UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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Suggs slugs his way to the top

Suggs slugs his way to the top
Pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., shows off part of his first place catch after the second day of FLW Tour competition on Lake Ouachita.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - It was only a matter of time, right? Fishing on his home lake as well as the site of his last major tournament victory, Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., vaulted from third place overall to the top of the leaderboard using a stellar two-day catch of 34 pounds, 13 ounces.

It's now obvious that Suggs is picking up right where he left off the last time the bright spotlight was on him during a Lake Ouachita tournament. That event - the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup - allowed Suggs to become the first person in bass-fishing history to net a $1 million payday (which is still a record to this day) for a tournament victory.

Clearly, Suggs now owns Lake Ouachita. And after today's competition, there was little doubt who the frontrunner will be for the remainder of the tournament.

"It feels great," said Suggs, who now owns a 3-pound, 11-ounce lead over his next closest competitor with two days remaining in the tournament. "This morning I had a limit early and I was able to cull every one of those fish. I came into this tournament fishing deep trees just like I did at the (2007 Cup). Right now, I'm exactly where I hoped I would be."

Suggs said he had 9 pounds in the boat and a limit at 8:25 a.m., by targeting largemouth bass in tree tops in approximately 70 feet of water. Primarily known as a deepwater angler, Suggs used a Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait to nab bass suspending in about 40 feet of water at the tops of those trees.

But that's only part of the reason Suggs now finds himself atop of the leaderboard.

Tournament leader Scott Suggs catches a three pounder on day two."I figured something out yesterday and that's making a big difference," said Suggs. While Suggs didn't want to go into great detail, he basically said he began targeting bass hanging out on the very bottom of the lake in a few different areas that he found in practice. "Once I get a limit on those trees, it really frees me up to do this other deal."

And according to Suggs, that's going to be his game plan moving forward - fish the treetops, catch a smaller limit and then try to upgrade his catch fishing his other primary locations.

But while some pundits were already anointing Suggs with the title, he was careful to preach caution.

"We've still got a lot more fishing left," said Suggs. "And so far, everybody's caught them a lot better than I thought they would. I have a couple of areas that I thought would produce but didn't. So you can never relax."

Even on your birthday.

"Yeah, today is my birthday. I'm 44 years old," said Suggs. "Hopefully, if everything keeps going well, I'll get a great gift this Saturday."

Monson keeps rolling as well

Pro Keith Monson of Burgin, Ky., used a two-day total weight of 31 pounds, 2 ounces to claim second place at the end of the dayAs the only other angler to produce back-to-back stringers weighing over 15 pounds, Keith Monson of Burgin, Ky., continued to be a force to be reckoned with as well. With a two-day total weight of 31 pounds, 2 ounces, Monson claimed second place overall - and he couldn't have been happier.

"I'm excited," said Monson. "My goal was to catch 35 pounds for the entire week so I'm definitely ahead of schedule. I'm very excited about what's happening."

Monson said that he's covering a lot of water, targeting bass in shallow bushes using a combination of Brush Hogs and worms.

"I'm fishing shallow areas, then backing off a bit and making long casts to the bushes," he said. "If the fish can see you, you can't catch them because the water is so clear. I'm basically looking for bushes with deep water close by. I'm throwing the Brush Hog in the morning and then throwing the worm in the afternoon."

However, Monson acknowledged that it hasn't been easy - especially with the falling water levels.

"All of my fish today came on a different spots," said Monson. "At the beginning of the week you could catch five fish in one area. But now, you just catch one in a spot and move on. I'm just keeping the trolling motor down and covering a lot of water."

Powroznik nets third place

Pro Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., took over third place with a total catch of 30 pounds, 5 ounces.Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., took over third place with a total catch of 30 pounds, 5 ounces.

"It feels good. I have a lot of confidence right now" said Powroznik. "But you never know what's going to happen tomorrow."

According to Powroznik, he said he figured out an important pattern at the tail end of practice. And so far, it's been working out.

"I got on a little something the last day of practice," he said. "I'm fishing really shallow and I'm basically (targeting) what I call wolf packs. When it gets really hot, the fish get in these tight packs and move up and down the banks and they feed on brim. Once you get those fish fired up after they see your bait, one of them is going to bite it. But once you catch one, you're done. You won't catch another one. You also have to make really long casts - that's the key. Because the water is so clear right now, you have to use long casts and light line."

Hawk surges up the leaderboard

Pro Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, valuted from 54th place to fourth overall at the FLW Tour event at Lake Ouachita after day two.Heading into today's competition, Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, was languishing in 54th place. Consequently, he knew he'd have to make a big move if he was to compete for a title. And that's exactly what he did. Recording a catch of 19 pounds, 9 ounces (the largest stringer caught in the tournament to date), Hawk ultimately managed to finish the day in fourth place overall with a total weight of 29 pounds, 8 ounces.

What a difference a day makes.

"I really dialed in on the bigger bites today," said Hawks in the understatement of the day. "I had a big bite at the end of yesterday and that kind of keyed me in on how to catch some bigger fish. I don't know what I have left for tomorrow, but right now I feel great. Today was truly a blessing."

In addition to today's fantastic five-fish stringer, Hawk also recorded a largemouth bass that had to top 8 pounds - again, the largest fish caught in the entire event.

"Last night I figured I needed to catch 17 pounds a day every day to get back into the top five," he said. "And I was able to do that today. Anytime you're able to come back from a deficit like I had it feels really good."

As far as technique goes, Hawk wasn't saying.

"I'll tell you one thing, I haven't seen anyone doing what I've been doing," said Hawk.

Auten falls to fifth

Day-one pro leader Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., rounded out the top-five pro competitors after nailing down a two-day limit weighing 28 pounds, 10 ounces after the second day of FLW Tour competition on Lake Ouachita.Day-one leader Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., rounded out the top-five pro competitors after nailing down a two-day limit weighing 28 pounds, 10 ounces. However, Auten was understandably disappointed after bringing in only 10 pounds to the scales in today's competition.

"I left several fish out there today," said Auten. "I don't really know what happened. Today we had no clouds and maybe that hurt me. But there are some huge fish in here. They'd come up to my top-water bait, look at it, say `goodbye' and leave. I fished the same area as yesterday and if I caught what I'd seen today I would have had a great sack."

Auten said he's continuing to target largemouth bass moving in packs with a combination of Zara Spook top-water baits and crankbaits.

Tierney grabs co-angler lead

On the strength of a massive 18-pound, 7-ounce catch in today's competition, David Tierney of Fayetteville, Ark., vaulted from 25th place to first.

David Tierney of Fayetteville, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division at Lake Ouachita after sacking 18 pounds, 7 ounces on day two."It's great. Great," said Tierney. "I've always dreamed of winning one of these tournaments and now I have a chance. I'm not going to let down."

Tierney said that he targeted bushes in 8 to 10 feet of water with a combination of Carolina rigs and Zara Spook top-water baits. However, it was the Zara Spook which allowed Tierney to land a 6-pound bass earlier in the day and propel himself up the leaderboard.

"This is only my third FLW Tour event so it feels really good," said Tierney. "As for tomorrow, I'm just going to kind of see what my pro partner is going. But I think the chances are pretty good that I'll be throwing that Spook again early tomorrow morning."

Best of the rest

Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., finished the day in second place overall with a total catch of 18 pounds, 12 ounces.

Third place belonged to Alan Hults of Gautier, Miss., who landed a total catch of 18 pounds, 11 ounces.

Mark White of Tucson, Ariz., grabbed fourth place overall after netting a two-day catch of 18 pounds, 5 ounces.

Meanwhile, day-one leader Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., dropped to fifth place overall with a total catch of 17 pounds, 13 ounces.

"I had a tough cookie in (pro partner) David Dudley today," said Rodgers. "He moved really fast and it made it a little difficult to fish behind him. I could have had 10 pounds today but I missed a couple of fish on top-water bites. Right now, I'm happy to be where I am though. I'm having a good tournament and I'm going to give 100 percent tomorrow."

Day three of FLW Tour competition on Lake Ouachita resumes during tomorrow's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at the Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, located at 994 Mountain Harbor Road in Mount Ida, Ark.

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Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2010-05-26-lake-ouachita 

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