Takahiro Omori's 18-13 bag Saturday was quite an accomplishment.
Oneida has proven tough for most anglers all week. But to catch the second-best bag of the tournament on Day Three, after 97 Elite Series anglers have picked most of the low-hanging fruit the previous two days, is particularly impressive.
Omori, like many this week, is trying to get back to the Bassmaster Classic, an event he won in 2004. He entered the event 39th in AOY points – on the bubble.
He had two smallmouth bass in his bag Friday, when he finished in 49th place with a two-day total of 24-7. So Omori took a do-or-die attitude Saturday, targeting largemouth by flipping grass (with what, or where, he's not saying yet).
Keying his big jump into the Top 12 cut was a 5-pound, 6-ounce largemouth, the Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament so far.
"I screamed a little bit," said Omori about his reaction to landing the lunker.
He didn't get many bites Saturday, but, as the cliché goes, "they were the right bites."
"I only caught eight keepers," said an obviously relieved Omori. "I had so much pressure on me to make the Classic."