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Defoe still in driver’s seat

Defoe still in driver’s seat
Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., still leads the Stren Series Santee Cooper event with a three-day total of 69-12.

MANNING, S.C. - For the third day in a row, Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., held off his competitors in the Stren Series event on Santee Cooper with a tournament lead of nearly 70 pounds.

However, Defoe now has a serious problem - make that three or four serious problems: he has a rear-view mirror full of some of the biggest sticks on Santee bringing their `A' games.

Each of the four pros behind Defoe checked in their biggest bags of the tournament today, including Greg Pugh (23-10), local pro Brett Mitchell (27-10), Santee legend Ken Ellis (23-2) and Timothy Little (27-1).

While those 27-pound bags may sound impressive, a special shout out should also be given to Jay Kendrick of Grant, Ala., who weighed in the biggest limit of the tournament - 28-13 - on day three.

But the big bag list does not end there. How about co-angler Ty Solis of Albany, Ga., bringing in 25-8 to the scales today to jump into second in the Co-angler Division?

Indeed, more 25-pound plus sacks were weighed in today than any other day of the tournament.

It's believed a new crop of big females are now crashing the bank for Sunday's full moon. Some pros in the 20-pound club today noted that they happened upon small pockets or coves laden with big bass that had just moved in off the lake.

A couple of pros even speculate that the 30-pound mark could be broken on Saturday.

As for Defoe, though, he does not want to hear about such speculation.

Today the young Yamaha pro demonstrated his fishing savvy by making the proper adjustments to bring in a respectable catch of 19 pounds, 8 ounces to pile his three-day total to 69-12.

When his cypress tree bite died on him this morning, he did not hang around and wither with the memories of his last two days. Instead, he pulled up the stakes, changed areas and went sight-fishing.

"I caught a limit off the trees, but the quality was just not there today," Defoe said. "I had about 11 pounds at noon and that's when I decided to gamble and run even farther south to a pocket I had not checked since practice. Fortunately, there were a few good ones on beds in there and I was able to cull up."

Defoe says he plans to visit his primary cypress trees tomorrow but did indicate that he will likely spend more time sight-fishing.

"I do know where a big 6- or 7-pounder is on the bed," Defoe added. "My co-angler hooked it and lost it right at the end of the day and I went over there and saw the bed the fish came off of so hopefully it will be ready to bite tomorrow."

Pugh climbs to second

Snickers pro Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., now sits in second place with 64-3, which is 5-9 Snickers pro Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., now sits in second place with 64-3, which is 5-9 off the lead.off the lead.

After putting his 23-10 catch on the scales today, Pugh noted that he lost three "gorillas" and that he should have weighed in a 30-pound plus bag.

"I just couldn't keep those big ones buttoned up today," Pugh said. "It's pretty disappointing, but I know where they live."

Pugh is sight-fishing with a 5/16-ounce jig but indicated that he is getting the fish "fired up" with a Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait.

"If they don't want to cooperate, I run that big swimbait by them several times and that tends to get them fired up," he said. "Once I think they're ready to go, I shoot that jig in there to close the deal."

Mitchell third

Local pro Brett Mitchell of nearby Timmonsville, S.C., turned some heads today with his 27-10 catch, which gave him a three-day total of 62-14 for third.Local pro Brett Mitchell of nearby Timmonsville, S.C., turned some heads today with his 27-10 catch which gave him a three-day total of 62-14.

Mitchell was one who benefited from a new wave of females that moved into one of his primary areas today.

However, he is not sight-fishing. Instead, he is using a Fish Stalker Trick Stick rigged wacky style.

"That full moon is pulling new fish up and I'm catching them on the way in to spawn," he said. "I checked this area yesterday and it was full of smaller bucks. I figured some females were eventually going to move in there so I checked it again today. The first fish I caught was a 6-pounder and I never caught a fish smaller than 4-1/2 pounds out of there. I caught that limit I weighed in about 2-1/2 hours."

Mitchell is excited about his prospects tomorrow.

"I think it's just getting started in there," he said. "Even if they make beds tonight and lock down tomorrow that's fine with me; I know what to do then, too."

Ellis makes his move

Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before well-known local Ken Ellis of Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before well-known local Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C., made some noise on Santee this week and he did it on day three with a 23-2 limit. Bowman, S.C., made some noise on Santee this week and he did it today with a 23-2 limit.

His three-day total of 59 pounds has him in fourth place.

Ellis is working his traditional Santee pattern: Senkos and weightless worms around cypress trees.

He has moved back and forth between the upper and lower lake over the last three days, but stayed in the upper lake today.

"I'm keying on the deeper trees," Ellis said. "I'm trying to use the wind to `drift' my worm passed the shady part of the tree for a more natural appearance."

Little catches them big

Timothy Little of Acworth, Ga., had a banner day on Santee today, reeling in a limit for 27-1 to move into fifth place with a three-day total of 56-11.Timothy Little of Acworth, Ga., had a banner day on Santee today, reeling in a limit for 27-1 to move into fifth place with a three-day total of 56-11.

Little is flipping shallow cover and had it not been for the wind on the first day when he weighed in just 7-3, he might be putting a little more heat on the leader.

"That wind the first day muddied my best place up," Little said. "Yesterday it cleared up enough to fish and today it got better."

Big bass

Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner, S.C., caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day three weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top-10 pros in the Stren Series event on Santee Cooper after day three:

6th: Dale Evans of Ridgeville, S.C., three-day total of 56-6
7th: Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., three-day total of 55-14
8th: Lex Costas of Daniel Sound, S.C., three-day total of 55-9
9th: Hal Cercopely of Alcolu of S.C., three-day total of 55-7
10th: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., three-day total of 55-4

Ober leads co-anglers

Jason Ober of Johnstown, Pa., leads the Co-angler Division of the Stren Series event on Jason Ober of Johnstown, Pa., leads the Co-angler Division of the Stren Series event on Santee after day three with a three-day total of 39-7.Santee after day three with a three-day total of 39-7.

Ober caught his fish on a spinnerbait the first day but has found success with a wacky-rigged trick worm the last two days.

"I travel with Koby Kreiger and he recommended that I throw a weightless Trick Worm here," Ober said. "I had kind of forgotten about that little tip until yesterday when a boat came into the pocket where my pro and I were fishing and I watched one of them boat a 4-1/2-pounder on a wacky Trick Worm. So I rigged one up and started catching them and that's really all I've thrown since."

Ty Solis of Albany, Ga., had a co-angler's dream day today, catching a whopping 25 pounds, 8 ounces out of the back of Kent Ware's boat.

Solis' stringer was anchored by the big bass in the Co-angler Division weighing 7 pounds and he now sits in second place with 34 pounds for three days.
Ty Solis of Albany, Ga., had a co-angler's dream day on day three, catching a whopping 25-8 to rocket into second place.
"I had a tremendous partner who was around a lot of fish," Solis said. "He was sight-fishing and I was just casting to white spots that I could see with a Lake Fork Small Fry rigged on a 1/64-ounce weight - it was a good day."

Larry Breckenridge of Dothan, Ala., is in third place with a three-day total of 30-13.

Greg Hamblin of New Albany, Miss., is in fourth place with a three-day total of 30-6.

Patrick Cook of Johnsonville, S.C., rounds out the top five co-anglers with a three-day total of 28-11.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the Stren Series event on Santee Cooper after day three:

6th: Ken Golub of Pittsford, N.Y., three-day total of 26-9
7th: Gill Bristow of Columbia, Ala., three-day total of 26-5
8th: Brad Rodrique of Pierre Part, La., three-day total of 26-4
9th: Aaron Fahnestock of Enterprise, Ala., three-day total of 25-9
10th: Mike Morris of White, Ga., three-day total of 25-4

Day four of the Stren Series Southeastern on Santee Cooper will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. from John C Land III Landing located at County Road S-14-260 (Greenall Road) in Summerton, S.C.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2008-04-16-santee-cooper 

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