UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

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Lunsford lunges into FLW Series lead

Lunsford lunges into FLW Series lead
Scott Lunsford of Calhoun, Ga., leads the Wal-Mart FLW Series BP Series Eastern on Wheeler Lake after day three.

DECATUR, Ala. - The leaderboard shuffled up a bit in the Wal-Mart FLW Series BP Eastern event at Wheeler Lake on day three.

Jake Deeds, the leader of days one and two, brought in just four bass today, which caused him to slide back to 10th.

Meanwhile, Scott Lunsford of Calhoun, Ga., charged into the lead from 11th place with a 16-pound, 7-ounce stringer, which bolstered his three-day weight of 43 pounds, 1 ounce.

In a week that has featured patterns running the gamut from shallow-running rattlin lipless crankbaits to shaky heads, the most popular emerging pattern among the leaders seems to be a combination of jigs fished on rocks, which is exactly how Lunsford is fishing.

The Georgia pro is targeting bridge riprap with two key lures: a ¾-ounce Omega jig (black/blue) teamed with a Yamamoto twin-tail grub and a white ChatterBait.

"These fish seem to be staging along the riprap," Lunsford said. "And each day they move a little shallower. At the beginning of the week, I was fishing the ends of the riprap in 14 feet of water. But over the last two days, I've followed the fish down the shallower sides of the rocks. Today I caught fish where my trolling motor was grinding mud."

If a ¾-ounce jig sounds heavy for fishing rocks in a foot of water, there's a method to Lunsford's madness.

"It's a reaction bite," he said. "I'm making long pitches or short casts to the rocks, and the faster that jig falls in on them, the more likely they are to just strike at it out of reaction."

Lunsford has been trying to manage his fish all week. He laid off his best stretch today after getting a limit and noted that he has several other key stretches he has not yet fished during the tournament.

Colson moves to second

Ramie Colson of Cadiz, Ky., moved up to his best position of the week, second, thanks to a solid National Guard pro Ramie Colson of Cadiz, Ky., moved up to his best position of the week, second, thanks to a solid 14-pound, 2-ounce catch on day three, which gives him a three-day total of 42 pounds, even.14-pound, 2-ounce catch today, which gives him a three-day total of 42 pounds, even.

Colson, too, is fishing a jig on rocks in bays near the dam. His weapon of choice is a 3/8-ounce War Eagle heavy-cover finesse jig teamed with a Zoom Superchunk Jr. trailer.

"I've fished the Tennessee River all my life, and I'm fishing a traditional springtime pattern here," Colson said. "I'm basically casting a jig to transition rock banks - where the bank transitions from one type of rock to another. And I'm just slow-hopping that jig along the bottom.

"If there is a little wood or a channel swing along the bank, it helps," he added. "But I'm mostly focusing on any change in bank composition."

Oneal third

After scoring 18 pounds, 13 ounces on day two, Lonnie Oneal of Valdosta, Ga., brought in 9 pounds, 1 ounce on day three for a three-day total of 41 pounds, 3 ounces for third.After scoring 18 pounds, 13 ounces on day two, Lonnie Oneal of Valdosta, Ga., brought in 9 pounds, 1 ounce today for a three-day total of 41 pounds, 3 ounces for third.

Oneal's big bag yesterday came from a shallow backwater area that was only accessible due to rising water.

"I was the first one in there yesterday after the water came up, and it showed," he said. "By today, a few other boats figured they could get in there, and the boats running in and out of there kind of muddied the place up."

Oneal bailed himself out with his secondary pattern today: fishing a Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap on shallow grass flats.

"I've found a brand-new color in the Rat-L-Trap called Sexy Shad, and these fish are eating it up," Oneal said. "I'm just tipping the tops of the grass and scattered rock with the Trap to make them bite."

Combs fourth

Keith Combs of Del Rio, Texas, is in fourth with a three-day total of 41 pounds, 3 ounces.Pro Keith Combs of Del Rio, Texas, is in fourth with a three-day total of 41 pounds, 3 ounces.

Today Combs revealed that he is cranking a Strike King Series 3 crankbait (shad color) along riprap for his catches.

The 2- to 5-foot drop he has been referring to all week is actually a riprap shelf.

"I'm burning that Strike King crankbait along that key drop for reaction bites," Combs said. "I'm using a thin, very sensitive fiberglass cranking rod made by Power Tackle. The rod is so sensitive I can feel when fish just swipe or snap at the bait. Whenever I feel that, I'll make repeated casts to that area where the swipe occurred, and eventually the fish will bite again."

Morgan fifth

Qualifying for his third FLW top 10 of 2008, Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., is in fifth place with a three-day total of 40 pounds, 1 ounce.Qualifying for his third FLW top-10 of 2008, Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., is in fifth place with a three-day total of 40 pounds, 1 ounce.

As Morgan likes to say, he has been "junking it up this week."

His key lures have included a Strike King Redeye Shad, a Mimic crankbait and a 3/8-ounce War Eagle jig teamed with a Zoom Critter Craw.

"I'm just fishing the conditions and changing it up from day to day," Morgan said. "Yesterday, I really followed that wind with the Redeye Shad. Anywhere wind was blowing up on a shallow flat making a mud line, I fished the Redeye.

"Today we didn't have any wind, so I had to pull out the jig and just start fishing rock banks out on the river," he continued. "I stayed away from all of the pretty-looking channel-bluff banks because they've been beat on by a hundred boats. I'd look for the ugliest rock bank I could find and use that jig on it."

Big bass

Kirk Crump of Lancaster, S.C., caught the Snickers Big Bass in the Pro Division on day three Kirk Crump of Lancaster, S.C., caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day three weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces.weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the FLW Series on Wheeler Lake who will be fishing Saturday's final day:

6th: Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., three-day total of 40-0
7th: Brad Hallman of Norman, Okla., three-day total of 39-12
8th: Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., three-day total of 39-11
9th: Bob Izumi of Milton, Ont., three-day total of 39-9
10th: Jake Deeds of El Dorado, Ark., three-day total of 39-8

Day four of the Wal-Mart FLW Series BP Eastern event on Wheeler Lake will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. from Ingalls Harbor located at 802 Wilson St. N.W. in Decatur.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2008-03-26-wheeler-lake 

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