Fishing Tips

Lane Leads BASS Open on Seminole

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Although Lake Seminole teems with heavyweight largemouth bass, there were dour predictions from the anglers who are competing here this week in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open No. 3 presented by Allstate. It’s all about timing, and October is generally not a good time to catch a lot of bass at Lake Seminole.
 
Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., a favorite to win this tournament, said Thursday that the bass are currently scattered throughout Seminole’s abundant aquatic vegetation. You can catch a huge bass on any given cast, but you must stay on the move to find another bass that’s willing to bite.
 
Tharp weighed in a 17-pound, 8-ounce five-bass limit today, which has him in fourth place. Because Tharp failed to qualify for the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro via the Bassmaster Elite Series, he must win here to secure his Classic berth.
 
On Thursday, the first competition day, the fish proved to be stingy for most of the 166 pros and 166 co-anglers fishing in this tournament. Many of the pros failed to catch a daily five-bass limit and 26 of them did not catch a single keeper bass. Bass were even harder to come by for the co-anglers, as 75 of them failed to weigh-in a bass.
 
The tough fishing made leader Bobby Lane’s five-bass limit, weighing 20-6, even more impressive. The Lakeland, Fla., angler said he practiced only one day on Seminole. That was on Wednesday, the day before the tournament started.
 
“This place sets up good for a flipper,” Lane said. “I caught 15 to 20 bass today, and I have them all to myself.”
 
Lane is known for his ability to dig bass out of thick grass with a long, stout flippin’ rod.
 
Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, Fla., is close behind Lane in second place with a limit that weighed 19-14. McMillan was leading the Angler of the Year standings for the Bassmaster Southern Opens coming into this tournament. He believes today’s heavy limit will keep him high enough in the standings to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series tour in 2016.
 
The Top 5 finishers in each of the three Bassmaster Open divisions qualify for the Elite Series. Should McMillan win this tournament, it will help to finance his Elite Series dream.
 
Elite Series pro Kelley Jaye is in third place with 18-4. “I fished one bait in three different areas all day,” Jaye said. “I don’t have a lot of company because I’m fishing offshore.”
 
Marty Spears of Tallahassee, Fla., sits atop the co-anglers with a three-bass co-angler limit of 10-11.
 
The anglers who are leading after today’s weigh-in are wisely keeping quiet about where they are fishing and the lures and techniques that are working for them. They don’t want to tip their hand to their competitors.
 
However, it is likely that most of the bigger bass weighed in today were caught with a tactic called “punching.” The lure is a soft plastic crawdad, or some other creature bait, rigged Texas style (weedless) with a large hook. A 1- to 2-ounce tungsten bullet sinker punches the lure through dense grassmats to reach the bass lounging in open water below the mats.
 
Hollow weedless frogs and Texas rigged sinking worms also saw plenty of action today.
 
Drew Cook of Midway, Fla., is the big bass leader on the pro side with a whopping 8-5 largemouth bass. The pro who catches the biggest bass during the tournament earns a $750 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass award.
 
The big bass leader for the co-anglers is Eugene Stinson of Dry Branch, Ga., with a 6-10. If no co-angler catches a heavier bass before the tournament ends, Stinson will pocket the $250 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass award.
 
About 15 pros piloted aluminum boats today so they could run far up the Flint River and navigate rocky shoals to fish for shoal bass. Feisty shoal bass do not grow nearly as big as Seminole’s largemouth bass, but they are more willing to bite a lure, especially in October. All the leaders in this tournament caught largemouth bass.

  Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  20-06  200
  Day 1: 5   20-06   
2.  Brandon McMillan       Clewiston, FL            5  19-14  199
  Day 1: 5   19-14   
3.  Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  18-04  198
  Day 1: 5   18-04   
4.  Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  17-08  197
  Day 1: 5   17-08   
5.  Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          5  17-04  196
  Day 1: 5   17-04   
6.  Drew Cook              Midway, FL               5  16-11  195
  Day 1: 5   16-11   
7.  Timmy Reneau           Del Rio, TX              5  16-07  194
  Day 1: 5   16-07   
8.  Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  16-04  193
  Day 1: 5   16-04   
9.  Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH        5  16-03  192
  Day 1: 5   16-03   
10. Jim Murray Jr          Arabi, GA                5  15-09  191
  Day 1: 5   15-09   
11. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            4  15-09  190
  Day 1: 4   15-09   
12. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  15-02  189
  Day 1: 5   15-02   
13. Trevor Fitzgerald      Belleview, FL            5  15-01  188
  Day 1: 5   15-01   
14. AJ Slegona Jr          Walker Valley, NY        4  14-07  187
  Day 1: 4   14-07   
15. Jade Keeton            Killen, AL               5  14-00  186
  Day 1: 5   14-00   
16. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           5  12-08  185
  Day 1: 5   12-08   
17. Al Cleghorn            Fitzgerald, GA           5  12-07  184
  Day 1: 5   12-07   
18. Josh Douglas           Mound, MN                5  12-04  183
  Day 1: 5   12-04   
19. Tim Frederick          Leesburg, FL             5  12-01  182
  Day 1: 5   12-01   
20. Wade Leblanc           Gonzales, LA             4  12-01  181
  Day 1: 4   12-01   
21. Kyle Fox               Lakeland, FL             5  12-00  180
  Day 1: 5   12-00   
22. Rob Jordan             Flowery Branch, GA       5  11-09  179
  Day 1: 5   11-09   
23. Darrell Davis          Dover, FL                4  11-09  178
  Day 1: 4   11-09   
24. George Kapiton         Inverness, FL            4  11-03  177
  Day 1: 4   11-03   
25. Jesse Tacoronte        Orlando, FL              5  11-02  176
  Day 1: 5   11-02   
26. Scott Luster           Prattville, AL           5  11-01  175
  Day 1: 5   11-01   
27. Rich Howes             Oviedo, FL               4  11-00  174
  Day 1: 4   11-00   
28. Scott Holland          Leesburg, GA             5  10-13  173
  Day 1: 5   10-13   
29. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  10-12  172
  Day 1: 5   10-12   
30. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  10-11  171
  Day 1: 5   10-11   
30. Brooks Forsyth         Hester, LA               5  10-11  171
  Day 1: 5   10-11   
32. Blake Nick             Adger, AL                5  10-10  169
  Day 1: 5   10-10   
33. Mike Jackson           San Mateo, FL            5  10-05  168
  Day 1: 5   10-05   
34. Guy Eaker Sr.          Cherryville, NC          5  10-04  167
  Day 1: 5   10-04   
35. Jeff Cloud             Lubbock, TX              5  10-03  166
  Day 1: 5   10-03   
36. Mike Kernan            Wylie, TX                5  10-02  165
  Day 1: 5   10-02   
37. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  10-01  164
  Day 1: 5   10-01   
37. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  10-01  164
  Day 1: 5   10-01   
39. Gary Riffle            Paris, TX                5  09-15  162
  Day 1: 5   09-15   
40. Alton Jones Jr.        Lorena, TX               5  09-13  161
  Day 1: 5   09-13   
40. Lonnie Oneal           Valdosta, GA             5  09-13  161
  Day 1: 5   09-13   
42. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  09-11  159
  Day 1: 5   09-11   
43. David Kilgore          Jasper, AL               3  09-11  158
  Day 1: 3   09-11   
44. Joey Nania             Cropwell, AL             5  09-06  157
  Day 1: 5   09-06   
45. William Shipes         Williston, SC            5  09-04  156
  Day 1: 5   09-04   
46. Danny Lavoie           Franklin, GA             3  09-04  155
  Day 1: 3   09-04   
47. Ed Loughran            Mechanicsville, VA       5  08-13  154
  Day 1: 5   08-13   
48. Kenta Kimura           Livingston, TX           4  08-11  153
  Day 1: 4   08-11   
49. Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL         5  08-09  152
  Day 1: 5   08-09   
50. Bill Weidler           Bessemer, AL             2  08-06  151
  Day 1: 2   08-06   
51. Jimmie Murphy          Ocala, FL                2  08-05  150
  Day 1: 2   08-05   
52. Vu Au                  Tucson, AZ               3  08-02  149
  Day 1: 3   08-02   
53. Shane Powell           Midland City, AL         2  08-02  148
  Day 1: 2   08-02   
54. John Cox               Debary, FL               3  08-01  147
  Day 1: 3   08-01   
55. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           3  08-00  146
  Day 1: 3   08-00   
56. Cody Detweiler         Orlando, FL              5  07-15  145
  Day 1: 5   07-15   
57. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            5  07-14  144
  Day 1: 5   07-14   
58. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          4  07-10  143
  Day 1: 4   07-10   
58. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             4  07-10  143
  Day 1: 4   07-10   
60. Eric Silverstrim       Indian Mound, TN         5  07-07  141
  Day 1: 5   07-07   
61. Scott Canterbury       Springville, AL          3  07-02  140
  Day 1: 3   07-02   
62. Jeff Holland           Winter Springs, FL       2  07-00  139
  Day 1: 2   07-00   
63. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              4  06-12  138
  Day 1: 4   06-12   
64. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           3  06-12  137
  Day 1: 3   06-12   
65. William Blanton        Fayetteville, NC         5  06-11  136
  Day 1: 5   06-11   
66. Bill Kisiah            Slidell, LA              2  06-08  135
  Day 1: 2   06-08   
67. Clabion Johns Jr       Covington, GA            4  06-05  134
  Day 1: 4   06-05   
68. Lane Wright            Loganville, GA           3  06-05  133
  Day 1: 3   06-05   
69. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         4  06-04  132
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