2/12/09 - 2/15/09 -- Lake Guntersville
Lake Guntersville Resort State Park, Huntsville, AL
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Tom Mann, Jr., of Buford, Ga., now leads the Chevy Open on Lake Guntersville with a two-day total of 46-12. (Photo by Rob Newell)Man, oh Mann
Georgia pro leads at Guntersville; famed lake still serving up healthy doses of bass at Chevy Open
By Rob Newell - 13.Feb.2009
GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Despite the constant parade of big bass that crossed the Walmart FLW Tour stage on day one of the Chevy Open, catches never even checked up on day two.
Lake Guntersville just kept stamping out 4- to 6-pound bass like a machine. Yesterday’s 15 limits over 20 pounds in the Pro Division paled in comparison to today’s 22 limits over 20 pounds.
Indeed, Guntersville is a bass fishing anomaly that can’t be explained.
Tom Mann, Jr., of Buford, Ga., has now taken the pole position going into the final round on day three.
He added 21 pounds, 7 ounces to his 25-pound, 5-ounce day-one catch to take the overall lead with 46 pounds, 12 ounces.
“The water temperature dropped in my area 4 or 5 degrees overnight and I think that hurt it a little bit this morning,” Mann said. “Yesterday my co-angler and I were culling 3-pounders at 10 o’ clock – well that was not the case today. When I got in there the water had cooled off to about 47 or 48 degrees and it was tough. But finally, at about 1:30, the water temperature hit 50 degrees and it turned on; I culled three times in 30 minutes.”
Mann is fishing a red Rapala Rattlin’ Rap to catch his fish. He noted that he is fishing a large area way up the river but he has found something special about a particular 200-yard stretch.
“It’s got good, green hydrilla and milfoil on it,” Mann described. “If you go above or below this area, it’s that slick, dead grass. But for about 200 yards there is the most beautiful green, hard grass that grows up nice and high – and that’s the key to fishing Guntersville in the winter – finding the highest, healthiest grass you can find.”
Local pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., is proving he means business this week. He topped a day-one catch of 22 pounds, 1 ounce with a 24-pound, 7-ounce catch today for a two-day total of 46 pounds, 8 ounces.
Canterbury is finding success on his highly refined select-a-trap system. Essentially Canterbury has five different rattling lipless crankbaits of various size, make and color and each one has a specific purpose for the terrain he is fishing.
“I’m basically matching the lipless baits to the different depths and varying heights of grass that I’m fishing,” Canterbury said. “The whole key is to fish that trap as slow as possible over the tops of the grass. And I have to give all the credit for these catches to the Revo Winch – a five to one gear ratio reel that allows me to crawl those baits over the grass.
“When practice started I was using a high speed reel and I could not get a bite. But when I went to a Revo Winch and really slowed the bait down, it made all the different in the world in the areas I was fishing.”
David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., is in third place with a two-day total of 45 pounds, 2 ounces.
Fritts has been counting on a couple of his really deep honey holes for his big fish, but he feels that bite might be going away.
“Yesterday I caught two of my biggest fish really deep on a Fat Raz football jig with a Zoom craw trailer,” Fritts said. “But that was not working at all today. I’m afraid that it has warmed up a little too much for those deep fish and now they’re coming to the bank. So I fished my tail off with a Rapala DT-6 and DT-10 around rocks to catch the 19 pounds I weighed in.”
Berkley pro Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla., got some attention with a 25-pound, 5-ounce catch today to move into fourth with a two-day total of 44 pounds, 11 ounces.
While Newby is usually one to run into the far reaches of a river or creek arm and flip a jig, he has joined the trapping crowd at Guntersville.
“Don’t fight the system,” Newby said of his trapping ways. “There’s no need to re-invent the wheel at Guntersville – they bite lipless rattlers so that’s what I’m throwing.”
What Newby has discovered is an untapped area down the lake that only seems to turn on in the afternoon.
“Late yesterday afternoon I stopped and tried a spot on the way back in – it’s just a little drain off a flat – and caught three that weighed about 15 pounds,” Newby recounted. “I started there this morning and couldn’t catch anything. So I ran up the lake, didn’t do any good and came back down to that spot this afternoon and it was wide open; I caught all those fish in about 35 minutes. It’s small area and I caught them all on almost the same cast each time. I don’t know why it’s not good in the morning, but it’s red hot in the afternoon.”
Day one leader, BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., is now in fifth with 41 pounds, 14 ounces.
Walker returned to his hot spot from day one and noticed a local boat far up the bank from where he was fishing.
“I didn’t think much of it,” Walker said. “But pretty soon they started fishing back down my way and then one of the guys hollers out, ‘Man, you should have been here at day break, it was unreal! I mean they were really biting.”
All Walker could do was laugh it off.
“They were extremely courteous guys and meant absolutely no harm. They were just out enjoying s good day of fishing on Guntersville like anyone else would. They gave me plenty room. I did end up catching a few keepers out of there, but I kind of figured there was not much point in staying around all day hoping that the spot would turn again on and I moved on and tried to fish some other water.”
Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, Mich., caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day two weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Guntersville after day two:
6th: Ramie Colson of Cadiz, Ky., two-day total of 41-14
7th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., two-day total of 41-13
8th: Craig Dowling of Grant, Ala., two-day total of 41-5
9th: Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., two-day total of 40-14
10th: John Tanner of Quitman, Texas, two-day total of 40-12
Israel leads co-anglers
Judy Israel of Wimauma, Fla., has been fishing the FLW Tour for over a decade and today she experienced the most memorable catch of her career.
From the back of pro Carl Svebek’s boat she hauled in a whopping 26 pounds, 8 ounces, which included a 9-pound, 6-ounce Guntersville giant – the biggest bass of the tournament so far.
“I figured I had about 18, maybe 20 pounds,” said an ecstatic Israel. “I thought the big one weighed about 8 pounds. And when I put them on the scale and saw 26 pounds, I just couldn’t believe it. That’s the biggest limit and the biggest bass I’ve ever weighed in a tournament. What a thrill.”
Israel’s success came on a Berkley Frenzy Rattler and with a two-day total of 37 pounds, 9 ounces she now leads the top-10 co-anglers into the top 10 for day three.
Greg Schultz of Wayzata, Minn., is in second with a two-day total of 36 pounds, 12 ounces.
Terry Chapman of Stanley, N.C., is in third place with a two-day total of 36 pounds, 6 ounces.
Fred Martin of North Little Rock, Ark., is now in fourth place with a two-day total of 34 pounds, 13 ounces.
Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., rounds, out the top five co-anglers with a two-day total of 34 pounds, 3 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour after day two:
6th: Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark., two-day total of 33-13
7th: Bill Bade of Omaha, Ne., two-day total of 32-10
8th: Thomas Helton of Charleston, Tenn., two-day total of 32-9
9th: Sam Mitchiner of Garner, N.C., two-day total of 31-1
10th: Scott Gibson of Wiggins, Miss., two-day total of 29-4
"Catch a video recap from each day's action at the Lake Guntersville event with FLW Outdoors On-Demand video. To access the video, click here."
Day three of the FLW Tour on Lake Guntersville will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. at Lake Guntersville State Park.