GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – After two spectacular fishing days on Lake Guntersville, day three of the Chevy Open saw a bit of a cool down in big catches today.
Despite great fishing weather, all pros in the top 10 noted that the fishing was “off” today. Not only were catches down, with only four five-bass limits being weighed in, but nearly all pros commented that the fish were not biting near as aggressively as the previous two days.
Most pros complained of bass merely swapping or swiping at their rattling lures rather than engulfing them into the back of their throats like they have been.
Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., took the lead with the day’s only 20-pound plus stringer weighing in at 20 pounds, 11 ounces.
Canterbury is a Guntersville local but today he revealed that February has always been his nemesis on the famed lake.
It has taken Canterbury a while to take a liking to the trap bite in Guntersville’s pre-spawn, but this week he has proven that he has the hang of it.
“I fish this lake a lot, mostly in the summer and fall,” he said. “And Thursday was the first time I’ve ever weighed in a five-bass limit here during February.”
Canterbury has turned his rattle bait education into a science this week.
“It takes a while to learn which rattle baits run at which depths and how to match them precisely to the depths you are fishing,” he said. “Once I got that figured out, things have really been clicking for me this week.”
Canterbury said he is fishing an area just off the river and the key element in his location is stumps.
“The grass in the area is pretty healthy, which that alone is a big help,” he said. “But there are a few big stumps in there as well and that’s the difference. This week, I’ve weighed all but one fish from this area.”
Canterbury won the FLW Tour Rookie of the Year award last year and nearly won two FLW events in the process. Now he is once again tracking down his first professional level win.
“As for tomorrow, I feel great,” he said. “I’m relaxed, I’m at ease and I’m just going fishing.”
Berkley pro Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla., is in second place with four bass weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce.
“I had the fifth one on twice and both were big,” he said of being a fish short of a limit. “They just pulled me down in the grass and got off.”
Newby is fishing a rattle bait in a small drain off the river.
“It’s a textbook scenario for pre-spawn fish,” he said. “It’s got a direct line to the main river for staging fish moving in. The whole area is about as big as a football field, but the key spot in that area is only as big as a basketball court – that’s where all the better fish have come from.”
Colson is fishing an original Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap in grass off the river.
“The whole key is mix of milfoil in hydrilla,” Colson said. “There is a good green carpet of hydrilla on the bottom, but interspersed in the hydrilla are big blooms of milfoil that stand up a couple of feet above the hydrilla. And when you hit one of those clumps of milfoil with that trap, boom, they get it. You can almost tell right when you’re about to get a bite because you’ll feel the bait run across one of those milfoil tops and then you better hang on.”
Being a Texas native, Tanner is fishing a text book grass pattern that works on his home lakes.
“I’m fishing ditches and inside grass lines that are set up just like the grass lines back home on Lake Fork – I mean it’s identical. If I didn’t know better I would think I’m fishing on Lake Fork.”
“During the mornings I’m fishing outside on the ditches,” he added. “But as the day warms up they move up on the inside lines in about 2 or 3 feet of water. It’s a classic pre-spawn pattern in Texas and it works just the same here.”
BP pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., rounds out the top 5 with five bass for 14 pounds, 13 ounces.
“I actually got more bites today than any other day, but they were all small,” Walker said. “I don’t know what happened to the big fish in there. I have not caught a bass over three pounds in two days. I even went out on the main river today to see if I could find a wad of bigger ones moving up and only caught small ones out there, too.”
Rest of the best
6th: David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., three bass, 14-4
7th: Tom Mann, Jr., of Buford, Ga., four bass, 9-15
8th: Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., four bass, 8-15
9th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., two bass, 7-15
10th: Craig Dowling of Grant, Ala., three bass, 7-15
“Catch a video recap from each day’s action at the Lake Guntersville event with FLW Outdoors On-Demand video. To access the video, click here.”
The fourth and final day of the FLW Tour on Lake Guntersville will begin Sunday at 7 a.m. at Lake Guntersville State Park.