Scrapping plans and making long runs can be a scary deal, but the risk can be worth the reward.
Multiple anglers in the top five did that today, making long runs, including one super long run to try and catch up to Corey Cook in the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks.
The result is a loaded top five that has multiple victories and top 10s on Lake of the Ozarks to their credit.
2. Andy Newcomb – Camdenton, Mo. – 34-6 (10)
Newcomb was among those who decided to scrap plans and run today, though he felt pretty confident after what he saw yesterday.
“I started around takeoff, but yesterday afternoon, I ran up three river arms,” says Newcomb. “I thought the size of the fish up there was better. So, if I was going to make a run at [the win], I figured I needed to go up there.”
Newcomb’s run was about 40 miles from where he started yesterday, but he was quickly rewarded when he caught a 5-5 kicker within the first five minutes of getting to his area.
“That got the blood pumping,” says Newcomb. “I had to calm down a little after that. The next fish was a solid 4-pounder, and I had an opportunity at a few more. It just seemed like they weren’t getting the bait well. So, it looks good on the weigh-in stage, but it was a pretty tough day as I only caught six keepers.”
Still, he was one of the few pros to increase their weight on day two, and he’s hoping if he can bump up a little more tomorrow, he can make up the 4-pound deficit he has to Cook and get his first FLW win on Lake of the Ozarks.
3. Shane Long – Willard, Mo. – 31-9 (10)
Is Long making a significant run? Yes. Is he making a ridiculously long like he was when he won the Toyota Series event on Lake of the Ozarks in 2009? No. Considering what should be a very busy weekend of holiday boat traffic on what is already a busy lake, he’s certainly glad about that.
Now, if only he could only get a few more bites he’d be extra happy.
“I’m not getting a whole lot of bites,” says Long. “I only caught five today, though I had a couple miscues, a couple short-line me that I didn’t get the hook in. So, I had a chance at about the same bag I had yesterday.”
In terms of his pattern, it’s about as simple as it gets.
“I’m just picking up a jig and throwing to everything I can see to throw it to,” says Long.
4. Roger Fitzpatrick – Eldon, Mo. – 29-13 (10)
With Long not making his typical journey, Fitzpatrick gets the nod for the longest run in the top 10. And just like Newcomb, he did it spur of the moment.
“Last Sunday, during the Big Bass Bash, I wanted to get away from everyone,” says Fitzpatrick. “I went to the river and found one little stretch with some good fish on it. So at 9:30 a.m. this morning, I had one little fish and said ‘let’s go.’”
Turns out that even with the short day, it was the right move. At his second dock he caught a 5-14, and he figures he can easily catch 15 pounds at least up there tomorrow, if not more. There are just two problems.
“These fish are on very specific things, and a local tournament is going on near where I’m fishing,” says Fitzpatrick. “Those guys know those specific places. So that might make it tougher. Plus, the boat traffic will be insane with the poker run. So, I’ll have to save a lot of time for coming back.”
5. Brent Chapman – Lenexa, Kan. – 29-8 (10)
For two days, Chapman has stayed relatively close to takeoff. But that may change tomorrow.
“I’m debating about tomorrow if I might just wing it, run way up the river and just go fishing,” says the MLF Bass Pro Tour pro. “Typically, Saturdays it gets tougher and usually the river can be a little more consistent.”
Making the debate a little easier is his confidence in his pattern, which has been simply keeping a bladed jig in his hand and covering a lot of water.
“That’s the one thing about this lake right now,” says Chapman. “I’m totally confident no matter where I go in just putting the trolling motor down and covering water. I’m not getting a lot of bites, but about the time you’re going to give up one will bite it.”