Takeaways from Day 2 at Cayuga Lake - Major League Fishing

Takeaways from Day 2 at Cayuga Lake

Day 2 goes bigger than Day 1, rookies making noise, Floyd frogging it up
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Group A set the bar high on Tuesday, and Group B exceeded it on Wednesday. Photo by Garrick Dixon. Angler: Alton Jones Jr..
June 7, 2023 • Mitchell Forde • Bass Pro Tour

UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. – Since the Bass Pro Tour made the groundbreaking move to split its field of anglers into two groups during the qualifying rounds of its tournaments, the second wave of anglers to hit the water has sometimes outperformed the first.

It seemed hard to believe Group B could clear the bar set by Group A at Favorite Fishing Stage Five Presented by ATG by Wrangler when it got its chance to take the fertile waters of Cayuga Lake Wednesday.

But Cayuga continued to amaze.

A day after Group A weighed in a whopping 781 pounds, 13 ounces of bass, the 40 anglers in Group B lit up SCORETRACKER® to the tune of 197 keepers for 792-3. That broke yesterday’s mark for the best single day since the BPT went to its biggest-five-fish format prior to the 2023 season. 

The average keeper weighed 4-0, up an ounce from Tuesday, as 38 anglers filled their five-fish limit for the second day in a row. Nineteen competitors topped the 20-pound mark after 20 did so on Tuesday. Cody Meyer leads the way after weighing in five bass of 5 pounds or more — four smallmouth and one largemouth — for 26-11.

“This place has got ‘em,” Meyer said. “This place is an awesome place. Can’t wait to get back out there.”

In addition to Meyer, five other anglers boated limits of more than 24 pounds, while 18 exceeded 21 pounds.

Making the output even more impressive is the fact that, due to the windy, smoky conditions that have limited visibility, several of the anglers who did their damage by sight-fishing for smallmouth Wednesday shared the same stretch of bank. Meanwhile, quite a few of the largemouth fishermen at the northern end of the lake are plying the same boat docks and grass flats.

While fishing pressure could be a factor as the week progresses, there’s reason to believe the weights could get even bigger once the weekend arrives, as anglers who experience success in the morning will have no reason to ease off the gas.

Matt Becker had more than 23 pounds next to his name on SCORETRACKER® at the end of Period 1. Photo by Garrick Dixon

Shuffield, Becker start northern swing strong

The seven rookie anglers who joined the BPT field in 2023 have made their presence felt during the first four tournaments of the season. All seven entered Stage Five among the Top 40 in the Bally Bet Angler of the Year Standings, with four in the Top 20. Matt Becker headlined the group in fifth place.

The early indication is that Becker and fellow rookie Spencer Shuffield shouldn’t be expected to slip now that the tournament trail has swung north.

Shuffield sacked up 26-1 on Wednesday, which has him in second place in Group B, 10 ounces back of Meyer. He did the majority of his damage sight-fishing for spawning smallmouth with a Ned rig, but upgraded once in the third period when he caught a 4-11 largemouth skipping a wacky worm under a dock.

While Shuffield hails from Hot Springs, Arkansas, his proficiency on northern waters won’t come as a surprise to those who have followed his career. Shuffield won the Tackle Warehouse TITLE on the St. Lawrence River last year. And he’s been vocal about his affinity for New York bass. He shared on his Instagram account this week that he had an “absolutely amazing practice,” which came after he caught a nearly 33-pound limit of all smallmouth on neighboring Seneca Lake prior to practice on Cayuga.

Safe to say Shuffield is dialed in.

Becker, meanwhile, had the best start of any angler in Group B. He racked up 23-10 in the first 90 minutes of action — all smallmouth that he sight-fished with a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm on a drop shot — to briefly move to the top of SCORETRACKER®. He culled once to boost his total to 24-2 (which has him in sixth place), then used his afternoon to explore new water.

Becker, who called Pennsylvania home prior to a recent move to Tennessee, should have a realistic chance to climb even higher in the AOY standings during the final three events of the season. He finished in the Top 10 at both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain last year while fishing the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit.

Cole Floyd didn’t intend to throw frogs today, but doing so generated more than 20 pounds in Period 1. Photo by Phoenix Moore

Floyd zigs while others zag

The first two days of competition have seen anglers employ a wide range of techniques to catch Cayuga’s plentiful bass: sight-fishing with finesse gear, flipping, winding baits through submerged vegetation, skipping docks.

Cole Floyd took a different approach, and it paid off in the form of a strong start. Capitalizing on the low-light conditions, Floyd used a hollow-body frog to generate a series of topwater strikes Wednesday morning.

“I had no intentions on throwing a frog,” Floyd told Rob Newell on the MLFNOW! livestream. “Now we got this weather coming in, it’s kind of nasty out and dreary and stuff. I told my official, I haven’t thrown a frog at all. But it just set up perfect for it.”

Floyd fished the frog around shallow boat docks. SCORETRACKER Insider shows that he fooled four bass with the offering, three of which made his eventual five-fish limit. That included a 5-7, his biggest of the day. 

Floyd admitted that the effectiveness of the frog surprised him; he had planned on throwing a wacky worm. But despite chilly water, the bass attacked his bait with abandon. 

The bite didn’t last long, but the morning flurry gave Floyd more than 20 pounds in the first hour and a half. He finished with 21-9, good for 12th place.

“It was fast and furious, and there was blood flying everywhere,” Floyd said. “It was awesome. I mean, textbook, 101 frogging. They were eating it. So it was pretty cool.”