Linguistics bear no impact on bass tournaments, but it’s no coincidence that rookie Elite Destin DeMarion has fished his way into his first top-10 on Lake Marion. The fact is, the young man from Grove City, Penn. has a game plan that’s making big things happen on the upper end of this Santee Cooper powerhouse.
DeMarion is committing his day to throwing a Z-Man JackHammer ChatterBait in Marion’s upper end. Prone to snagging in woody habitats, a bladed jig may seem like a liability; but DeMarion believes this is the right choice for the bites he needs.
“I’m only fishing for big fish,” he said. “I’m only getting seven or eight bites a day, but they’re the right ones. I’m fully committed to what I’m doing.”
When Day-1 brought mostly sunny conditions, DeMarion caught his fish flipping and cranking, but once the clouds arrived on Day 2, he followed a hunch and got bit on the Jackhammer. DeMarion won’t disclose the specific Berkley trailer he using, but let’s just say he’s 100-percent convinced it’s the difference-maker.
“After Day 2, I drove three hours round trip to the Berkley headquarters in Columbia, S.C. to get more,” DeMarion said. “I think it’s different from what anyone’s throwing here.”
Well stocked with what he believes are the right tools, DeMarion entered today with a calm demeanor belying the magnitude of his career’s biggest moment.
“It’s definitely pretty cool, but it feels kinda normal; it just feels like we’re going fishing again,” DeMarion said. “I’m just trying to take it as such and not make it bigger than it is right now.”
DeMarion entered Championship Sunday in seventh place, but he was only 4 pounds, 12-ounces behind Day-3 leader Carl Jocumsen. That’s not exactly a slim margin, but with loads of hefty Florida-strain largemouth swimming these waters, any cast could connect an angler with a straight-up game changer.
Prior to this week, his best tournament performance was a 16th place finish on Lake St. Clair. He’s obviously secured a better score this week, but DeMarion's not simply settling for the generic “top-10” description.
“I definitely have a legitimate chance to win,” he said. “My weights (12-0, 15-15, 17-15) have gotten better every day and most people have been dwindling.
“There will be fewer people in (my area) today and the pressure has definitely been getting to them. The morning bite will be key for me. I usually catch a few pretty quick and then it’s more of a grind after that.”
DeMarion's pattern produced a 5-pounder at 8:30 today. If he can add four more good ones, he’ll make things interesting.