John Murray took the lead in the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick Lake today by fishing shallow river bars in 7 to 10 feet. But the problem is he has Jacob Wheeler in his rear view mirror by a single ounce going into tomorrow’s final round.
Today’s weather was much sunnier, warmer and calmer; conditions that some think could push fish out deeper. But some are still counting on shallow grass. Here is a rundown of how the rest of the top five caught their fish on Pickwick today.
2. Jacob Wheeler – Harrison, Tenn. – 38-13 (10)
Jacob Wheeler has been playing the deep school rotation game on Pickwick this week and each day he is getting a little more dialed-in on when to be where. On day one he brought 18 pounds, 2 ounces to the scale; today he dropped in 20 pounds, 11 ounces. He now sits at 38 pounds, 13 ounces, just one ounce behind Murray.
“I changed my rotation a little bit today and it helped,” Wheeler says. “I think the fish are trying to group back up in the afternoon and I made some changes of when I visit certain places to take advantage of that. In all, I visited about 15 to 20 places, but no one place was really on fire. I caught one here and one there. I had a 6-pounder off one spot that really made my day.”
As for lure selection, Wheeler says his primary bait offerings include a Rapala DT20, a worm and a Scrounger.
3. Buddy Gross – Chickamauga, Ga. – 37-2 (10)
After catching the biggest limit on day one of 24 pounds, 1 ounce off a shad spawn, Buddy Gross had to scramble to find something else today, to the tune of 13 pounds, 1 ounce.
“I stopped on my best place this morning and caught one 16-incher, and that was it,” Gross says. “It was dead today, so I had to run down the lake and just fish any deep place I could find open and any grass place I had from memory.
“I ended up catching six fish all day,” he adds. “Three out deep and three out of the grass. By the end of the day, I was throwing a shaky head in the grass just to get a bite.”
4. Michael Brewer – Lawrenceburg, Tenn. – 36-15 (10)
Michael Brewer’s shad spawn pattern, which produced 19 pounds, 11 ounces on day one, held together pretty well today, providing him 17 pounds, 4 ounces to keep him solidly in the top-10.
“The shad were still in there, I could see those big gizzards being chased in the grass,” Brewer says. “I actually got more bites today, but they just weren’t eating my bait as well; I lost several good ones today.”
To catch his fish, Brewer is using a big shad imitating bait, which he promises to reveal tomorrow.
5. Ricky Robinson – Greenback, Tenn. – 36-14 (10)
Ricky Robinson jumped into the top five today thanks to a 21-pound limit anchored by a 7-pound, 8-ounce brute.
While many others are running multiple places with multiple baits to catch their fish, Robinson has crafted a unique plan of camping on one spot and fishing one bait all day long.
“I’m fishing a shell bed in 17 feet of water,” Robinson says. “It breaks the current and fish swim in and out of the current break all day long. So instead of running around all over the place, I just sit there and wait for the fish to come to me. All of my fish have come off of a swimbait – it’s not a real complicated pattern, but it’s working and I’m hoping more will move out there to it tomorrow.”