Palmer's pattern

BassTrakk shows Luke Palmer in second place with 14 pounds, 8 ounces of bass in the livewell for a total of 42-2.

According to Andy Crawford, who provided this photo, Palmer is using a jerkbait worked near the shoreline. Supposedly, his area near a boat ramp is a well known tournament bass release site.

During practice, he told Andy the area produced 2-pounders away from the shoreline, with the size and weight of the bass increasing nearer the bank.

The conditions are ideal for jerkbait fishing, with a slight breeze and sunny skies.

Buddy triangulates?

In the days of sonar on the Bassmaster Elite Series, the arms race is full speed ahead. Some anglers are aligned with a single brand, others run two different kinds of sonar and now with the demand of forward facing sonar, some anglers run all three and I’ve even seen four different kinds in one boat.

At any rate, we pulled up on a spot and Buddy Gross says to me, “There’s a spring here that we’re going to fish. I fished this spring with my dad when I was a kid.”

Gross continued, “That was back in the day before sonar and we’d have to triangulate when we came here. The trees were a lot lower then and there was a power line that ran through here and we’d line up on the power line and this one pine tree and we caught a lot of fish out of this spring.”

Gross didn’t have to triangulate this time thanks to his Humminbird 360.

The Chickamauga, Georgia native is ready to see Spring turn to Summer as in June when the Elite Series Pro will fish his first Bassmaster Classic in Ft. Worth. Gross finished 11th in points in 2020 and punched his ticket to the big show.

The Power Pole Mercury Pro is fishing for single bites now with room to make a solid day of work.

Martin “Sneaks” Into Top-10

Prior to the tournament’s start, Scott Martin said he needed to find a “sneak spot” — a strategic location that’s high on fish attraction, but low on angler attraction. Somewhere he could catch a big limit without any company.

Sounds like the dream scenario, but on Lake Guntersville — largely considered the nation’s most pressured bass fishery — you typically file that notion under “good luck with that.” However, the decorated Florida pro fishing his first Elite season has accomplished that rare feat of sacking in solitude.

Leveraging a sneak spot this morning, Bass Trakk’s unofficial standings showed Martin with a limit of 20 pounds, 2 ounces — the day’s largest catch so far. Martin’s bag, which includes a 6-2 — currently leading the daily Phoenix Boats Big Bass standings — lifted him from 80th place on Day 1 into today’s top-10.

Catching that limit in under an hour this morning, Martin targeted a shell bed outside a spawning bay. He started off catching spotted bass, but his confidence that bigger largemouth would also be moving out to this subtle postspawn area proved rewarding.

If Martin’s strategy of leveraging sneak spots holds up, he may find himself in contention for the win. Lots of fishing left between now and Championship Sunday, but for the moment, Scott Martin’s moving in the right direction.

He’s just being sneaky about it.

Preuett's baby rescue

I bet when Brett Preuett took off this morning, he was not expecting to catch anything but a fish.

As Brett was skipping docks, I saw him casually lower his rod tip down in the water. That is when the little purple martin latched on for dear life. 

“Hey Shane, can you place this little guy on the dock for me?"

That is when I realized that the baby bird's parents had built their nest in an old dilapidated boat dock.

The purple martin is one of the most highly sought-after birds for backyard lovers since they love bugs and mosquitos.

Groh has seen tough times

Chris Groh has seen more than his share of misfortune this season. From mechanical difficulties to being in the right place at the wrong time, it’s been a difficult season for the 43-year-old angler from Spring Grove, Ill. So it’s good to see the amiable Groh landing a 3-pounder in the early morning glow on Lake Guntersville today.

Groh caught a 5-bass limit yesterday, but it weighed only 10 pounds, which left him in 86th place. Only 13 of the 98 anglers didn’t catch a limit on Day 1. Three-pounders were practically the norm as 469 bass weighing a total of 1,319.69 pounds were brought to the scales. That’s an average of 2.81 pounds per bass.

Jocumsen offers jig tips

Yesterday afternoon Carl Jocumsen plucked a 4-pound kicker from a bridge point and boosted himself from the lower end of the field to 40th place with 14-4. Through that catch, the Australian pro shared two key lessons.

First, as long as you’re fishing, you’re never out of it. He’s capitalizing on that boost this morning with an unofficial top-10 placement in the first couple hours of competition.

Second, Jocumsen caught that fish on a jig and noted that this presentation tends to trigger Guntersville’s heavily pressured bass. With crankbaits seeing a lot of action on the bridge riprap, a jig, he said, can be more convincing.

Addressing the obvious drawbacks, Jocumsen offered this advice: “I get a lot of questions about ‘How do you fish that jig without getting hung up?’ I do get hung up and you have to have a few techniques to shoot it backwards and free the jig.

“The key is to pitch right at the rocks, keep a high rod angle and just bounce that jig over the rocks. The fish eat it because they’re not used to seeing that presentation.”

Buddy Gross Morning Update

Davy Hite came down the dock this morning and stopped by to exchange pleasantries with Buddy Gross and the conversation quickly turned to the fish that Buddy lost on Day 1 rather than the 14+ pounds he weighed in.

“I want you to know I went home last night and changed rods, reels, line and I ain’t going through that again today,” laughed Gross.

Truth is, the Power Pole Pro made one key adjustment following Day 1 and that was changing his swimbait set ups to a Fitzgerald rod with a softer tip.

That key adjustment for Gross has paid off so far on Day 2. Gross landed a flurry of bass on his first stop this morning, three solid fish and followed up with a couple of smaller fish to complete his limit. The Elite Series Pro noted to me right away the difference in changing rods and how he was able to maintain his hookups with the softer rod tip.

Gross is still mining his starting spot and has caught a lot of fish. He’s combed through some non keepers and he’s lost two big fish on a lipless crankbait that would definitely improve his bag. He’s also upgraded on the lipless presentation as well.

After he lost the second fish, Gross snapped, “That’s it! Everybody wants to critique the way I set the hook and retrieve fish but it works for me. You want to see something? Watch me set the hook and reel’em back now!” To his point, while it looks a bit unorthodox pointing the rod tip at the fish and burning them back to the boat, he’s not lost anymore fish.

The Bassmaster Classic qualifier has a limit that goes somewhere in the 14 pound range on BASSTrakk; however, this Marshal believes we're carrying a little more weight than that.

Gross has a lot of confidence this morning and knows he’s one, maybe two bites away from having a really special day today.

Morgenthaler: An early limit and a respool

As soon as takeoff ended I went to North Sauty Creek to look for some anglers and noticed Chad Morgenthaler fishing near the bridge. I pulled over and as soon as I grabbed the camera he was hooked up. Turns out it was his fifth fish and he and his marshal celebrated an early limit. On the very next cast he clipped the trolling motor with his chatterbait and created a first class tangle. He had other rods rigged, but chose to respool. He sat down and told his marshal this may take a while. He then dug out a new reel, grabbed a large spool of flourocarbon and in less than ten minutes had the tangle out of his trolling motor, a newly spooled reel, a new bait tied on, and was back casting.

Submitted by Chris Reynolds

Martin rockets up the standings

Scott Martin came to the weigh-in stage yesterday with a limit that hit 10 pounds, 9 ounces. It left him in 80th place. But Martin acknowledged that Lake Guntersville is the place where your fortunes can easily shift in a day. It took only 2 1/2 hours this morning for Martin to do that. He’s right at the 20-pound mark on the day with a 6-2, a 5-0 and a 4-4 in his 5-bass limit. Martin’s two-day total of 30-8 has him in 3rd place at 8 a.m.

Sunny skies, calm winds, clear water

Steve Kennedy is fishing around a main river channel flat in 3 feet of water. The key draw is aquatic vegetation. That's the setup he fished yesterday, using a glide bait. This morning, the glider is on the deck.

Instead, Kennedy is pitching a bait into holes in the grass that are exposed to the bright sun. The obvious assumption is that the shade created by the grass surrounding the holes are ambush points for the bass.

Some are fry guarders--Kennedy is seeing fry in the crystal clear water--and others are actively spawning females. Those are the fish being targeted by the pitching tactic.

What is key to note is Kennedy's scenario is a snapshot of what is likely going on throughout the lake. The skies are clear and sunny, and there is no wind. Ideal conditions for Kennedy's tactic (and likely others).