It was a tough grind from the start, but with the knowledge that four anglers were ready to make it to Sudden Death, everyone was ready for a fight in Elimination Round 2 of the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup from Lake Eufaula, Alabama.
The 10 anglers competing for Boyd Duckett, Ish Monroe, Kevin VanDam, Gary Klein, Mike McClelland, Takahiro Omori, Denny Brauer, Brent Chapman, Ott Defoe and Fletcher Shryock.
The anglers once again found themselves on Lake Eufaula, this time in Zone 1, the largest zone of the event which stretches 22 miles from the bridge to the dam on Lake Eufaula.
Early fall conditions affecting the lake, shad are on the move migrating to the back of creeks, scattered fish hydrilla all over the lake and catch anglers by surprise as they have only fished the lake in the spring and summer. No birds or jumping fish
“They’re bass, they don’t subscribe to the same magazines that we write,” joked Duckett.
KVD had the first catch of the day with a 14 oz. catch fishing off some bait fish on a bank
He found most of his fish in the first period on various points in the lake.
Many of the anglers noted that the fish lacked urgency to feed, which made them lethargic or more reluctant to bite than they might normally be fishing the lake earlier in the year.
At the end of Period 1, Kevin VanDam was in the lead with 6 lbs., 3 oz. Most of the other anglers said they were happy just to be on the board, as any angler could make a major move with only a few catches.
Many anglers decided to make adjustments, moving to the back of creeks and onto grass to look for the bite they were unable to find in Period 1. KVD headed back to the points that helped him find the lead in the first hours of competition.
Early on in Period 2, Shryock caught a 4 lb., 2 oz. fish flipping the grass that he found mild success on initially with a Trokar hook and a creature bait.
Hello bass, my name is Ott Defoe, I would like to catch you, weigh you and release you,” Defoe joked. “Please bite my hook.”
By the end of Period 2, Shryock was in the lead, and Defoe still had no fish.
“This lake has got lots of biggun’s in it,” Defoe said, despite his bad luck on this particular day.
“There’s a whole flock of them here and I can’t get one of them to bite,” KVD said.
Midway through Period 3 the top position Shryock had locked in for the most part, so it was a game of catch up for some and a race to try to stay in the top 4 for the other anglers.
When Period 3 came to a close, Select Pro Fletcher Shryock was able to count 23 lb., 5 oz. and the day’s win.
“Definitely excited to get the win, I mean for being on nothing and catching them in a way that I really wanted to catch them, is super cool,” he said. “I wanted to catch them that way, but I didn’t believe it could be done—it’s hard to make that work a lot of times.”
In the end, the four anglers moving on to the Sudden Death Rounds were Fletcher Shryock, Brent Chapman, Mike McClelland and Kevin VanDam.