Douglas culling

"Josh Douglas is making some culls late in the day. Has around 14 pounds. Just pulled up on a school of bass where he is culling out some smaller fish in his limit."

Photo and update by Bassmaster Marshal Austin Smith

Benton in the hunt

BassTrakk shows Drew Benton with 13 pounds, 12 ounces, or slightly 1 pound behind current leader Daisuke Aoki. Benton just told Andy Crawford his weight is 14 3/4 pounds.

Benton is in the hunt for one good kicker largemouth to take the lead, and possibly the win.

"If I can cull my smallest with a 4-pounder, that'll give me 18 pounds and then maybe I can win it," he said.

Like Friday, Benton is committed to using two baits with the greatest potential for him to catch bigger bass. Those are a 6-inch Scottsboro Tackle Line Through Swimbait, and a Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad Swimbait, rigged on an 8/0 Owner Weighted Beast Hook.

Yesterday, Benton said wind was crucial to the success of his pattern. He needs it now, more than ever.

"The wind blew earlier this morning, and boy did they bite," he said.

One thing is certain. Soon as he weighs in, Benton will hit the road, hammer down, to the next Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Fork Reservoir, where practice begins on Sunday. A win would certainly make losing a practice day worth it.

Douglas on a roll early

"Josh Douglas catches a 2-8 in the first 10 minutes and lands a 2lber shortly after. He was afraid his school was breaking up but looks like he’s having a decent start."

Photo and update by Bassmaster Marshal Austin Smith

Williams with 3

David Williams now has 3 keepers in the livewell, with an estimated weight of about 4 pounds. He is fishing spawning pockets and boat docks in the mid-lake area. He plans to rotate through the docks and coves throughout the morning.

Douglas with a limit

At 9:15 a.m. ET, Josh Douglas boated his fifth keeper. Estimated weight is about 10 1/2 pounds, according to what he told Andy Crawford, who is with him shooting a gallery. 

The one-two punch with the Carolina rig and bladed jig is obviously working.  According to BassTrakk that would have him in 3rd place, with plenty of time to cull up his weight.


Douglas' change up

Josh Douglas has settled into his area, the same as yesterday, with a new technique.  

"Yesterday, I had cloud cover and wind and without it the bite is much slower," he told Andy Crawford. 

Today, Douglas has post-cold frontal conditions with calm wind and sunny skies. 

Douglas is fishing a saddle bordered on each side by deeper water near a creek mouth. Depth range is 15 to 20 feet. Yesterday, reaction baits were the rule. This morning, he switched to a bladed jig for stimulating reaction bites, and a Carolina rig for a slower presentation. The area is shared by smallmouth and largemouth. 

Andy said Douglas has 3 keepers for about 6 pounds. 

Here today, gone tomorrow

This morning Bassmaster Elite Series pro Drew Cook made this comment, summing up the current situation on Douglas Lake.  

"I had a big female on a bed yesterday (Tuesday), went back to check on her today (Wednesday) and the bed was out of the water." 

That explains Andy Crawford's phone call to me about his morning photo gallery session. 

"I saw one fish get caught (by Joey Nania, pictured), and everyone else is out on the points or offshore." 

To me, that means the sight fishing bite is off, and the best fishing is for prespawners staging on the points before going into the spawning areas. What is more, the offshore bite could be a legit player, as there could be a combination of postspawn fish from the most recent wave occurring before the water dropped. 

Neels Beneke update

Douglas lake has been a treat. With both largemouth and smallmouth fish biting in the numbers every day of practice it's been real fun. The more quality bites have been scarce but I’ve managed to find some. TVA has been dropping the lake level by almost a foot each day which makes fishing each day different and kept them on the move.

It's been 11 weeks since I’ve last been home in South Africa due to the ban of traveling from South Africa to USA because of Covid-19 and finally after this tournament I'll be heading home until I return to Lake Norman in September for the final tournament of the season for the Southern Opens. So I'm excited for that but even more excited to think how this tournament could turn out for me. Sitting in my boat thinking of a game plan for my second Bassmaster tournament of the 2021 season, I feel more prepared and determined to make this tournament one for the good books. 

There is only two ways this tournament can go:

1. I gain a wealth of lake knowledge and experience and WIN 

2. I gain a wealth of lake knowledge and experience, and the preparation to win one another time 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” -Galatians 6:9