Rolling with the Southwestern Division Fishing Clash Angler of the Year leader on Eufaula - Major League Fishing

Rolling with the Southwestern Division Fishing Clash Angler of the Year leader on Eufaula

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Take a ride with Cole Moore as he hunts the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year title in the Southwestern Division. Photo by Jody White. Angler: Cole Moore.
May 15, 2024 • Jody White • Toyota Series

EUFAULA, Okla. – On the cusp of the last event of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Southwestern Division season, Cole Moore is leading in the points and looking to ice down a Fishing Clash Angler of the Year win and qualify for the Toyota Series Championship. The rub is that instead of the familiar waters of Texas and Louisiana, Moore needs to finish strong on Lake Eufaula, which he’s been to once before and is in a definite state of flux.

With the water dropping from extreme highs a few weeks ago, bass can be found in all stages of the spawn, and there’s no guarantee any day. So, we hopped in the boat with Moore to finish off practice and get a taste of the lake.

Moore starts out at the ramp in Eufaula Cove, first, pulling the remnants of a stump out of his outboard intake, then dumping his Phoenix for the morning run. Then, it’s off to the races – for starters, Moore wants to try to expand on a topwater bite he’s got going on.

Out on the lake, Moore quickly pulls out a few rods, and makes a swap from a black frog to a white frog So far this morning, Moore has moved very quickly throughout – he’s not wasting time, and he’s keeping things simple. Once he drops the trolling motor, Moore starts to pick away at the bank grass with a buzzbait and a frog – mostly unsuccessfully.

Going down the bank, Moore runs into a wad of white bass blowing up bait. After catching one on a vibrating jig, he pulls out one of his signature weapons, an umbrella rig, and plucks a few more out. Though there don’t seem to be any actual bass in the mix, it’s a testament to the productivity of Eufaula – according to Moore, there are so many white bass around some of the bridges that “you can’t get a bait to the bottom.”

As the morning slides by, Moore continues to move quickly, trying to replicate his grass bite in new areas.

“I think most of it will go down more toward the dam,” he said. “But I wanted to see if I could get a few bites somewhere else in that grass.”

No dice so far.

Still moving fast, Moore runs to a small rocky stretch – a departure from his grass pattern. Right off the bat, a bass chomps his vibrating jig almost on the bank. It’s for sure a good sign.

As he fishes, I pick his brain about the possibility of moving on to broader competition. The partner in a guide business with Tackle Warehouse Invitationals superstar Colby Miller, I assume Moore has at least thought about striking out nationally. For now at least, it’s not in the cards.

“I ain’t a traveler, this is like, to the max,” Moore said. “There’s getting to be so many big money tournaments close to the house, Toledo, Sam Rayburn, between that and guiding, I’m good. And those 20-hour truck rides, that ain’t for me. And, I ain’t gonna lie, I’m not very good at figuring out a new lake.”

Continuing to stay on the move in the general section of the lake he started in, Moore is largely striking out. With the grass pattern in the rearview, Moore is targeting rocks and some docks, and mixing between really dirty water and some more reasonably colored water.

Though AOY and the accompanying $5,000 prize isn’t a bad thing, one of the big reasons Moore decided to commit to all three Southwestern Division events was because he was tired of being left out in the fall.

“It’s been two or three years since I fished the championship because I haven’t fished all three of them,” he said. “When it comes around to October or November, I’m regretting not having a chance to fish for $200,000. So, I told myself this year I was going to fish all three of them, and make the championship.”

Now, it’s time for a pretty significant move. Pulling the trolling motor, Moore runs all the way down to the dam. With slick and sunny conditions, he’s planning on trying some rock points on for size. Marked earlier in the week, they have the ingredints he’s looking for, but he doesn’t know if they’ll be usefull yet.

Out the gate, the rock points don’t seem to be the winning ticket. Dragging a jig, Moore breaks off one fish, and lands a few small ones.

He thinks one of the reasons the fishing is a little stingy now on Eufaula is that there is almost too much bait.

“If you ‘Scope, you turn out into the middle of the pocket and it’s just a wall of shad,” Moore said. “That’s why these bass don’t want to eat – they just open their mouth. They ain’t gotta hunt for nothing.”

After running a few points with the jig, Moore picks up his signature chandelier for a few casts and imediatly gets a bite. So, he keeps it in hand an slides along some nearby docks.

Turns out, they want the umbrella rig this morning. Though Moore only lands one solid keeper, at one point he hooked a double, and he’s working through bites at a pretty impressive rate. Moore is possibly one of the best in the country with an umbrella rig – it is in virtually evety Top 10 Baits gallery he’s included in, and it’s not a lie.

“I can always make one bite it, get a reaction out of it,” he says of the rig. “It’s mainly a confidence deal, but I can see the way they react to it on LiveScope, I can get them to move and learn what they are. I mean, it’s a school of shad, a bass is curious, he’s gonna come look at it,”

Today, they’re doing more than looking.

After a few more docks, Moore calls it a day. With one exploratory stop on the way back to the ramp, Moore puts it on the trailer a little after noon. Now, he’s headed to a tackle store for a little re-stock, and then to rig everything up for derby day.