GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – North Alabama could have given the Windy City a run for it’s money in terms of gusty winds that funneled through the Tennessee Valley ahead of a big cold front today.
Heavy southwest winds to 25 mph gusted right up the front stretch of Lake Guntersville on day two of the Stren Series event. The wind was so fierce that many pros watched their very best mats blow away right in front of their eyes.
Holding a boat in position on the mats was another issue for pros. Those pros utilizing Power-Poles – remote control hydraulic shallow water anchoring systems – had a distinct advantage.
One of those pros with such an advantage was pro Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala., who has not just one, but two Power-Poles to secure his boat in any position he desires.
By running his boat into a mat and stapling himself to the bottom with double Power-Poles, Lane was able to fish in the gusty gales without a problem. The result? A day-two catch of 24 pounds, 15 ounces, which allowed him to take the lead of the Stren Series event with a two-day total of 45 pounds, 7 ounces.
But anchoring down at will was not the only advantage Lane enjoyed. The pro angler has also recently relocated from Florida to Guntersville, Ala., to start a guide business. Needless to say Lane has been doing quite a bite of homework on Guntersville lately and that paid off today as well.
“Man, I watched a couple of my best mats just disappear right in front of me today,” Lane said of his day. “One minute I’m flipping a mat and the next minute it’s gone. There’s no doubt that having those two Power-Poles made a huge difference for me. I could just pull into mat, Power-Pole down in the wind and fish as long as I wanted. When I was ready to move, I just lifted the Poles up, let the wind blow me farther into the mats and I anchored down again. In some places I didn’t even use a trolling motor.”
Lane is catching his fish by frogging and flipping. His flipping bait of choice is a Gambler Ugly Otter on a 1-ounce tungsten weight with a Gambler KO skirt fitted between the weight and Otter to give the profile of the bait more bulk.
“Things are going to be much different tomorrow,” Lane said. “A lot of these mats are going to be completely gone in the morning and the bait and bass will move, too. But it’s going to be that way for everyone and the guy who adapts to those new conditions tomorrow will win.”
Palmore has been working a variety of areas and lures including schooling fish and slow-rolling a Chatterbait over grass. But his main deal has been one “magic” 500-yard stretch of docks and lily pads that has accounted for a majority of his weight both days.
“My best area is a row of docks with lily pads in between the docks,” Palmore said. “I’m pitching a jig to the docks and casting a frog to the pads in between. Each day I’ve only made one pass through this area. Yesterday I caught four of my best fish off it and today I caught all five of my best fish off it. So I’m probably going to spend quite a bit of time there tomorrow to see exactly how much potential that place really has.”
Grape is throwing a frog and flipping a 1-ounce jig in mats – or was throwing a frog and flipping a 1-ounce jig in mats because now his mats are gone.
“My best mat completely blew away today,” Grape said. “So I just started flipping the grass that was left with a jig and caught three of my biggest fish.”
Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala., threw down 21-1 in the scales today to jumped into fourth place with a two-day total of 37 pounds, 9 ounces.
Swindle, too, watch some of his best mats evaporate in the wind, which sent him scrambling to find a new pattern. But when one mat disappears, another mat begins as the wind piles all the floating debris from one mat to another. And that’s exactly what the G-Man found today.
“The mats on Guntersville are made up of all the algae, slime and duckweed that form on the tops of milfoil,” Swindle explained. “And when the wind blows hard like this, it blows all that junk away and all that’s left is the rooted milfoil or hydrilla. The problem is, all those big bream that the bass have been eating in those mats leave too. But the good news is that stuff blows across a cove or across the river and starts building up on another island of milfoil. And that’s what I found today, new mats being formed and that’s the pattern I fished: mats that were not even there two days ago.”
Rounding out the top five is Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., with a two-day total of 34 pounds, 9 ounces.
Brent Anderson of Kingston Springs, Tenn., caught the Folgers Big Bass in the Pro Division on day two weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the Stren Series event on Lake Guntersville after day two:
6th: Tim Buckner of Scottsboro, Ala., two-day total of 34-8
7th: Jared Haas of Hixson, Tenn., two-day total of 34-7
8th: Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn., two-day total of 34-2
9th: Robert Boyd of Russellville, Ala., two-day total of 34-1
10th: David Gray of Section, Ala., two-day total of 33-10
Montgomery fished with pro Marshall Deakins today to catch 13 pounds, 15 ounces to take the lead.
Casey Martin of Huntsville, Ala., is in second place with a two-day total of 28 pounds, 10 ounces.
Martin used a ¼-ounce Omega swim jig (white and blue color) and a Yellow Magic Popper to catch his fish today.
Shawn Malcom of Monroe, Ga., is in third place with a two-day of 27 pounds.
Joe Sperow of Birchleaf, Va., is in fourth place with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 1 ounce.
Andrew Crabtree of Cane Ridge, Tenn., rounds out the top-5 co-anglers with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 1 ounce.
Danny Bucher of Spring City, Tenn., caught the Folgers Big Bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the Stren Series event on Lake Guntersville after day two:
6th: Marty Sexton of Kennesaw, Ga., two-day total of 22-13
7th: Todd Classon of Albany, Ga., two-day total of 22-5
8th: Ken Greenwood of Bessemer, Ala., two-day total of 22-3
9th: Chris Hults of Vancleave, Miss., two-day total of 21-2
10th: Anthony Goggins of Sylacauga, Ala., two-day total of 20-1
Day three of the Stren Series Southeastern on Lake Guntersville will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. at Lake Guntersville State Park.