Seth Feider morning update

Seth Feider continues to grind through his day. The SIMMS TH Marine Pro has made some small upgrades to his Ballistic livewell and is hovering in the 13-pound range. 

Feider’s lost a couple of fish flipping the same grass line he’s been working all week. It’s hard to tell if they’d have helped him or not but you definitely don’t want to be losing fish on Saturday.

Feider finished 12th in the AOY in 2020 and is poised to fish his fourth Bassmaster Classic in just a few short weeks. Feider’s enjoyed success in his career with the Elite Series. In just 85 total events at B.A.S.S., Feider has 18 Top 10’s, 36 Top 20 finishes.

Once thought of as just a smallmouth angler, Feider loves to flip and admits, “At home, I gotta drive two hours to catch smallmouth. I can take my aluminum boat five minutes from the house and flip all day.”

Feider’s experienced a little bit of local boat traffic this morning but nothing too aggressive, and the only Elite Series Pro that we’ve seen in the area has been Feider’s friend and Kentucky Lake hammer, Matthew Robertson.

Crews rounding back into form

John Crews made the top 48/Day 2 cut by an ounce yesterday, finishing in 47th place with 27-6. The Day 2 standings are bunched so tight that everyone has a chance to qualify for Sunday’s top 10 final. Crews is making a bid to do so, thanks in part to the 5-pound, 3-ounce bass he landed at 7:54 a.m. The 42-year-old Elite Series veteran has moved up to 20th place in the BassTrakk standings with a limit weighing 13-15.

After suffering through an uncharacteristically tough 2020 season, where he finished 69th in the Angler of the Year standings, the 12-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier is back on his game. Crews entered this event ranked 26th in the AOY standings this season.

Kuphall not going away quietly

Caleb Kuphall, who has led this tournament from Day 1, has demonstrated why someone is going to have to take this tournament from him. He’s not giving it away. The Wisconsin native, who turned 38 years old on Tuesday, landed a 5-12 at 9:24.

“That’s a giant,” Kuphall (pronounced “koo-fall”) said. “That’s what we’re looking for. I don’t know why he dropped (the jig) the first time. It had to be the same fish.”

Kuphall followed that with a 4-4 minutes later. It gives him 18-14 today and he’s leading this tournament by just over 10 pounds, according to BassTrakk.

Christie makes key adjustment

If you’re competing against Jason Christie, here are the words you don’t want to hear: “I think I’ve figured out how to catch ‘em.” Christie was referring to a key adjustment he’s made this morning, switching from a wacky-rigged Yum Dinger, which was successful yesterday, to a drop shot-rigged Yum Warning Shot today. Christie finished Day 2 in 4th place. He’s got a limit this morning weighing 13-12 that has moved him up to 3rd place on BassTrakk, 4-7 behind leader Caleb Kuphall.

“They just get spooky after you catch one or two,” Christie said. “But they’re hitting it just as soon as it goes in (the water). I know how to catch ‘em, if I can just get around some big ones."

Jocumsen lands crucial 6-pounder

Six-pound bass are difference-makers at Lake Guntersville this week. Carl Jocumsen has one in his livewell this morning, and no one needs it more than the 36-year-old Australian native now living in Tennessee. Jocumsen is fighting to re-qualify for the Elite Series again next season. He desperately needs a high finish here. He rescued this tournament in the final hours on Day 1 after struggling most of the day. Yesterday he weighed 16-12 and moved into a three-way tie for 16th place with 31-0.

The weights were so bunched from 8th place to 32nd place after Day 2, separated by only 4 pounds, that Jocumsen could easily make Sunday’s top 10 final thanks to that 6-pounder this morning.

Jocumsen has shown he can compete with anyone on the Elite Series. He’s earned an Elite Series blue trophy at Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller in 2019. Jocumsen’s problem is consistency, and his 2021 season serves as the ultimate example: 21st St. Johns River, 87th Tennessee River, 98th Pickwick Lake, 55th Sabine River, 11th Lake Fork, 92nd Neely Henry.

Feider: “Today’s a big day."

While sitting in the boat this morning prior to takeoff, Seth Feider looked at me and said, “Today’s a big day. I could lose 35 points if I’m not careful.” The current leader in AOY points, Feider knew exactly what his situation was for today and what is at stake.

With that, I asked the Tin Cup Rapala Pro if the AOY is something he thought about or if he avoided it like the plague. “Are you kidding me,” Feider said. “I think about it every day! It’s all I think about. Some guys tell you they don’t think about it but I think about it every day.”

Feider went further to explain that coming into the year, he worried most about the stops at the St. Johns River and the Sabine River as potential train wrecks; however, those derbies have provided Feider with a third and sixth place finish respectively, his best finishes of the year.

The Bassmaster Elite Series Pro left the dock today with a plan to hit some points along the way to his primary area which has been the flipping bite all week.

Feider pulled his Ballistic into an area and fired a topwater bait across the Tennessee River fishery and on his second cast, landed a near five pounder. A few casts later, he landed a near two-pounder and not long after that, he landed a double on his topwater bait, a keeper and non-keeper. If you’re scoring at home, Feider caught a double in the last event at Lake Fork on Bassmaster Live on Day 3. When he pulled the trolling motor and headed for his main area, he had four bass in his Ballistic livewell and a small monkey off his back.

Since arriving in his main area, Feider has added a fifth keeper and made one cull. His five bass currently weigh in the 12-pound range and Feider admitted that he has plenty of room to grow here today.

We seem to be hunkered down here for the day which is exactly what Feider has done atop the AOY standings....hunkered down and stayed.

Menendez shows it’s anyone’s tourney

Caleb Kuphall retained his Day 1 lead in the Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville. It shrank a bit – from 6 pounds, 7 ounces Thursday to 4-9 Friday. However, this tournament feels like it’s wide open. What Mark Menendez did on Day 2 is the prime example

The 56-year-old Elite Series veteran from Paducah, Ky., jumped from 45th place to 5th after weighing the big bag of the day – 21 pounds, 5 ounces. Menendez weighed 14-0 on Day 1.

“They were all just a better grade today,” he said. “The first fish I caught was the 6-pounder, so that calmed me down. I was running down the lake and I saw an area that looked right. So I pulled in there and immediately caught a 2-pounder.”

And it just kept getting better. Menendez pitched a Strike King Structure Bug around in grass that was “10 inches to 7 or 8 feet deep” and filled out his 21-5 limit over the course of the day.

If Menendez can move from 45th to 5th in one day, what’s possible in this field that was reduced to the top 48 anglers after Friday’s weigh-in? Here’s how tightly they are bunched: 8th place Greg Hackney (33-15) and 32nd place Justin Hamner (29-15) are separated by only 4 pounds.

The field will be cut to the top 10 after Saturday’s weigh-in. After what Menendez did Friday, it seems possible that anyone among the 48 semifinalists could make Sunday’s final.


Bassmaster Marshal means being ready

Ready to learn, ready to move, and ready to get the great camera shot. It’s also means being prepared. Being prepared for a tournament atmosphere, being prepared with your gear in a compact organized way, being prepared for the weather, being prepared for fast boats and being prepared to roll when the angler says let’s go. Bassmaster Marshall what a great ride.

Bassmaster Marshal Scottie Barrentine

Midday report: Buddy Gross

After the morning bite settled off which had provided Buddy Gross with a comfortable 13-14 pounds of Guntersville bass, the Elite Series Pro indicated that once he felt comfortable that he’d be able to fish on Saturday, he’d move out and try to locate some offshore fish.

The Bassmaster Classic Qualifier came up empty on his first few stops but found some fish staging on his most recent stop which landed him this bass that will go nearly five pounds.

I’m guessing Gross has enough weight to warrant getting up early on Saturday morning so the question now becomes whether you spend some time this afternoon setting up your game plan for Saturday. I’m not 100% sure that Gross can fish that way.

I don’t mean that in a disrespectful manner but watching the Georgia native set the hook on these bass today, I get the impression he’s trying to rip the lips out everything swimming here today.

Gross has worked a swimbait for the majority of the day, a lipless crankbait presentation, a jig and most recently a big crankbait. You can tell he has a wealth of experience on this Tennessee River fishery because he’s been dialed in all day and admits he had a solid practice.

On a personal note, I’ve been blessed enough to be at this Marshal thing about three seasons now and this opportunity today will rank among the best! I’ve been a Buddy Gross fan since he came on the Elites and today’s ride has only made me like him more!

Johnston leap-frogs into 2nd place

Jason Christie has mentioned several times this morning “going back to check my frog fish.” Based on what Chris Johnston is doing, Christie might want to check them now. Johnston, fishing in a field of lily pads, landed a 4 1/2-pounder at 10:55 a.m. It jumped him from outside the top 10 into 3rd place on BassTrakk. He’s got every bit of 13-8 on the day, as that 4-8 appeared to be closer to 5-8. He caught it on a Spro Poppin’ Frog.

However, it was the one that got away on his next cast that had Johnston shaking his head, saying, “I just missed a giant.”

But Johnston wasn’t done. He added a 3-pounder 15 minutes later that moved him into 2nd placed.

“They’re chasing bluegills under those pads,” said Johnston, who came into this tournament ranked 6th in the Angler of the Year standings. “There’s a whole school under there. They were doing the same thing in practice."

It’s going to be interesting to see how this late morning/early afternoon bite shakes out on Lake Guntersville. Some of the biggest bass of Day 1 were caught in the last three hours.