Elite Series Pride of Georgia: Going dry

LAGRANGE, Ga. -- All throughout the weigh-in at Day Two of the Pride of Georgia the gripe was the same: “I don’t know where they went!”

Many anglers were at a loss when asked to explain why their fish had dried up, but speculation ranged from an ending shad spawn to boat traffic to pressure.

Bernie Schultz made a move today, but in the wrong direction. If he had repeated his Day One performance, he would have been inside the top 10. Instead, he only managed two fish that weighed 4-5 knocking him out of the cut.

Thursday, the Florida pro took advantage of shad spawning under docks in the southern end of West Point by running a Hildebrandt spinnerbait along them.

“Today the shad weren’t under there real good,” he said. “Where I found a concentration of shad first thing, I got a 2 1/2-pounder. I just never had another bite after that because they were gone. I figured out that wasn’t going to happen and then I ran up the river.”

Schultz isn’t alone in his fall in the standings; Boyd Duckett nearly fell out of the cut after sacking 18-10. Today he only managed two fish that weighed 1-13 and finds himself in 49th place.

“I just didn’t catch ‘em, man, and you’ve got to catch ‘em,” he said. “I lost three big ones today. I lost one in a tree, pinned a 5-ponder in a branch, and then I broke big one off on a jig. At 1 o’clock I didn’t have any.”

Since he went so long without a limit, Duckett was forced to abandon his milk run, which takes nearly a full day.

“At that point, you’re trapped, you know?” he asked. “You’ve got to go and try to stay in the cut by caching a few keepers, but when I went to get five, I could only catch those two little ones! But, I’m going to run my pattern tomorrow; maybe I’ll catch 18 pounds, maybe I’ll catch nothing.”

Local favorite Steve Kennedy thought he was catching fish from the word “go.” But, Kennedy said that the water had changed overnight.

“I don’t know what it was, but the water was a lot more muddy,” he said. “I think the boat traffic had something to do with it, and maybe the wind as well.”

At any given point in the day, Kennedy had between 8 and 15 boats following him. Kennedy says the bigger problem, though, was the anglers repeatedly visiting the few visible pieces of cover that West Point offers.

“Guys are running all over the place back and forth, and it stirs things up,” he said.

Every angler who fell off pace a bit today can relate to a truism of bass fishing that Boyd Duckett offered:

“It’s a very humbling sport; that’s how it is,” he said.