UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

‘Pirch’ed on top

‘Pirch’ed on top
Clifford Pirch now leads the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chicamauga by a slim 3 ounces.

HIXSON, Tenn. - Day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga saw drastically different conditions. After a balmy, sunny day one, half of Friday's competition was marred by rain. But the changing weather didn't bother Clifford Pirch, who moved from second to first on the strength of a second consecutive 20-pound sack.

Pirch fished a few of the same spots as yesterday, but mostly ran new water. He said the bite was slow in the morning and picked up midday.

"I ran a similar pattern," said the Payson, Ariz., native. "I caught couple sight-fishing this morning with a Roboworm creature bait and my Typhoon Polarized Optics. And I caught the rest blind bed-fishing."

Pirch explained that most of the fish he's catching are spawning bass. But today's conditions weren't ideal for looking at them. Nevertheless, he knows what they spawn around and subsequently runs a pattern to where he thinks they're bedding. When he's not looking at them, he throws a variety of lures and fishes methodically.

"Because it's a pattern, I'm able to run new water. And that's how I caught most of them today; the new water really paid off for me."

Pirch culled approximately five times and finished with 20 pounds, 6 ounces. His 43-11 gives him a slight 3-ounce lead at the halfway point in the tournament. He's very pleased with his performance but there are boats near him almost everywhere he goes.

"I don't really have anything to myself."

While the rain helped turn his bite on today, he's worried too much of it overnight could ruin his best areas.

"I'm hoping we won't have too much muddy water. Either way, I'll try to roll with it and find some clean water and try to catch them just fishing."

Fukae second
Shinichi Fukae slipped to second after catching 19 pounds, 13 ounces Friday.
By mid-morning, things were not looking good for day-one leader Shinichi Fukae. He caught his first fish (a 6-pounder) at 10:30 a.m. and at 11 he moved to his second spot. At that point, the bite was starting to pick up. By his third stop, Fukae had filled out his limit. He then decided to run back to his first spot to upgrade. It was a wise decision as the Cheez-It pro culled several times and finished with 19 pounds, 13 ounces.

"It wasn't good until the rain came out," said the 2004 Angler of the Year. "Being in the last flight really helped; the extra time allowed me to be patient."

Fukae said he did both some of flipping and some casting. Overall, he says he's junk-fishing, but he didn't run and gun like he did the first day.

Despite trailing by only 3 ounces, Fukae insists he's not thinking about winning. He's just intent on making the necessary adjustments that each day brings.

"I just need to focus on catching fish."

Dodson up to third

Harrison, Ark., pro Robbie Dodson sits in second place after day two with 42 pounds, 3 ounces.After catching over 30 keepers on day one, Harrison, Ark., pro Robbie Dodson caught only six keepers Friday. But three of them were good fish, and they anchored his 20-pound, 8-ounce limit. With a total weight of 42 pounds, 3 ounces, Dodson is less than 2 pounds off the lead.

"Yesterday I caught most of them on a Luck "E" Strike square-bill crankbait and today I didn't get a bite on it," he said. "And I threw it on and off all day. I caught all of my fish on a 3/8-ounce jig with a Luck "E" Strike Jogger worm (green pumpkin and watermelon candy)."

Dodson thinks the problem was that the shad wouldn't come up. He's running points in water 10 to 12 feet deep and the bass are only active on these points if the shad are present.

"If the sun would come up the shad would come up."

With blustery weather in the forecast for tomorrow, Dodson thinks he'll be in survival mode.

"I caught almost 35 yesterday without wind and only six today with wind. So I'm pretty sure the wind kills the shad. And without the shad, the bass won't eat. I was really fortunate to get those three bites today. I weighed in three good ones and two babies."

Monsoor slips to fourth
Tom Monsoor sits in fourth place with a two-day total of 36 pounds, 15 ounces.
Tom Monsoor battled engine problems, hit a rock and spun a hub, yet still caught 14 pounds, 13 ounces to bring his two-day total to 36-15.

"Considering I'm in fourth place after the day I just had, I'm happy as can be," said the La Crosse, Wis., native.

Monsoor said the morning bite was slow, but his main problem was crowding. Nearly every spot he visited was covered up with boats.

"I couldn't get on any of my stuff, which made it really tough. Boats just kept coming. I finally found a new spot and it paid off. By the end of the day I had about 10 keepers."

Monsoor continues to swim a jig with a Yamamoto grub as a trailer. He's targeted mainly prespawn bass and fishing muddy water. He's excited for tomorrow for two reasons - more time to fish and colder weather.

"I caught them better in practice when it was colder so I'm not worried about that. And I came in 30 minutes early today because I was worried about my engine. So I'm eager to get squared away mechanically and see what I can do with another full day."

McAbee fifth

Randy McAbee Jr., the 2007 FLW Series Western Division Angler of the Year, sits in fifth place with a two-day total of 35 pounds, 7 ounces. After catching 15-15 yesterday, McAbee improved to 19-8 today.

"I had four fish by 8:30 and then I caught a 4-pounder at 9:30 this morning," said the Bakersfield, Calif., pro. "Having a limit early like that really helped my confidence. And then at about 2:45 p.m. I culled two 2-pounders on almost back-to-back casts."

McAbee claims to be fishing deeper than anyone else in the field. He's targeted solely prespawners and he's got all the water in the world to himself.

"I'm throwing a Basstar prototype crankbait. We've already got a deep diver, but this one dives to about 14 feet."

McAbee throws it around round, bald points that lead into pockets.

"I found that pattern as I was idling in to the marina at 7 p.m. on the last practice day. My graph just lit up, so I threw out there and caught two 5-pounders. This happened literally in the last few minutes of practice."

McAbee will be one to watch tomorrow as the conditions change and the pressure on the bank builds.

"I want the wind. I think that will help my crankbait bite. The neat thing is, I'm only looking for a few key bites. Most of the fish I'm catching are between 3 1/2 and 5 pounds."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga after day two:

6th: Jay Keith of Camden, S.C., 35-2
7th: Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., 35-1
8th: Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., 34-11
9th: JT Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., 34-1
10th: JT Palmore of Blackstone, Va., 34-1

Blaylock retains leadCo-angler leader Keeton Blaylock shows off solid keeper.

Co-angler Keeton Blaylock didn't have a banner second day on Chickamauga, but he did enough to retain first place. His 11-pound, 8-ounce limit pushed his total weight to 30 pounds even. He'll start the final day of competition with a 1-pound lead.

"I had a lot of bites that I didn't get in today," said the Beaver Lake champion. "I really should have done way better than I did. If I would've caught everything that bit, I probably would have had at least 15 pounds."

Blaylock said his morning was fairly productive. He caught his first keeper within the first 10 or 15 minutes of the day and had his limit by 12:30 p.m. But he only caught six keepers total, all medium-sized largemouths.

"The way we fished changed up completely. Yesterday we fished down where the water is clearer and today we fished up in the dirty water."

Blaylock said he fished faster in the dirty water and used three different baits. Tomorrow he'll be paired with Pirch as he aims for his second win of the season.

`Lack Attack' second

Alton Lackie of Germantown, Tenn., rose to second place after catching five bass weighing 12 Co-angler Alton Lackie sits in second place with a two-day total of 29 pounds.pounds, 1 ounces. Combined with his 16-15 from day one, Lackie has a total weight of 29 pounds even.

"At our first stop this morning I caught one on a Texas-rigged Brush Hog," said Lackie, the designated practice partner of Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre. "From there they all came on a shaky head and a Zoom finesse worm."

Lackie said he fished in 2 to 4 feet of water and that flat, rocky banks produced the best. He finished the day with just five keepers and four short fish - all largemouths.

"I'm 75-years-old and having a great time out there."

Interestingly, Lackie won the very first FLW Tour event he entered back in 2003. Tomorrow, he'll seek to add win No. 2.

Horton, Kuphall, Stepp round out top five

Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Ky., caught a 13-pound, 3-ounce limit Friday. Combined with his 15-13 from day one, Horton has a two-day total of 29 pounds even and will start tomorrow in third place. Although Lackie and Horton both have 29-0, Lackie technically holds the tiebreaker - the largest single-day stringer.

Caleb Kuphall of Mukwonago, Wis., soared to fourth after catching 14 pounds, 1 ounce. Kuphall's two-day total stands at 25 pounds, 9 ounces.

Sean Stepp slipped from second to fifth after catching only three keepers worth 7-1. Stepp has a total weight of 24 pounds, 14 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour after day two:

6th: Brent Evans of Calvert City, Ky., 24-5
7th: Patrick Stines of Granger, Ind., 24-3
8th: Philip Jarabeck of Lynchburg, Va., 24-0
9th: Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas, 23-13
10th: Derrick Snavely of Rogersville, Tenn., 23-12

Day three of the FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. from Chester Frost Park located at 2318 Gold Point Circle North in Hixson, Tenn.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2011-04-14-lake-chickamauga 

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