Winding Down To Finals
MLF anglers brace to make rounds on howling day
By: Lynn Burkhead, Major League Fishing
To say that the wind is supposed to blow on Sudden Death Day 2 in Western New York would be a serious understatement.
According to the weatherman, the wind is supposed to blow, blow, and blow some more. It's more of a sailboat kind of day on the 13,000-acre Chautauqua Lake, not a day to try to hold a bass boat steady next to a boat dock being battered by the waves.
That's the challenge facing six anglers as competition continues at the Jack Link's Major League Fishing 2013 General Tire Summit Cup.
At stake are the final three positions in the Championship round.
Ish Monroe, one of bass fishing's best shallow water anglers, says that he hopes to get a lot of work done early.
"One thing I like about the zone is that it hasn't been fished by any of us," the California pro said. "They had a tournament over the weekend and all of the zones got hammered pretty good. But this one hasn't been fished for about a week now and I think the fish should really be biting."
Despite the forecast of wind, Monroe is optimistic about the forecasted temperatures.
"We've got the warmest morning so far (of the week), so that makes me really excited, especially with the stuff I like to do, like throwing a frog and fishing shallow by flipping," Monroe said. "I've got a few things up my sleeve, changed a few rods around, so you know, I can possibly catch four or five fish pretty quick this morning.
"Then hopefully, if it pans out the rest of the day, I can cross the finish line first."
What does the forecast of a virtual gale blowing most of the day do to Terry "Big Show" Scroggins of Florida? It causes him to simply shrug his shoulders.
"It's going to be frustrating, but it's just something that you've got to deal with," Scroggins said. "As professionals, we can't choose our days when we're going to go out there.
"If it's sunny, slick and calm, that's one thing. And if it's blowing 30 and raining with bad weather, we're still going. We're kind of like postmen. Nothing stops us but lightning. We just deal with the conditions, go on, and do the best we can."
Scroggins isn’t sure if he’ll fish shallow for largemouths or deep for smallmouths, but he knows what he will look for during the 15-minute "Hot Round."
"Every body of water you go to, there's an offshore bite going on somewhere," he said. "In my 15 minutes, that's what I'm looking for because I can see every dock. We don't know which docks are good and which ones are not until we fish them.
"I already know what's there (around the docks) so I'm still going out and looking for something in the middle."
Scroggins admits that given the Summit Cup's no practice format, it will be difficult to find the mother lode of offshore fish that could put him across the finish line in the first period.
Shaw Grigsby already has his game plan in hand, having found Chautauqua's shallow water dock bite much to his liking. That doesn't mean the pattern will be an easy one to run, however.
"Boat control is going to be a really tough deal," Grigsby said. "It will be very important to get in and maneuver and try not to blow the fish out of the water by getting in and having to throw your trolling motor in reverse.
"So, I think the wind will throw a whole other element into it that we haven't had to deal with so far."
Greg Hackney is looking forward to getting on the water, too, but he won’t focus on small.
"There is some smallmouth structure in this hole," Hackney said. "But will I fool with it? No."
Oklahoma's Edwin Evers doesn't care how he catches them, just that he catches them and catches them quick.
"My thoughts this morning? Catch 24 pounds before three other guys do," Evers said. "This isn't the kind of deal where you can wait around for the afternoon bite to get better. You've got to make this happen as quickly as you possibly can because you don't want to miss out on making that cutline."
Arkansas' Mark Davis doesn't plan on making any big changes from his Elimination Round, but he knows he might have to.
"I know there are other ways to catch fish here," Davis said. "And none of us have really explored them yet. If the wind really gets to howling, I think to really do well and capitalize on this thing, you're going to have to try some new stuff."
Because at the end of the day, all that really matters at Chautauqua is surviving the day, to be one of the first three anglers to get across the cut-weight finish line, to find a way to fish on Championship Day.
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