By Dan O'Sullivan - April 27, 2014
DENTON, Tex. – Once again, Major League Fishing officials proved that they don’t like for the anglers to get comfortable. On Sudden Death Day One of the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup, the first field of six advancing anglers were led away from Ray Roberts Lake and straight to Grapevine Lake in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Grapevine Lake has some history of producing quality largemouth, decent numbers of spotted bass and even some quality smallmouth. Successful fishing on the aged lake typically revolves around structure fish; much of the lake is void of vegetation. The only visible cover on the lake is limited to marina boat docks and private boathouses.
At first look, the field for the first day of Sudden Death competition appeared to have the kind of anglers that presented two sides of the spectrum when it comes to a body of water like Grapevine. The group seemed evenly split between shallow water anglers and offshore finesse specialists, which were most likely to be the ones to have better success.
Like any other Sudden Death day, the first group of six competitors were shooting to be one of the first three anglers to reach a target total weight to qualify for the finals. Making a decision based on information they had received, MLF officials set the target weight at 20 pounds.
It was anticipated for the structure- and finesse-oriented anglers to dominate the day. However, the end result proved just how versatile these anglers can be. While they all have their own strengths that seem to identify them, they are the best anglers in the world and have the uncommon ability of being able to adapt in tough conditions.
The angler that adapted the quickest was Lake Havasu, Ariz., pro Dean Rojas. He found a group of fish on a large rocky flat adjacent to a main lake point and went to work with a crankbait. It took him a little while to get completely rolling, but once he did, he produced a keeper almost every 10 to 15 minutes en route to eclipsing the cut-line weight before noon.
Rojas, who is known as the “Frog Master,” managed to put 21 pounds, 12 ounces on the leaderboard very quickly. In fact, his ascent was so rapid, that it left MLF officials feeling that this might be the shortest Sudden Death day in MLF history. But, those thoughts proved to be erroneous.
The day ended up going the full term, with no other angler eclipsing the 20-pound target total weight. When that happens, per the rules, the remaining anglers are placed based on total weight. Following Rojas in second place was Brent Ehrler with 15 pounds, 1 ounce. Gary Klein was third with 13 pounds, 12 ounces.
Fourth-place finisher Aaron Martens was closing in on Klein in third period, but his 12 pounds, 15 ounces wasn’t enough at the end of the day. Following Martens in fifth was Edwin Evers with 10 pounds, 8 ounces. In sixth place was Jeff Kriet with 4 pounds even.
Rojas, Ehrler and Klein set up half the field for the Championship Round, but they will have to wait another day before they find out which anglers they will face and what lake will be chosen for the final. Tune in to Outdoor Channel on Saturday, May 3, for Sudden Death Day Two to find out which three anglers will complete the Championship Round field of the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup.
2014 Challenge Cup: Sudden Death Day One Final Standings
|Angler||Weight (lbs)||Total Fish||Avg Weight (lbs)||Biggest Fish (lbs)||Last Fish (lbs)|
|Dean Rojas||21 lb 12 oz||12||1 lb 13 oz||4 lb 10 oz||2 lb 12 oz|
|Brent Ehrler||15 lb 01 oz||9||1 lb 11 oz||4 lb 01 oz||0 lb 12 oz|
|Gary Klein||13 lb 12 oz||11||1 lb 04 oz||3 lb 10 oz||1 lb 03 oz|
|Top three anglers advance, bottom three are eliminated|
|Aaron Martens||12 lb 15 oz||7||1 lb 14 oz||4 lb 02 oz||0 lb 14 oz|
|Edwin Evers||10 lb 08 oz||8||1 lb 05 oz||1 lb 11 oz||1 lb 02 oz|
|Jeff Kriet||4 lb 00 oz||3||1 lb 05 oz||1 lb 13 oz||0 lb 12 oz|
NOTE: Sudden Death Day One of the 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup will air through May 3 on Outdoor Channel. Check here for the full schedule.