UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Ellis makes his move

Ellis makes his move
Well-known local pro Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C., is in the driver's seat on Santee Cooper once again.

MANNING, S.C. - On day one of the Stren Series event at Santee Cooper, South Carolina's Ken Ellis slipped getting out of the blocks due to a few boat issues.

But since he found his footing on day two with 20 pounds, 12 ounces, Ellis has been off to the races.

Today the well-known local pro from nearby Bowman bagged a heaping 26-pound, 14-ounce limit to take a large lead in the Stren Series Southeast Division event with a three-day total of 59 pounds, 2 ounces.

Clearly, Mr. Ellis is back on track, in more ways than one.

Ellis was also second in the Stren Series Southeast points race coming into this event. Going into Saturday's final round, Ellis stands to win not only the tournament but the points title as well.

"They've started moving up in my areas really good now," Ellis said. "I left them biting today. Once I got to 25 or 26 pounds, I couldn't stand to catch any more 3- and 4-pounders for fear of needing them tomorrow."

If you're curious as to what Ellis is doing, simply review the annals of Ellis' Santee Cooper Stren finishes, including a previous win, at FLWOutdoors.com.

"It's the same old deal," Ellis said with a big smile. "Six- and 8-pound-test line and a weightless Trick Worm on a 1/0 hook. I throw it out there and let it sit for 30 seconds."

In terms of exactly what Ellis is targeting, he requested that his complete pattern not be revealed until Saturday's weigh-in.

"There are a couple of big local tournaments going out of here tomorrow morning that will get out before us, so I'm going to have enough fishing pressure as it is. But with the weather like it is, more fish should keep moving up."

Ellis' bite is on, so what kind of weight could he possibly bring in tomorrow?

"My biggest five-bass limit here in a tournament has been 40 pounds, 4 ounces," he added. "So it could get real exciting tomorrow."

Kremer second

Since day one when he weighed in 28 pounds, 3 ounces, Joseph Kremer of Osteen, Fla., has maintained that he is not in any specific area or on any specific pattern and that the bottom could fall out at any time.

Well, the bottom fell out for Kremer today as he brought in three bass for 6 pounds, 10 ounces.

Due to Kremer's large lead going into today, he fell only to second place with a three-day total of 49 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I'm kind of starting from scratch tomorrow," Kremer said. "I'm going to cover some new water to see what I can find."

Hutson third

Local angler Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner, S.C., sight-fished for 21 pounds, 2 ouncesLocal angler Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner, S.C., sight-fished 21 pounds, 2 ounces today to put him in third place with a three-day total of 49 pounds, 4 ounces. today to put him in third place with a three-day total of 49 pounds, 4 ounces.

This is Hutson's first Stren Series event, and he is in his comfort zone, sight-fishing Lake Moultrie near his home in Mocks Corner.

"I fished down there (Moultrie) the first day when I had 18-10, but I couldn't get down there yesterday because of the wind," Hutson said.

"I went back down there today, and the big ones were moving in and locking down. I saw several more big ones that have not locked down yet that I couldn't catch, and I'm hoping that tomorrow is the day. I'm pretty excited about fishing tomorrow."

Shumpert fourth

Pro Ricky Shumpert caught 22 pounds, 9 ounces of bass to move into fourth place with a three-day total of 47 pounds, 8 ounces.It was only a matter of time before another well-known Santee Cooper pro, Ricky Shumpert of Lexington, S.C., made his move, and today was the day.

Shumpert caught 22 pounds, 9 ounces of bass to move into fourth place with a three-day total of 47 pounds, 8 ounces.

"I'm afraid I let this one slip away when I only weighed 10 pounds yesterday," said Shumpert, who is sight-fishing.

"Yesterday the fish had just moved up, and they were paired up bumping, rubbing and rolling with each other, and you just can't catch them when they're doing that.

"Today, they had settled down on the beds, and they were right - a lot more defensive. I saw a lot of big fish that should be right tomorrow as well. I really wish the weights zeroed for this cut tomorrow because Ken has assembled quite a lead, but we'll see what happens."

Thrift fifth

Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., moved into his best position of the week, fifth, with a Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., moved into his best position of the week, fifth, with a 17-pound, 10-ounce catch today, which brings his three-day total to 46 pounds, 15 ounces.17-pound, 10-ounce catch today, which brings his three-day total to 46 pounds, 15 ounces.

Thrift sight-fished on day one, but went up the river on a windy day two to fish a crankbait. Today, he returned to the lower lake to sight-fish again.

"That lower lake is awesome when they pull up to spawn because it happens so fast," Thrift said. "Today I caught a pair off one bed, made a loop around the pond, and when I came back to that bed again, there were two more already on it."

Turner sixth

Pro Nicholas Turner of Jones, Ala., weighed in a whopping 29 pounds even to move into sixth place.Normally, FLWOutdoors.com Web coverage only highlights the top five pros per day, but that convention is going to be extended today for Nicholas Turner of Jones, Ala., who weighed in a whopping 29 pounds even to move into sixth place.

"That's the biggest limit I've ever caught in my life," said a visibly excited Turner. "And to do it in a tournament - what a gift.

"I found the fish in practice, but when I went there the first day, I just couldn't get them to bite," he said. "I didn't go there yesterday, so I went back today, and it was on."

Turner is not sight-fishing; instead he is swimming a jig.

"These fish haven't moved on bed just yet, but I got a feeling they're about to," he said. "I just hope it lasts one more day."

Big bass

Christopher Lane of Winter Haven, Fla., caught the day-three Snickers Big Bass in the Pro Division weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros who will be fishing Saturday's final round:

7th: Chuck Howard of Elloree, Ala., three-day total of 46-3
8th: Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., 46-0
9th: Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., 45-13
10th: Ryan Worthington of Middleburg, Fla., 44-13

Cornett leads co-anglers

Arch Cornett of Huntsville, Ala., caught the biggest stringer in the Co-angler Division weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces to move into first place with a three-day total of 26 pounds, 6 ounces.Arch Cornett of Huntsville, Ala., caught the biggest stringer in the Co-angler Division weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces to move into first place with a three-day total of 26 pounds, 6 ounces.

Cornett had nothing but praise for his pro partner, Jamie Clovis of Morgantown, W.Va., who helped him all day.

"After I caught my second good bass, Jamie put his rod down and just took me around and let me fish," Cornett said. "I can't explain how good of a guy he is."

Cornett caught his fish on a weightless Senko.

"The biggest key for me was making the longest cast I possibly could," he explained. "I fished with James Dudley yesterday, and we noticed that when you got within 50 yards of a spawning fish, it took off. So my goal was to sling that Senko as far away from the boat as I could get it. And all of my bites came at the very end of the cast."

Rest of the best

Lloyd Meyers Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., qualified for the finals in the second-place position with a three-day total of 26 pounds, 4 ounces.

Day two co-angler leader Brad Rodrigue of Pierre Part, La., is in third place with a three-day total of 26 pounds.

Chad Craven of Raleigh, N.C., is in fourth with a three-day total of 21 pounds, 4 ounces.

Kenneth Hunnicutt of Jacksonville, Fla., is in the fifth-place position with a three-day total of 20 pounds, 13 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers who will be fishing in Saturday's final round:

6th: Alan Hults of Gautier, Miss., three-day total of 19-9
7th: Tim Endris of Gibsonton Fla., 19-4
8th: Aaron Fahnestock of Enterprise, Ala., 18-13
9th: David Iglesias of Crystal River, Fla., 17-11
10th: T. Mike Evans of Deatsville, Ala., 17-8

Big bass

Ryan Valentine of Jonesboro, Ga., caught the Snickers Big Bass of day three in the Co-angler Division, which weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

Day-four competition for the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers begins at 7 a.m. at the John C. Land III Landing in Summerton, S.C.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2007-04-11-santee-cooper 

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