For the second consecutive day, tournament leader Andy Morgan has a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead over second place at the FLW Tour event presented by General Tire on Lake Cumberland.
Consistency is nice when you’re in the lead, but Morgan knows he left the door open today. A rash of lost fish, short strikes and bad breaks prevented him from fulfilling his potential. He weighed in 15 pounds, 12 ounces to back up 18-15 on day one, and likely could’ve come close to repeating his day-one weight had he managed to land a few more of the Cumberland smallmouths that slapped and toyed with his spinnerbait this morning.
“I think it was just bad luck,” says the Dayton, Tenn., pro about his misfortunes today. “I had some pretty good opportunities today to have a really, really nice bag.”
Among the heartbreak bass was a 5-pound-class smallmouth that gobbled Morgan’s spinnerbait. He says the fish had almost the entire bait in its mouth; only the top blade was hanging out. Morgan got a good look at it when the fish “gave up” the fight and wallowed on the surface. With his co-angler poised and ready with the net, Morgan believed the fish was as good as caught. Then the spinnerbait shot free. That fish alone would have been a big help.
As it stands, Morgan has 12 anglers within 5 pounds of his lead. Five pounds is a healthy cushion on some lakes, but Cumberland’s smallmouths are really starting to fire, and the forecast for tomorrow is for rain and overcast skies at least part of the day, which should make the smallmouth bite even better.
The odd part is Morgan isn’t actually targeting smallmouths. He’s trying to catch largemouths, but this morning he ran into a heap of smallies and spotted bass, which he thinks are spawning. He only had 10 or 11 pounds by lunchtime but was able to cull out all the spotted bass in the afternoon and weighed in four largemouths and one smallmouth.
The afternoon bite has certainly been better for him. Yesterday, he didn’t catch a fish in his first area, then did most of his work later in the day. Today, he hit a new area in the morning, had the small limit and wound up catching about 20 keepers once the day warmed up.
“I’m just covering ground,” he says. “They’re just coming up. Today they bit.
“I started off totally different. I ended up this afternoon fishing some stuff I fished yesterday, and went a couple places that were new. It didn’t matter; they were biting everywhere.”
The water level at Cumberland continues to gradually fall out, which is helping Morgan. He’s fishing around flooded treetops with his blade and a jig. He says the falling water forced the fish to pull back a little into places that are easier for him to reach. Stained water in his areas is perfect for a spinnerbait approach, and he says he’d welcome more heavy winds like we’ve seen the last two days.
“It’s nice to have it,” he says. “When the wind blows on these highland places, they just bite.
“I’m going to do more of the same [tomorrow],” Morgan adds. “I’m gonna keep doing it until it quits.”
Top 10 pros
1. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 34-11 (10)
2. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 33-5 (10)
3. Clent Davis – Montevallo, Ala. – 32-15 (10)
4. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 32-13 (10)
5. Kerry Milner – Bono, Ark. – 31-6 (10)
6. Greg Bohannan – Bentonville, Ark. – 30-14 (10)
7. Allen Boyd – Salem, Ind. – 30-13 (10)
8. Chris McCall – Palmer, Texas – 30-11 (10)
9. Ramie Colson Jr. – Cadiz, Ky. – 30-8 (10)
10. Carl Jocumsen – Queensland, Aus. – 30-5 (10)