14. Only 11 anglers in the top 40 have caught limits both days.

Pipkens with a Chickamauga giant

Chad Pipkens, with about an hour left in his fishing day and one fish in the boat, pulled up on a place he hadnt fished all week, made one cast and hooked this Chickamauga Lake giant!

Pipkens, arguably one of the most positive anglers Ive been around, has kept telling me that were going to be fine. With one bass in the boat for most of the day, the Elite Series veteran kept sending positive vibes throughout the boat and it worked. 

It took a couple of minutes to land this giant on the spinning tackle and this definitely served as a game changer for Pipkens.

Clifford Pirch's clutch event

If you look up "Consistent Career" in the dictionary, it would probably say "Clifford Pirch's Elite Series resume."

That's simply put because Pirch has made the Bassmaster Classic every year he's fished the Bassmaster Elite Series. Every Classic since 2014, but his hopes were slowing fading after Santee Cooper. He wasn't sitting in a good position (58th) and was about 35 points from the last Classic spot. Pirch did well on a tough Chickamauga on Day 1 (21st, 4 for 11-0). He is backing it up today thus far. He pulled into 49th in AOY and was just 15 points or so from the Classic with half of Chickamauga and a full Lake Fork event left. Pirch just got his kicker bite on Day 2 and simply said "That just happened."

Pirch's Classic hopes aren't dashed yet, he is making a run at Chickamauga to close the gap entirely if he can.

Early Afternoon Pipkens Update

Its gonna happen! Pipkens has left the area of Chickamauga Lake where hes spent his Day 2 on a milk run of areas. The Damiki Trokar Pro says he has to have a lot of places to fish because he cant sit in one spot and fish. 

Pipkens has moved to an area where hes throwing a variety of spinning tackle in hopes of landing a finesse bite.

With the bite slow everywhere today, he may not need five fish to make it to Sunday but he doesnt want to have to sweat it out in the weigh in line.

On this date: 1992

October 17, 1992 marks the date that Larry Nixon became the first ever B.A.S.S. Millionaire. He did so at the 1992 Bassmaster Megabucks event at Lake Guntersville, 28 years ago. Nixon fished Bassmaster events from 1977 to 2006, 260 in total. He is the 1983 Bassmaster Classic Champion from the Ohio River. Nixon was known as Mr. Megabucks after winning and placing high in so many events. He has 14 wins and 12 second place finishes with B.A.S.S.

Speaking of the Bassmaster Millionaire's club, there are 61 total members of that feat. Two of the most recent entrants were David Fritts and Rick Morris. Fritts finished 45th at Guntersville and busted into the Million Dollar Club. Morris did so after making the cut at Lake Champlain earlier in 2020. 

The next two on the list who could do it would be Matt Herren and Hank Cherry. Herren needs roughly $20,000 and Cherry needs $33,000 or so to get it done. Cherry and Herren are both doing well in this event. Top finishes this week could put them over the top or cut their need in half.

Whatley needed this one

Brad Whatley had to be feeling pressure to perform coming into Chickamauga. He was in 41st place in the Angler of the Year standings - near the cut-line for Bassmaster Classic qualification. And Whatley appears to be thriving under pressure.

The 40-year-old Bivins, Texas, resident moved into the lead on BASSTrakk just before 2 p.m. Whatley started the day in 3rd place after weighing 15-12 yesterday. In another indication of how tough it is today, Whatley has taken the lead with only four bass weighing 8-4. His unofficial total is 24 pounds.