Taking Chances

BREWERTON, N.Y. — Brent Chapman kneeled beside his tackle on the front of his boat Friday morning, with his young son Mason standing, smiling to his right.

Chapman showed Mason how to tie on a bait that will hopefully catch a 6-pound largemouth bass.

He's is in 41st place with 11 pounds, 14 ounces going into the second day of the Bassmaster Memorial presented by Evan Williams Bourbon, and he said Day Two is going to be different.

He split his time in half on Thursday, fishing for smallmouth in the morning and largemouth in the afternoon, and he never got the bites he was looking for.

"I figure I am going to need 16 pounds today, but that is definitely doable," Chapman said. "I think I am going to spend a lot more time on the largemouth. I hope I can put myself on largemouth for three quarters of the day, but it depends on how things go early."

Chapman is going with a plan that a lot of the anglers used on Day One, which is to fill the livewell with the more plentiful smallmouth bass and then look for one or two kicker largemouth. He is one of 36 anglers who are within three pounds of the top-12 cut, the mark every angler is targeting.

The field will be cut to 12 after Day Two, the weights will be zeroed and the tournament will move from Lake Oneida to Lake Onondaga for Saturday and Sunday.

Most of the anglers who thought a mixed bag of smallmouth and largemouth bass could get them where they wanted have shifted their focus to the larger bite. But Matt Reed, who is in 50th out of 51 anglers with 9-12, said that's easier said than done.

"I probably caught 10 or 12 largemouth yesterday, they were just all small," Reed said. "They are going to be hard to find. Obviously they are there because Steve [Kennedy] found them yesterday, but it's going to be real hard to get a big bag today.

"I don't think there's going to be a lot of movement on the leaderboard because it's just too hard to catch a big bag."

With such a prevalent, and seemingly easy, 12-pound bag of smallmouth on Lake Oneida (all the anglers caught their five-fish limit on Day One), some of the anglers sitting just out of the cut are going to have to bring in a 15-pound bag to move up, and that means they'll have to add a largemouth kicker to their sack. That is unless, of course, you ask Mike Wurm.

"If I catch a largemouth today it will be on accident," said Wurm, who is six ounces out of 12th place.

Wurm said he fished for nothing but smallmouth on Thursday and if he would have been able to land all the bass he hooked, he would have caught 16 pounds. "I think I need 15 pounds today, and as long as I don't lose a lot of them, I know I can do that on smallmouth," he said.

With no Angler of the Year points on the line in this, the second major of the 2007 season, most of the anglers don't see much of an issue with forgoing the for-sure smallmouth bite and trying to land that boatload of 5-pound largemouth and squeeze in the cut. But according to Reed, they've got about a 1 in 51 chance of doing it.

"If you look at this lake in the past, it gives up about one big stringer a day," he said. "I've just got to hope my card comes up today."