2:15: Closing time on day three
We’re closing down the blog for the day. There’s a lot of potential for movement in the last hour or so – Justin Atkins may yet fill his limit (he’s burning up water with a squarebill now), Thrift could catch a kicker or Barry Wilson could hit a flurry and climb back up into the top 10. In short, the next little bit will be a stressful time for the pros looking to make the top 10 and fish tomorrow.
With that, weigh-in starts at 4 p.m. CT at flwfishing.com and Guntersville City Harbor. It’s going to be a close one!
1:50: Rose culls again
Mark Rose sure is dialed in this week. Guntersville might not be producing quite like usual, but he’s got a better feel for it than everyone else so far. Slinging a squarebill, Rose just caught a 3-pounder to cull up another pound. Unofficially, he’s crossed the 60-pound mark for his total.
1:45: Atkins lost a heartbreaker
Every fish can feel big when you don’t have five and check-in is at 3:30, but Justin Atkins sure enough just lost a good one. He followed that up with another miss though, so perhaps he’s about to fire some fish up.
Meanwhile, Chris McCall just filled his limit –he and Brandon Cobb are now virtually tied for 10th.
1:43: Cobb is cracking them
Brandon Cobb started the day in 19th, but he’s going to be one of the biggest movers of the day for sure. After catching a 4-pounder, Cobb is now up to about 16 pounds and has a shot at the cut. Like so many others, he’s reeling a lipless in grass on the main river.
1:25: McCall’s day, Rose culls
Chris McCall only has four in the boat (two good ones), but’s at least been able to fish the way he loves to fish. Today he’s caught three fish cranking a red Rat-L-Trap and a fourth on a vibrating jig.
More in the hunt, Mark Rose just culled again. He added about a pound to his total and now has about 17 pounds. The way it looks, he’ll at least hold steady compared to his competitors.
1:11: Still waiting on Atkins
Justin Atkins is surely around fish, but he can’t get a keeper in the boat. He’s had to toss back four short fish in the last 45 minutes and is still just one away from filling his limit.
12:58: Morgan has culled again
Andy Morgan sure is good. He’s catching fish pretty steady today and just culled up another half pound or so. It seems like he’s building his classic bag, where he’ll say he has 13 pounds and then the scales will say he has 18.
Atkins has now moved back to his starting spot. He’s still looking for his fifth keeper and is probably starting to feel the pressure a little.
Another guy who’s been catching them pretty good is Brandon Cobb. He’s got a limit for about 14 pounds now and is right on the bubble for making the cut.
Bradley Dortch just got his first bite of the day and it’s a dandy 4-pounder. Now the only man left without a bass is Jordan Osborne.
We’ve had Cory Johnston slip through a bit lately, but he’s got four now and is a fish or two away from making the cut.
12:35: Multiple updates
Christopher Brasher has been really strong today – recently he finished his limit with a 3-pounder and probably has about 17 pounds in the boat. Unofficially, that has him rocketing up into fifth place. Like so many others, he’s slinging a variety of moving baits in shallow eelgrass along main river areas, not back in creeks.
Chris McCall is also having a solid day and has the potential for a great day. He has three fish in the boat now, but thinks he has about 11 pounds for those three. If he can add anything to that he’ll have a strong bag and a shot at making the top 10 for sure.
Also, Todd Hollowell and Barry Wilson both finally have a keeper.
Finally, Scott Suggs made a small cull. He has about 17 pounds as well and is also making a big move up.
12:27: Davis notes
Alex Davis has been fishing offshore grass pretty much all day. He’s throwing a lipless, but also a crankbait and a few other moving baits too. He’s got around 16 pounds in the boat today, which is really good, and should pretty much guarantee that he’s fishing on Sunday.
He might have a little extra trouble on Sunday though. He just left one spot to move to the next and it looks like a few locals stayed behind to fish it too.
12:15: Rose again
Mark Rose just caught another fish, not a big one, but a keeper nonetheless. He’s back to throwing a lipless in grass now. Rose has really mixed it up today and he’s caught something on just about everything he’s done. He’d probably love to be catching them doing one thing, but once it all totals out he should be pretty happy.
12:10: Weather and Rose
It’s starting to get pretty prime out on Guntersville. It’s not warm, but the sun is shining bright and the wind isn’t too bad at all. It looks like it’s gonna be a good afternoon for catching bass.
Speaking of catching, Mark Rose boxed a small keeper for his fifth – he’s got a limit that goes about 16 pounds now.
12:05: Morgan notes
Andy Morgan just made a small cull and is fishing a jig, skipping and pitching it to about anything he can touch. Morgan is fishing like Thrift usually does – he's bouncing all over and even idling from one side of a dock to the other.
Noon: Midday weight estimates
Here’s what we’ve got so far from the top 10. Everything is pretty unofficial at this point, but by Guntersville standards, it’s still very tight at the top.
Mark Rose – 14.5 (4)
Bryan Thrift – 12.5 (5)
Alex Davis – 16.5 (5)
Scott Suggs – 16.5 (5)
Shin Fukae – 13.5 (5)
Justin Atkins – 11.25 (4)
Andy Morgan – 12.75 (5)
Brandon Cobb – 14 (5)
Christopher Brasher – 9.5 (3)
Jason Reyes – 6.5 (3)
11:59: Rose catches his fourth
Mark Rose just caught his fourth for real this time. Fishing the same spot, Rose weeded through about 200 short fish before sticking a 2-pounder.
Behind him, but gaining, Alex Davis just smoked a 4-pounder to get his creel up past 16 pounds.
11:45: Rose is catching
Mark Rose is catching shorts nearly every cast. He’s still cranking about the one he broke off, but he’s at least getting bit. Instead of cranking, Rose is now throwing a jig to the base of a power line tower.
11:36: Justin Atkins update
Justin Atkins just took a break to eat a banana. It’s a bold an unusual move, but he’s fishing day three of his first FLW Tour event, so maybe that’s what it takes.
Mark Rose (three fish), just caught a short and then broke off something on the next cast. At almost the same time, Andy Morgan broke off a good one as well.
11:30: Davis limits
Alex Davis just filled his limit with a 2-pounder. He’s now got about 14 pounds in the boat and is looking for more. Davis is a guide on Guntersville, so there’s a decent chance he’s got a spot or two in mind where kickers have lived in the past…
11:15: Morgan is culling, others are not
After a small keeper to fill his limit a while ago, Andy Morgan culled it right out with a 3.5-pounder. He’s the first to cull today and has done it on a variety of baits.
Decidedly not culling, Todd Hollowell, Jordan Osborne and Bradley Dortch have yet to catch a keeper.
11:06: Rose correction
Turns out that Mark Rose only has three fish. They’re all good ones, but we obviously got something wrong earlier. Either way, it doesn’t change things too much unless he can’t manage to catch two more keepers between now and the 3:30 check-in time.
11:00: The rock bite
David Dudley just caught another 3-pounder for his second keeper. He’s cranking rock, and it seems like the sun might be getting up enough to heat it up. It’s still pretty cold out there, but the bite should keep getting better as the day goes on.
10:50: Rose is pulling ahead
Though others are catching faster (Shin just filled his limit with a 3-pounder), nobody is catching more quality than Mark Rose. Throwing a squarebill on rock, Rose just caught his fourth (see above) of the day, a solid 5-pounder that gives him about 15 pounds total and pushes his unofficial lead to nearly 5 pounds over Thrift.
10:40: Thrift is the first to a limit
It’s not the world’s biggest, but Bryan Thrift has a limit now. His fifth fish bumps him into a virtual tie with Mark Rose.
Just after that, Atkins landed his fourth and Scott Suggs landed his fifth. With that, Atkins has about 12 pounds and Suggs has about 15 pounds.
10:30: Dudley has one
This got missed in the rush, but David Dudley caught his first keeper about a half hour ago. He’s lost a few and caught a really big drum as well.
10:28: Atkins has his third
He had to go through a couple of shorts, but Justin Atkins has his third in the boat now. It’s not big, but every bit helps.
Jeff Sprague and Jason Reyes share information on Tour, and this week they’ve been milking the same 250 yard stretch of grass. According to Reyes it's a mix of eelgrass and hydrilla, and it's much greener than anywhere else.
10:19: Four for Suggs and Davis
Alex Davis and Scott Suggs both landed quality bass to bring them just one shy of a limit. Both of them are having really strong days and are currently in the top five with over 12 pounds each.
10:05: Cobb has three
Brandon Cobb started the day in 19th, but he’s having a pretty good morning so far. As of now, he’s got three fish in the boat for about 8 pounds. He needs to improve that to make the cut, but it looks like there’s a chance he’ll find a way to fish on Sunday too.
9:50: Reyes strikes
Jason Reyes recently moved to a new section of grass. It’s apparently his juice, and he’s planning on sticking it out all day on it. A few minutes after he got there he caught a 2-pounder to start his limit, which is shocking to him. He says his area doesn't usually turn on until well into the afternoon.
9:47: Shin has moved
Shin started his day up in Seibold, and he’s moving down to Alred’s now. He’s still got four in the box. He went back and forth over his area a bunch this morning, he may be giving it a rest, or he may be done with it for the day.
9:40: Atkins ascending
Justin Atkins started his day with a 3-pounder and his second (caught a moment ago) is a 4-pounder. He’s evidently found some fish, because he just caught a non-keeper as well.
Unofficially, the top five is Mark Rose, Bryan Thrift, Shin Fukae, Justin Atkins and Andy Morgan.
9:30: Four for Thrift, Wilson is struggling
Bryan Thrift has four in the boat for what he calls “8 pounds,” so we figure he’s got about 10 pounds or so. Barry Wilson, on the other hand, is struggling mightily. He hasn’t put a fish in the boat yet and is really worried about the frigid morning temperatures. It’s supposed to warm up quick, but that may not be enough if Wilson is to be believed.
Around the field, Alex Davis has a third keeper now and Cory Johnston is on the board with two, a regular keeper and a 4-pounder. Christopher Brasher is also doing well today, and has a keeper and a 3- and 4-pounder.
9:20: A handful of updates
Justin Atkins has his first now, a fish that goes about 3 pounds. Alex Davis has his second, which goes a bit more than 2 pounds. Andy Morgan also has his fourth, and he’s caught three of them on a skaky head.
9:00: Robertson is on the board
It took some doing, and he had to go through two shorts to do it, but Darrel Robertson has his first keeper. It’s nothing special, only about 2 pounds, but keepers were precious yesterday. So far today, the bass seem to be biting well, but as we know, ounces is money in this game.
8:53: McCall has his first
One of the best in the world with a lipless crankbait, Chris McCall just put a decent keeper in the ‘well to start the day. He’s fishing way up the lake around the B.B. Comer Bridge, so he had a bit of a long and chilly run to start his day.
Elsewhere, Andy Morgan and Scott Suggs each have their second keeper of the day.
8:44: Things may work out alright…
Slinging a red lipless, Rose just caught a decent keeper and then a 4-pounder to go with it. So, his stuff might not be blown out after all. He’s cranking some natural rock now and may be adapting to the new conditions pretty well.
Shin has been pretty much on fire today, and he’s got four in the boat now for a total of about 10 pounds (though it’s probably more considering how fat Guntersville bass tend to be).
8:30: Bad news for Rose?
Mark Rose made his move to his grass spot, but it’s not going as planned. The wind has been blowing on it all night and it’s a little muddier than it was. Rose it worried, but hasn’t given up on the spot yet.
Meanwhile, Alex Davis has boxed his first (a 4-pounder) and Randy Blaukat has started things off with a 3-pounder.
8:19: Rose is changing it up
Mark Rose started his day cranking rock, but he’s moving to his grass stuff now. He’s caught a lot of fish cranking bridges this week, but he says he’s done his best work in hydrilla. Shin is still doing work as well, and his third keeper is about 3 pounds.
8:10: More catches to report
Bryan Thrift is up to three keepers now. Nothing too bit, but he’s catching. Jeff Sprague is on the board as well, and has a small 2-pounder in the boat. Shin Fukae has his second keeper, and his total up to about five pounds. Additionally, Scott Sugg’s first keeper is in the boat and goes about 3 pounds.
7:43: Shin has his first
Shin Fukae is fishing pretty shallow to start his day and his first keeper goes about 2 pounds.
7:35: Reyes is having an interesting start
Between dunking his rod in the water to de-ice the guides, Jason Reyes has had time to catch a big catfish. He’s looking for bass, but at least something is biting. It’s supposed to get up to nearly 50 today, so the ice problem ought to go away as the win gets up a little more.
7:28: Morgan and Thrift are on the board
Andy Morgan always catches them and one of his few upper-level career wins came on Guntersville. Today, he started off with a solid 16-incher. He’s fishing a bluff bank with a jig and going really slowly. Fishing faster, Bryan Thrift also has his first keeper of the day.
7:20: The first catches are rolling in
It didn’t take long for the first catches to start coming in. Cranking the rip rap on the Browns Creek bridge, Mark Rose got on the board early with a 3-pounder. Fishing near Alred’s, Christopher Brasher is on the board with a 1-pounder. Finally, Jordan Osborne has had some action – he lost a good fish on a crankbait to start his day.
7:00: The first Tour weekend of the year is set to be a barnburner
The top 20 pros from the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance at Lake Guntersville rolled out into 28 degrees and a whipping wind to start the weekend. Bedeviled by strong, cold winds on day two, catches fell and the leaderboard exploded. The folks who stayed consistent are at the top, led by Mark Rose, then Bryan Thrift, Barry Wilson and rookie Justin Atkins. Like most Tour weekends, the cut is loaded with talented pros, from locals like Alex Davis and Atkins to half of Texas and the usual suspects like Thrift, Rose, David Dudley and Andy Morgan.
The weekend is about more than just the names though. Regardless of who’s fishing, we’re going to learn a lot about how to catch ‘em when it’s tough on Guntersville. There’s been a wide variety of techniques employed so far – the most popular is probably lipless and standard crankbaits in the grass, but that’s not all. With a little more room to work the pros should have some more options, but they may just be able to buckle down even more on the juice. We always dish a little more pattern info once the cut is made, so if you’re interested in Guntersville this ought to be a good one to watch.
Places 21-55 got paid on Friday, today the goal is to make the top 10 and be fishing for $125,000 on Sunday. With the chances for a 30-pound Guntersville day still unfulfilled, anything could happen out on the water.
GoPro highlights from day two
Top 20 pros
1. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 42-9 (10)
2. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 39-8 (10)
3. Barry Wilson – Birmingham, Ala. – 36-6 (10)
4. Justin Atkins – Florence, Ala. – 36-4 (10)
5. Shinichi Fukae – Palestine, Texas – 34-10 (10)
6. Randy Blaukat – Joplin, Mo. – 34-7 (10)
7. Alex Davis – Albertville, Ala. – 34-4 (10)
8. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 34-2 (10)
9. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 34-1 (10)
10. Scott Suggs – Alexander, Ark. – 33-13 (10)
11. Jordan Osborne – Longview, Texas – 33-11 (8)
12. Chris McCall – Palmer, Texas – 33-8 (10)
13. Todd Hollowell – Fishers, Ind. – 33-7 (8)
14. Jeff Sprague – Point, Texas – 32-10 (9)
15. David Dudley – Lynchburg, Va. – 32-6 (9)
16. Christopher Brasher – Longview, Texas – 32-1 (10)
17. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 31-15 (10)
18. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ontario – 31-12 (10)
19. Brandon Cobb – Greenwood, S.C. – 30-5 (10)
20. Bradley Dortch – Atmore, Ola. – 29-15 (10)
Temperature at takeoff: 28 degrees
Forecast high: 51 degrees
Precipitation: 10 percent chance of rain
Wind: SE at 8 mph
Takeoff: 7 a.m. CT at Guntersville City Harbor, 201 Blount Avenue, Guntersville, Ala.
Weigh-in: 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor
FLW Expo: 12 to 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor