BAY CITY, Mich. – The anglers are seeing green at Minn Kota Stage Seven Presented by Suzuki on Saginaw Bay, with largemouth being the flavor of the day. Making the most of the switch in species atop SCORETRACKER® was South Carolina’s Britt Myers, who caught 17 pounds, 13 ounces of largemouth to take the lead in Group B.
High winds on the day forced the anglers to adjust, and Myers did it best with a tournament-leading bag and the biggest all-largemouth tally so far this week. He will carry a 1-14 lead over Jeff Sprague when action for Group B resumes on Friday.
On a day when not a single 4-pounder was caught (compared to 16 on Day 1), Myers captured all solid fish in the 3-pound class after a challenging practice.
“Some of the best days you have in tournaments come after a bad practice,” he said. “Today was a great example of that. I’m leading the tournament after a horrible practice. Today was completely unexpected, but I’ll take it.”
Myers spent the bulk of his practice searching for smallmouth and in the limited time he targeted largemouth, the size was not to his liking.
“I spent about a quarter of my practice time chasing after largemouth and never caught one over 3 pounds, but saw a bigger one jump over my bait in one area,” he said. “I went there today and the wind had moved the grass all around and it bummed me out, but then I discovered a key mix of grass and a depth zone that seems to be holding the better fish.”
He kept those details to himself for now, but said his primary tool is a frog, with a buzzbait also producing some bites.
“The buzzbait was great, but the better fish seemed to want the frog,” he said. “Once I realized that, I didn’t do anything but throw a frog.”
When Myers found the right ingredients, he replicated his success and expanded his areas. The other good news is that he has the area all to himself.
“First thing this morning, I saw one boat way off in the distance; after that, I never saw another boat,” he said. “It’s a big area that goes miles and miles and when you find that certain depth and mix of grass, you can get some bites.”
Looking ahead, Myers plans to stick with the largemouth for his next day of fishing, but is keeping his options open should he advance to the Knockout Round and beyond.
“I plan to think about it some. The day off will be key,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll need much weight to advance, if I feel safe, I may go look for smallmouth. The only way that I think largemouth can win is if we get a lot of wind the last two days and smallmouth fishing is impossible. It’s just too hard for largemouth to compete here.”
One exciting dynamic this week is the ability for the pros to trailer their boats to the public boat launch of their choice and avoid long runs in rough waves, which nearly everyone has done. Anglers can also do it midday if they are willing to sacrifice fishing time and that was the approach Sprague took.
To start the day, Sprague was all-in on the smallmouth bite and readjusted to largemouth when the wind and waves made it too difficult for him to fish his primary areas. In the end, he bagged 15-15, which consisted of three largemouth and two smallmouth.
“The wind really pushed us all into smaller areas because the waves were massive out there,” he said. “It shows how dynamic a fishery this is where you can switch from brown to green ones. It’s pretty stinking cool if you ask me.”
To make this plan work, Sprague had to take a huge gamble and sacrifice over an hour of his day to make it happen.
“I had to put away all of the light line, grab the heavy braided line and head to largemouth country,” he said. “I got back on the trailer and drove an hour to fish and lost around an hour and 20 minutes of fishing time by the time I started fishing again. Luckily I caught a 3-11 and 3-14 largemouth, which are true difference-makers on this body of water.”
While the plan was perfect today, Sprague still hopes to return to the smallmouth.
“I feel like I’m on some really good fish out there,” he said. “I’ll have to watch the forecast and if weather permits, I’m going back to the brown fish.”
It’s still too early to crown a Bally Bet Angler of the Year, but things are getting interesting. After a slow start to the day, Alton Jones Jr. finds himself in 20th place. He entered the day seven points ahead of Jacob Wheeler and he’ll need to catch them again when Group B fishes again on Friday to make the Knockout Round. If not, it will be someone else hoisting the AOY trophy.
Matt Becker, who came into the event in fourth place in the rankings, 10 points back of Jones, had a tougher start to the event. He finds himself in 26th place, also with work to do if he wants to stay in the AOY conversation. The good news for Becker is that weights are tight and he’s just 12 ounces outside of 20th and zeroed weights in the Knockout Round.
Group A returns to Saginaw Bay tomorrow, with half the field getting one more day of fishing and the rest finishing their season. They begin fishing at 8 a.m. with the MLFNOW! live stream kicking off at 7:45 a.m. ET. You can follow the action and get live-scoring updates at MajorLeagueFishing.com.