What Happened?Ron Klys on Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper Open preview: A Pro's Approach with Ron Klys

 The Santee Cooper Southern Open was shortened one day by predicted severe weather. The really ugly stuff never arrived, but it did turn overcast and nasty, enough so that the fishing was affected.

 "The first day I caught about what I thought I would. I was in OK shape," Ron Klys said after the tournament. "The sun was bright and strong, and I was able to flip the mats with plastics as planned. But, after the weather changed and Friday's fishing was cancelled, I was in trouble."

 The trouble to which this Gainesville, Fla., pro refers was a sky without bright sunlight, sunlight that he needed to push his bass tight into the shade under grass mats.

 In his preview, Klys predicted overcast skies and a lack of sun would make the bass easier to catch and would increase weights. "Bad weather will help us get closer to the trees and mats without spooking the bass. That'll make it easier to flip and will increase the weights," he said at the time.It worked that way for some anglers but, unfortunately, not for him."I was able to catch a few small bass with a Berkley PowerBait Heavy Weight Fat Sinkworm by casting it around the outside of the mats, but my flipping bite was gone. The truth is I didn't have enough practice time to develop a backup plan, and I paid the price for that. There was no time to recover. "I'm not going to make excuses, though. I'm not sure more time would have helped me. I didn't have the patterns I needed. You can't expect to be competitive at the professional level when that happens."


Klys ultimately did catch two keepers on Saturday that weighed 3 pounds, 10 ounces. Those bass, combined with five from Thursday that weighed 13 pounds, 2 ounces, gave him a total tournament weight of 16 pounds, 12 ounces. He finished a disappointing 74th.He also said that most of the bass would be caught on plastics in shallow water, many of them around grass, mats and cypress trees. He was right about that. Nearly all the competitors reported their fish came out of less than four feet of water and were biting plastics of one sort or another.


In that same context he warned us about local anglers and their expertise on the lakes. "On this lake, catching bass and winning tournaments are two different things," were his exact words. He pointed out that local anglers knew which tree or spot to fish and which ones to pass by.He had that pretty close to right, too. Two of the three top anglers were out-of-towners but they did have substantial experience with Santee Cooper and developed patterns specific to the immediate areas they were fishing.Finally, Klys' weight prediction was pretty good if you consider his theory that bad weather would increase overall weights.He told us it would take 23 to 24 pounds of bass to make the cut with a few 25-pound bags thrown in for good measure. Because Friday was cancelled there was no cut and all the anglers fished on Saturday. Still, the 30th place angler — the spot where the cut would have been — weighed in just over 25 pounds.

And, to his credit there was one 25-pound bag and a couple of 20-pound plus sacks.


His winning weight estimate of 60 pounds wasn't bad either. If the winner (Randall Tharp) and runner-up (Matt Herren) had fished three days instead of two and had maintained their catch rates, they would have weighed in 66 and 57 pounds of bass respectively. Sixty could have won it.Klys gets a grade of C+.


Santee Cooper Open preview: A Pro's Approach with Ron Klys