November 3, 2004 by Rob Newell
SOMERSET, Ky. - As a general rule in tournament bass fishing, the tougher the conditions, the better those with a home-court advantage will do. That might explain why local favorite H.C. Sumpter of Nancy, Ky., is leading the pros at the EverStart Series Championship on Lake Cumberland with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 8 ounces.
Specifically, Sumpter knows something about the big smallmouths on Cumberland that is giving him the edge.
"I went for a limit first," Sumpter said. "After I had a limit of Kentuckies (spotted bass), I went to a couple of my smallmouth places and caught two keeper smallmouth."
Catching two keeper smallmouths might not sound like a big deal anywhere else in the country, but on Lake Cumberland, it's a huge bonus because smallmouths have to be a minimum of 18 inches to keep, meaning most keeper smallmouths are going to be in the 3 1/2-pound-plus class.
Understandably, Sumpter was reluctant about giving details of his pattern and baits so early in the tournament, but he did say that he burned a lot of gas and fished a lot of different places.
"The fish are still in a kind of a summer mode," Sumpter said. "I think they're still feeding at night. Some colder weather would help, but I don't think this cold front (currently moving through Kentucky) is going to do it. I predict the fishing will get a lot tougher tomorrow. It's hard to catch them two days in a row on this lake."
Sumpter said he plans to catch a limit of spotted bass tomorrow to stay in the cut and save his smallmouth game for the finals.
Colson in second
Pro Ramie Colson of Cadiz, Ky., is in second place with 12 pounds, 5 ounces.
Colson caught five keepers today from depths as deep as 20 feet. His stringer included largemouths and a bonus smallmouth.
"I'm fishing in the midlake area and I'm covering a lot of water," Colson said. "I probably hit 20 or 25 spots today. I'm running and gunning, but once I get to a place, I have to force myself to fish slow."
About making the cut tomorrow, Colson added, "I'd feel safe with 6 pounds tomorrow, but I'll catch a limit if I can get it."
Gluszek catches three for third
Pete Gluszek of Franklinville, N.J., weighed in just three bass today, but his catch was a Lake Cumberland grand slam that included one smallmouth, one largemouth and one spotted bass, all in the 4-pound class for a total of 12 pounds, 3 ounces. He placed third in the Pro Division.
"I've got one little spot within a big area that the big fish seem to pull up on," Gluszek said. "I'm catching them in about 5 to 10 feet of water on slow-moving baits. I want to get in there tomorrow, figure it out a little better and see if I can get them going on something else."
Fletcher in fourth
Pro Mark Fletcher of Palmetto, Ga., weighed in four bass for 11 pounds, 11 ounces, including the big bass of the day, a largemouth weighing 5-11.
Fletcher is fishing up the river with a spinnerbait and a jig.
"I tried to fish deep here, but I couldn't get anything going so I went shallow. That's my strength and I'm going to stick with it," Fletcher said. "I feel like there are more fish in the area if I can just get them to bite."
Pickett in fifth
Lloyd Pickett of Bartlett, Tenn., weighed in five bass, four of which were largemouths, for 10 pounds, 6 ounces to take fifth place for the pros.
Pickett caught eight keepers today on a Carolina rig and a drop-shot rig.
"This is my style of fishing: clear, deep water," Pickett said. "They really didn't bite good for me today, but I only fished to two of my best places. I have five other good places that I didn't even touch, so I feel pretty good about tomorrow."
Rest of the best
Unlike regular-season EverStart Series events which cut to the top 20 after two days, the championship will cut to the top 10 tomorrow.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Pro Division are Mark Holloway of Loganville, Ga., with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces (6th place); David Wolak of Warrior Run, Pa., with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces (7th); Tommy Williams of Shepherdsville, Ky., with four bass weighing 9 pounds, 3 ounces (8th); and tied for ninth place are Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., and Warren Wyman of Calera, Ala., with 8 pounds, 5 ounces apiece.
Dalton leads co-anglers with two bass
Earl Dalton of Jackson, Calif., only caught two bass today, but they were two whoppers, weighing in at about 4 pounds apiece and giving Dalton the early co-angler lead with 8 pounds even.
"The fish were suspended, and I caught one on a spoon and one on a drop-shot," Dalton said. "I had another big one on like those two, but it came off."
Adams in second
Edward Adams of Egg Harbor, N.J., is in second place in the Co-angler Division with 7 pounds, 6 ounces.
"I just scratched around behind my pro and caught them on a little bit of everything," Adams said. "I caught one on a Senko, one on a jig, one on a fluke and one on a spinnerbait."
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top co-anglers are Mark Everett of Tyler, Texas, with 6 pounds, 6 ounces (3rd place); Andy Bailey of Beckley, W.Va., with 6 pounds, 3 ounces (4th); Gary Collins of Moorpark, Calif., with 5 pounds, 12 ounces (5th); Richard Vizcarra of Peoria, Ariz., with 5 pounds, 8 ounces (6th); John Crosby of Macon, Ga., with 5 pounds, 3 ounces (7th); Kirk Beardsley of Huntington Beach, Calif., with 5 pounds, 1 ounce (8th); Larry Evans of South Point, Ohio, with 5 pounds even (9th).
Big-bass winner in the Co-angler Division, Tony Sarkis of Phoenix, Ariz., is in 10th place with a single bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces.
Day-two action begins at 7 a.m. at General Burnside Park on Lake Cumberland.