What's left to be determined

Going into the final day of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship, the trophies have been awarded in the co-angler division, and there's some clarity about the seven Bassmaster Classic berths on the line in the pro division. But much is left to be decided today. The following is a rundown of the unknowns going into the final day of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship.

1. The pro division champion, and the Classic berth that goes with it. There are many implications here, based on who wins. For instance, if Brandon Lester or Bobby Lane wins, it would give John Cox a Classic berth based on his fourth-place finish in the final Eastern Opens points standings. If Jared Lintner wins, it opens a place in next week’s Classic Bracket for Fred Roumbanis. Most importantly for Lintner, it means he won’t have to travel to Ellijay, Ga., tomorrow and compete in the Classic Bracket for a Classic berth there.

2. The Eastern Opens Angler of the Year. Brandon Lester and Bobby Lane are locked in a duel that was separated by Lane’s one point advantage before this event. Lester needs to finish two places in front of Lane to win the title, as Lane has a big advantage in the tiebreaker, which is total weight on full field days in the Eastern Opens this season.

3. The third Classic berth from the Central Opens. Frank Talley and Brad Whatley clinched the top two spots in the Central points standings. Based on the Day 2 standings, Derek Hudnall and Toby Hartsell are tied in third place. That’s based on Hudnall’s 7th-place finish on Day 2. Hudnall owns the tiebreaker, so he needs to finish no lower than 7th today to earn the Classic berth. If he drops the 8th or below, Hartsell will finish 3rd in the final Central Opens points standings. If Hudnall wins the tournament, that would also give Hartsell a berth, based on his 4th-place finish in the Central Opens standings.

Lintner off to a good start

Lintner may be having a good start but it could be better. He just went thru a 10 minute span where he lost three fish. 

While they are “little” but still keepers those things don’t ever put you in a position of extreme confidence.

It will likely not matter by the end of the day. Lintner has been catching quality fish on up in the day. But having an early limit always helps. 

The fish he’s lost won’t help him win on the weigh in card. But mean everything on the confidence card. 

Sumrall surveying situation

Bassmaster Elite Series pro and day two leader Caleb Sumrall is underway on Championship Saturday. 

If you’re thinking to yourself, that his boat look awfully familiar, it’s because he is borrowing fellow Elite Series angler Brock Mosley’s boat. Sumrall has been plagued with boat issues all week. This is the fourth boat that he has used in three days of competition. 

Sumrall has already made a mention of the mass amount of boats on the water today, and that is certainly concerning. From what I'm told, there’s is at least two large local tournaments being held on Table Rock today. 

All week Sumrall has been focusing on fish suspended in the cedar trees. His rotation of baits has included a spinnerbait, a walking style topwater, and a buzzbait. Most all of his damage has been done with the spinnerbait though. As mentioned yesterday, one of the biggest keys for Sumrall has been to hit the right stretch at the right time. He has had big flurries in each of the first two days. 

It will be interesting to see how Sumrall will handle the added adversity of heavy boat traffic today.

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A lot of differences today

There seems to be a lot of differences today. The most notable is the weather. No rain this morning. And not a whole lot of clouds. 

It’s also Saturday and there seems to be a derby taking place at every marina. Boats are everywhere, running to and fro. I’m sure they will impact a few of our anglers. It’s a big lake. But key areas are not that prevalent. 

It hasn’t bothered Jared Lintner to this point. He’s boated his first keeper of the morning. And he caught that off a point where about 100 boats have just taken off to points unknown. 

Day 2 only slightly better than Day 1

Most predictions called for Friday's clouds and rain to make a big improvement in the weigh-in totals from Thursday's bright sun at Table Rock Lake. The numbers show that was true, but only slightly.
For instance, 111 bass were weighed-in by the 28 pros on Day 1. Only six more fish - 117 - hit the scales on Day 2. However, the distribution of those fish produced 18 five-bass limits Friday, after 111 bass were distributed to total only 10 limits Thursday. Yeah, it makes you scratch your noggin a bit.
The most significant comparison in the two days? The bass weighed almost a quarter-pound bigger - 2.25 pounds Thursday and 2.44 pounds Friday. Mark Rose of Wynne, Ark., caught the big bass Thursday of 6 pounds, 1 ounce. Scott Suggs of Alexander, Ark., took big bass honors Friday with a 5-1.
So what conclusions can you draw from these numbers? Bass fishing is tough right now at Table Rock Lake, and is unlikely to change today. Duh, right? But it should make for a great competition on the final day when the top eight anglers are separated by five pounds or less.

Whatley headed to the Classic

Brad Whatley finished 2nd in the Central Opens points standings and qualified for the Bassmaster Classic as well as the Elite Series. Whatley learned a lot at Table Rock to prepare him for the Elite schedule.

Much will be determined soon

This tournament field, which started with 28 pros and 28 co-anglers, will be cut to only the top 12 pros at today's Long Creek Marina weigh-in. And much will be revealed, such as the co-angler champion and the co-anglers of the year in both the Eastern and Central divisions.

While there won't be any trophies handed out on the pro side, the season points standings for both divisions are going to come into clear focus. Angler of the year and the three Classic berths in each division might be all but set in stone after today's weigh-in - emphasis on "might be." We'll soon see.

Lintner surprised by smallmouth

This might be the most surprising thing that occurred yesterday on Table Rock Lake: Jared Lintner weighed-in five smallmouth bass. No one was more surprised than Lintner, who started catching smallmouth bass in practice where there would ordinarily be largemouth bass.

"I've probably fished here a dozen times over the years," said Lintner, who has won over $1 million in his BASS career. "The first smallmouth I ever caught here was this week.

"I'm fishing areas where you typically catch largemouth. I don't know why the smallmouth are there. I caught some on big line and a big stick."

Hey, Lintner isn't griping, just wondering. And he is catching bass again today. He's caught nine, according to BASSTrakk, and is pushing Caleb Sumrall for the lead in the tournament. It will be interesting to see whether the fish he's catching today continue to be smallmouth bass.