Top 5 Patterns from Dale Hollow – Day 2 - Major League Fishing

Top 5 Patterns from Dale Hollow – Day 2

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Both birds and forward-facing sonar have led anglers to fish all week.
April 1, 2022 • Erik Gaffron • Toyota Series

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – The trend of stout prespawn bags and tight weights continued on Day 2 of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Central Division event on Dale Hollow Lake. Anglers continue to attack the famed Tennessee impoundment with forward-facing sonar, primarily focusing on roaming schools of largemouth and baitfish to fill their livewells.

While Bailey Gay has tallied up 43 pounds, 6 ounces and continues his improbable run at the top of the ladder, he’s being chased relentlessly by a group of pros that are employing a lot of the same techniques he is using to catch his keepers.

Here’s how the rest of the top pros kept it rolling on Day 2.

2. Austin Swindle – 43-2

Austin Swindle poured it on once again on Day 2, sacking up 6 ounces more than his previous day total for a two-day total that has him sitting just 4 ounces shy of our leader. Swindle continues to move through a ton of water searching for better bites to complete his limit, and only had to make a few small adjustments to sack up another 21 pounds.

“The fish were sitting higher in the water column than they were yesterday,” Swindle said. “Yesterday they were really deep inside of the bait balls. Today they seemed to be pushed up on top of the water, whether it’s to sit in the sun or whatever. So, we went looking for those instead of out deep.”

Swindle stayed in his primary area throughout most of the day, much like he did on Day 1. He found that moving throughout the area quicker than most of the boats around him allowed him to be more efficient and get more opportunities to upgrade his catch.

“The more chances I can put my bait in front of a different fish, the more chance I have at a bigger one,” he said.

Swindle sees no changes in the immediate future to his bite, as fish sit squarely in a prespawn pattern, waiting to move up in the coming weeks. So, for the final day it’s stick to the plan and keep it moving to get ample opportunities.

“As long as the fish stay there, I know we can catch them again, but everyone else is catching them, too,” he said. “We will just see if we can have a solid day and then put it in God’s hands after that.”

3. Jack Daniel Williams – 42-13

Jack Daniel Williams slides into third place with another solid bag on Day 2, this one an ounce heavier than his Day 1 bag. The Kingsport, Tenn., pro found the second day of competition much tougher and the fish finnickier than the day prior.

“It was 10 times different, it was awful,” Williams said. “They’d come up to your lure and nip at or they wouldn’t get it. It was [like that] all day, it seemed like you had to cast to the same fish five or six times.”

The noncommittal fish were the main variance from Days 1 to 2, but also the frequency of bites seemed to affect Williams, who was fortunate to draw a late flight on the second day and take advantage of a late afternoon flurry to cull he entire bag with fresh fish.

“I had 13 pounds at 2 o’clock,” Williams said. “They had completely left my area and almost moved a mile away. It was nuts, the whole school had left. I had an early flurry for a limit and a late one for weight.”

Williams’ tough day presented big rewards as he sits well within striking distance for the win tomorrow.

“I’m just glad I made the cut man, I’m ready to go.”

4. Kevin Drake – 40-12

Kevin Drake dropped a whopping 25-3 on the scale today,  vaulting him from 35th to fourth place. Much like the rest of the top five, Drake has focused on prespawn fish roaming and feeding in staging areas.

“(Today) was an awesome day, it really was,” Drake said. “I’m looking for bait obviously, whether I can find it with the graph or find it with birds diving. I’ll just go over there and throw at them with LiveScope.”

Drake says key two-hour bite windows have been important to finding success so far this event, noting that the timing of his window changed each day of competition.

“Today it seemed about midday I’d get my bites,” added the Tennessee pro. “Yesterday it seemed like the very end of the day.”

Drake is working his fish on forward-facing sonar with a 3-inch swimbait on either a 3/8- or 1/2- ounce head depending on the depth of the bait. Drake switches to the 1/2-ounce head when he targets deeper fish, some as deep as 30 feet.

While Drake had to have some things go his way for his monster sack on Day 2, he is ready to go on the final day.

“I’m excited, [but] I know how these fish are, they can change up on you quick,” Drake said. “I feel good about it though, I just don’t know if I can catch them again tomorrow like I did today.”

A tall order to accomplish once, let alone on back-to-back days, to be sure.

5.Isaac Peavyhouse – 40-5

Isaac Peavyhouse rounds out the top five after dropping 20-10 on the scales on Day 2. Sitting just shy of 3 pounds off the lead, Peavyhouse is far from out of it and is on the same pattern needed to contend for this week’s title.

“Everything is bait related,” said Peavyhouse. “Bait related creeks, and suspended fish around bait.”

Peavyhouse, like many of the other top anglers, remained tight-lipped about the techniques taking him to the top but feels that his pattern will hold one more day.

 “I feel like with this water as low as it is these fish are going to stay out, out where I want them to be,” Peavyhouse noted. “Now they might not, but it’s the only thing I’ve practiced, so I’m going to live or die by it.”

With a heavy field both ahead and behind him in the standings, Peavyhouse knows some things need to bounce in his favor to come from behind and pull out a victory.

“I feel like I had a lot more missed opportunities yesterday than I did today,” he said. “There is plenty of fish there. If it’s meant to be, it will happen, if it won’t, it won’t.”