Parsons Passes 40 Pounds at Grand Lake, Leads by 5 Pounds Going Into Final Day - Major League Fishing

Parsons Passes 40 Pounds at Grand Lake, Leads by 5 Pounds Going Into Final Day

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April 29, 2022 • Brenden Kanies • Toyota Series

GROVE, Okla. – Keeping the hammer down, Nicky Parsons moved into the lead on Day 2 of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. event on Grand Lake. Weighing 20 pounds on Day 1, Parsons followed it up with 21-15 on Day 2 for a 42-5 total and more than a 5-pound lead on second-place Cade Alsbury.

On Day 3, Parsons will lead the Top 25 out for the final round, and though he’s got a sizable lead, there is some serious Plains Division talent behind him. With anglers consistently bringing 15- to 20-pound bags to the scales, there will be no slack for Parsons to let his foot off the pedal.

Targeting bass in 3 to 6 feet of water, Parsons is blind casting to likely bedding spots. Water visibility is keeping him – and the competition – from seeing the fish, but that hasn’t slowed him down.

“I’m catching very few right up on the bank, and I’m not catching anything out deep,” Parsons said. “They’re just out there where you can’t see them. I just go along the bank and throw up there. If you get in one’s mouth, he’ll eat it.”

While he may be flying blind, Parsons has his strategy dialed in. He’s moving his bait very slowly, but quickly bouncing from spot to spot. Casting to the right locations is key.

“If you miss them by 6 inches, they aren’t going to bite,” he said. “You’ve got to fish slow, if you’ve got anything going fast they’re just not going to get it. I just don’t fish the same spot very much. I throw up there, work it a little bit, and make another cast.”

The ability to cover water has been a major benefit for Parsons, especially in an event where other anglers have seen their spots begin to dry up.

“I’m not locked in to certain banks,” he said. “I know what they’re setting up on, so I go hit a little stretch and either get them or don’t and go to the next one.”

Parsons began the tournament fishing mid-lake, but moved down the lake as cloud cover and wind lowered visibility. He will likely face another adjustment on Day 3 with clear conditions in the forecast.

“I went on down the lake today, which proved to pay off,” he said. “I didn’t go down there yesterday. I thought if I’m ever going to take advantage of them, I figured I needed to go get them while I had a shot. If it’s going to be high blues and no wind tomorrow, I’m going to be up here in the mud.”

A resident of northwest Arkansas, Parsons is no stranger to the mud of Grand Lake. Having won two major tournaments here in the past, he’s hoping to do it again.

“I’ve won two boats over here, but it’s been 20 years or so,” he said. “I’m ready for a third win.”

Top 10 Pros

1. Nicky Parsons – 42 – 05 (10)         

2. Cade Alsbury – 37 – 00 (10)          

3. Jeremy Johnson – 36 – 11 (10)      

4. Kyle Schutta – 36 – 02 (10)

5. Michael Harlin – 36 – 00 (10)        

6. Jeff Reynolds – 35 – 15 (10)          

7. Curt Warren – 35 – 10 (10)

8. Kyle Kitts – 33 – 15 (10)   

9. Orlean Smith – 32 – 14 (10)           

10. Chad Warren – 32 – 10 (10)

Complete Results

Bale Bags Day 2 Co-Angler Lead

Bringing in 28 pounds, 10 ounces over two days, Grove native Steven Bale bagged the Strike King co-angler lead on Day 2 at Grand Lake. Rounding out the top three are Nathan Christie with 22-9 and Bryan Barnard with 22-3.

Obviously happy with a lead of more than 5 pounds, Bale encountered a bit of a roller-coaster on Day 2.

“I caught a 4 1/2-pounder right off the bat, and I felt good about the start of my day,” he said. “After that, it was kind of scary. I only had four fish going into the last hour and I finally hooked up on that last one.”

Faced with the luck of the draw as a co-angler, Bale has felt blessed to have boaters who stuck around the dirty water mid-lake both days.

“We stayed in muddy water again today, I was happy,” he said. “If I can stay in dirty water, I think I’ll do well. I can catch ‘em.”

Targeting bass across different stages of the spawn, Bale has found success in multiple depth ranges. It’s the water clarity – or lack thereof – that seems to be key.

“Fish are all over, we caught some in 6 feet of water, I’ve caught some in 6 inches of water,” he said. “They’ve pulled the bottom out of the lake, it’s dropped quite a bit. They shut generation off a couple of days ago, so that’s hurting the bite.”

Bale has been drowning a jig and crankbait for most of the event. Fishing slow and mixing things up has been the name of the game.

“I always try to throw something a little different than the guy on the front,” Bale said. “If he’s throwing a football head, I’m throwing a finesse jig. Things like that.”

When asked on Day 2 what it would take to bring home the co-angler trophy, he predicted a grand total of 30 pounds. He currently sits just 1 pound, 6 ounces shy of that mark, and still has big hopes for Day 3.

“I think the bite will be even better tomorrow,” he said. “I’m ready for it.”

Top 10 Strike King Co-Anglers

1. Steven Bale – 28 – 10 (10)  

2. Nathan Christie – 23 – 09 (9)          

3. Bryan Barnard – 22 – 03 (10)         

4. Matthew Hargarten – 22 – 03 (8)  

5. Grant Hanby – 21 – 14 (8)  

6. Joey Tennill – 21 – 13 (9)    

7. Matt Krekovich – 21 – 08 (8)          

8. Bobby Dennison – 20 – 14 (9)        

9. Scott McCleery – 20 – 13 (7)          

10. Justin Freel – 20 – 13 (10)

Complete Results