The fishing is changing every day on Lake Guntersville at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. The 55 competitors found a bit different lake on Saturday morning. The leaderboard jumbled up but Randall Tharp lost the lead by one ounce on day two when Edwin Evers weighed 20 pounds, 9 ounces to take his two-day total to 47-6.
The water was still dirty but it cleared out of a lot of areas and that was the story of the improving weights for many today. But the wind laid down, the sun came out and some big bass got hungry.
Evers was struggling late in the day to even fill out his limit and a stroke of good fortune happened when he caught his biggest bass in the tail and was able to land it. He didn’t even think it was a bass because of how it fought hooked in the tail. The 7-plus-pound bass gave him one more ounce than Tharp on day two.
Evers is catching at least part of his limits on crankbaits from somewhat dirty water. He made some bait changes today that played a big role in his catch. He’s mainly stuck with his same areas. Whoever wins tomorrow will have to have a giant bag, probably 25 pounds or more.
Here’s more about what some of the rest of the field told us:
2nd Randall Tharp, 47-5
Tharp had a huge armada following him this morning and an early flurry gave him most of his weight. Later in the morning he had a breakdown when the linkage in his gear case broke and had to be towed in to the ramp for quick service before getting back on the lake. He lost his rhythm after that and only caught 3 keepers the rest of the day.
He’s extremely confident in what he’s doing and still thinks he can catch a 30-pound limit on the final day.
He’s catching his fish on an XR50 lipless rattle bait, a Rapala DT 6 Bream color and a Spro McStick. He’s fishing very text book staging areas. He caught his big fish yesterday on a main lake ridge. Today he hit several of those places and only had one good fish. The water was a little bit higher today and the lake doesn’t fish as strong when the water is too high.
3rd Ott Defoe, 43-5
Adding 22 pounds to his 20 pound limit from yesterday, Defoe actually found the fishing today tougher. He just got a few bigger bites. But he had a lot less bites in the calm, no-wind conditions. Defoe is catching his bass with moving bites and said the wind positioned the fish better in his areas and made them easier to catch than when it’s slick calm.
5th Paul Mueller, 41-13
Mueller focused on four primary areas. These were the same areas as yesterday but the water cleared up today. He’s catching his fish on a Chatterbait and a 3/4 ounce Strike King Red Eye Shad in either gold or red. His retrieve is very specific. He figured out the fish wouldn’t eat the baits ripped out of the grass. The baits have to just touch and tick the grass but not bury to trigger them. He’s not totally committed to his areas. He plans to adjust some on day three and keep an open mind.
6th Casey Ashley, 41-12
Ashley never had the big flurry today that he had on day one. It may be because of the calm waters in his area. He feels like that hurt his presentations today with moving baits. Instead of the fish being in the predictable clumps of grass today, they moved to an underwater point but he could only catch one every hour or so off of it after letting it rest. He doesn’t like that because it’s turning his spot into a timing deal. He feels like the fish want to move shallow. He fished shallow early to check to see if fish had moved up and to let his area get setup right with fish positioned on his flat. The spectator boats are not helping his area because they are going back and forth on what he’s trying to fish by following him. He had one other angler in his area that probably won’t be there tomorrow and that should help.
7th Chad Morgenthaler, 41-3
He is fishing two areas and his morning spot was the big producer today. The first hour and a half in the morning they feed and then they are done. It’s been a good thing because he’s able to leave the area and let those fish rest. He’s not sure his morning spot will replenish but feels like his later in the day spot has fish coming to it. He believes the big bag is there and could show up tomorrow if he can get the big bites there.
He noticed this morning that he had tunnel vision when he didn’t even realize there were spectators when he pulled up to the dock. He was completely focused. He feels very confident in his area because he’s not seen one single competitor anywhere near him all week.
8th Jonathon VanDam, 39-5
His day was a grind without many bites. He found some new areas later in the day when the water warmed that kicked out some big fish for him and saved his day and also gave him something to build on going into the finals. He feels confident about what he’s doing.
9th Adam Wagner, 39-1
He caught his two biggest fish today on a jig and the other three keepers he weighed on an assortment of crankbaits. The biggest thing that helped his weight today was the water clearing. He’s fishing the same areas tomorrow and beat up on some of the areas he’s been leaving alone or letting rest.
16th Dean Rojas, 36-5
The water got higher today and dirtier today and that changed things for me. He can’t really figure it out because those fish have to be coming to his backwater area. The water is warm enough for them to be up there. The big key for Rojas tomorrow will be changing baits. He knows the fish are there and coming to the area but they just didn’t bite today. He’s married to the area but is confident he can figure out how to make them bite there tomorrow.
21st Fred Roumbanis, 34-12
On day one, Roumbanis was targeting mud lines coinciding with ditches he was fishing and caught a big bag. On day two, Roumbanis found the mud had dissipated and spread out in his area and the fish weren’t positioned and predictable. He’s doing something a little different with Optimum swimbaits to give them some more erratic actions and said he might change up and go shallower if he makes the cut to fish on Sunday.
32nd Cliff Crochet, 31-4
Crochet has been fishing primarily one area. The first day the area was blown out but today it cleared a lot late in the day and he was able to return there and get back on the fish he had found in practice with a Chatterbait and Luck-E-Strike Jerkbait. He plans to put the hammer down in his area tomorrow if he’s fortunate enough to go fishing.