By Dan O'Sullivan - April 26, 2016
On Qualifying Round 4 of the Major League Fishing 2016 Bass Pro Shops Challenge Select event in Youngstown, Ohio, a field of six anglers returned to Lake Milton, where Fletcher Shryock won Round 2.
Anglers launched their Nitro competition boats and scouted the 1,600-acre body of water to the west of the host city of Youngstown, and took their 15-minute ride-around to scout the lake. Like the previous visitors to the lake, this group of six anglers found the lake lined with shoreline docks, some vegetation and a long creek outlet featuring dirty water and plenty of shoreline cover.
Like all GEICO Select events, six anglers battled for the top spot to earn an automatic berth into the 2016 Challenge Cup. At minimum, each were looking to finish second, third or fourth to live to fight another day in the Survival Rounds.
After launch, the day began slowly. The process of feeling out a new lake can be time consuming for most anglers. However, with the pressure of the SCORETRACKER LIVE leaderboard, the anxiety tends to cloud decision making in some.
The first angler to begin to put a puzzle together was Jason Christie. The Park Hill, Oklahoma, pro managed to catch three or four fish early on a frog and flipping a creature bait. None of the anglers managed to score more than a few fish.
In the second period, things began to happen. Mark Rose found bass lurking in shaded areas of main-lake docks. He was able to get enough of them to cooperate to jump into the lead part way through the period. His lead lasted into the third period. As he was running the dock pattern, Ott DeFoe and Casey Scanlon were moving their way down a long tributary at the bottom end of the lake.
Scanlon and DeFoe’s choice proved to be the right move; both anglers found stretches of the creek full of both smallmouth and largemouth bass. DeFoe primarily used a 4-inch finesse stick worm he wacky rigged on spinning gear. Scanlon started with a jig but eventually moved to the stick worm as well.
With less than an hour to go in the final period, DeFoe was able to catch and pass Rose for the lead. DeFoe maintained the lead and won the day with 19 pounds, 6 ounces. Scanlon also manage to squeak past Rose in the final minutes to finish second with 14 pounds, 2 ounces.
Rose finished in third 13 pounds, 6 ounces, followed by Christie with 6 pounds, 6 ounces.