EUFAULA, Ala. – Rapidly falling water levels sent anglers scrambling to stay in the game at the EverStart Series Eastern Division event on Lake Eufaula, but round-one leaders pro Tim Peek of Sharpsburg, Ga., and co-angler Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., who were paired together today, continue to dominate the field.
“I had my best day yet,” said Peek, who weighed in 23 pounds, 3 ounces today. “I spent a couple of hours in my best spot, culled a couple of times and then left. I ran some of my other water and caught a 6-pounder and a 4-pounder on a buzzbait to cull again.
“I’m on an incredible bunch of fish,” he added. “My co-angler (Thrift) has a huge bag of fish, too.”
While dropping water has hurt other pros in the field, it only seems to help Peek.
“There is so much bait in this place it’s unreal,” he said. “We caught eight catfish and two big hybrids mixed in with the bass.”
Everything is going according to plan for Peek, but he is yet to get over confident.
“It’s fishing and anything can happen,” he added. “I feel pretty good about what I’ve got going. I’ve got a nervous excitement about tomorrow. I’ve never been this close to a big win like this.”
Kreiger lurking in second
“I caught two sight-fishing and six or seven guarding fry today,” Kreiger said. “There are a lot of 2-pounders guarding fry, the trick is to find the 3- and 4-pounders guarding fry.”
“I’m going to totally fish the conditions tomorrow,” he said. “I have been running a little shad-spawn pattern in the morning and if it gets windy and nasty tomorrow I might just bail out of this shallow sight-fishing deal and run the windy shad places with a spinnerbait.”
Murray rebounds to third
“I started the morning fishing shallow grass but by about 10 o’ clock I hadn’t had a bite,” Murray said. “So I tied on a big spinnerbait and went fishing bluffs like I caught them the first day and rebounded a little.”
The forecast tomorrow is for wind and thundershowers, exactly what Murray wants for his shad-spawn bite to return in full force.
“That would be good, but the problem is, that’s going to turn these fish on for everybody,” Murray pointed out. “Just about everybody is fishing that way or something similar and windy weather is going to help them all.”
Patrick Pierce of Jacksonville, Fla., is one of those anglers hoping for rain tonight and tomorrow. He is currently in third place with 14 pounds, 9 ounces and says the falling water is hurting him as well.
“I need the water to come back up,” he said. “They’ve dropped the lake 2 feet over the last two days and it has really scattered my fish. I’m having to adjust and do different things each day to keep up with them. Maybe if it would start raining tonight the water would start rising again and the fish would replenish.”
Pierce has been fishing in one major creek all week and says no matter what happens he is not planning on leaving his primary area.
“The water has dropped several feet since I’ve been here and my fish are moving,” Szczerbala said. “I don’t know where they are going. I know they’re going deeper, but there’s really no structure around for them to go to. I didn’t catch a fish after 10 o’ clock today, so I need a new place to fish.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros in the EverStart Series Eastern Division event:
6th: Pat Fisher of Danielsville, Ga., 11-13
7th: Harry Barton of Harpersville, Ala., 11-0
8th: J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., 9-3
9th: Ricky Shumpert of Lexington, S.C., 6-15
10th: George Brown of Martinsville, Ind., 3-0
Thrift no stranger to lead
Leading fishing events is becoming old hat for co-angler Bryan Thrift. Not only is he back in the lead of the EverStart Eastern Division on Lake Eufaula, he won the last EverStart Eastern on Santee Cooper – and he is also leading the EverStart Eastern Co-angler Division points race.
Thrift fished with Peek today and bagged 18 pounds, 13 ounces to open a 10-pound lead over second place.
“I caught five bass, put my rod down and stayed out of Tim’s way the rest of the day,” Thrift said. “I caught two on a spinnerbait and three swimming a jig. It was just an awesome day.”
Since Peek and Thrift are the leaders, they will be paired up again tomorrow. It could be back-to-back co-angler wins for Thrift.
Gary Thacker of Covington, Ga., moved into second place with 8 pounds, 11 ounces.
Matthew Parker of Whitesburg, Ga., is in third place with 7 pounds, 8 ounces.
Jerry Goble of Sherrills Ford, N.C., is in fourth place with 6 pounds, 3 ounces.
And Arch Cornett of Huntsville, Ala., is in fifth place with 4 pounds, 2 ounces.
Rest of the Best
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series Eastern Division event:
6th: Bill Hulet of Broken Arrow, Okla., 3-15
7th: Brian Davis of Leesburg, Ga., 3-8
8th: Greg Wilson of Dothan, Ala., 3-1
9th: Brad Roberts of Nancy, Ky., 2-11
10th: Robert Horick of St. Petersburg, Fla., 2-8
The final day of competition begins at 6 a.m. tomorrow at Lakepoint State Park.