UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Shuffield leverages late bite

Shuffield leverages late bite
Day-one co-angler leader Spencer Shuffield caugth his fish on a Luckycraft Sammy and a jigging spoon.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Despite its dismal appearance today, Lake Ouachita's reputation as a bass factory shone through the cloudy, rainy conditions and delivered several quality catches to co-anglers competing on day one of the Forrest Wood Cup.

Only nine co-anglers caught limits, but consider a couple examples of the caliber of largemouths that crossed the stage: Steve Gregg (16th place) had two fish that totaled 8 pounds, 2 ounces, and one of those was a 2-pounder. Do the math. Mike McDonald (21st place) also caught just two bass, but one was 5 and change.

Leading the Co-angler Division, Spencer Shuffield of Bismark, Ark., caught a five-bass limit that weighedSpencer Shuffield, right, discusses his first-round tactics with Hank Parker. 14-8. When targeting schooling fish, he threw a shad-colored Lucky Craft Sammy and used a jigging spoon and a Texas-rigged worm to add a few more good ones.

"The fish were suspended in about 20 to 35 feet of water," he said. "The ones I caught on the jigging spoon were about 20 feet deep."

Shuffield said that although lightning and showers skirted the areas he fished in the lake's northern end, he never felt a drop of rain all day. The fish, however, seemed to be feeling the profound effects of an impending lunar cycle (full moon on Saturday).

Several co-anglers caught quality fish like this 5-pounder that Mike McDonald brought to the scale."It seemed like the fish started biting better around 10 to 10:30," he said. "I guess it has something to do with that moon phase," he said. "In practice they were biting better early, but it's gotten later and later every day."

In the volatile conditions, Shuffield said that his overriding strategy was to simply play the numbers game.

"Speeding up and making as many casts as I could made the difference for me," he said. "It seemed like the more casts I made, the more bites I got."

Nadeau nabs quartet for second

He may have missed his limit by one fish, but Matthew Nadeau of Grass Valley, Calif., found a quartetPaired with day-one pro leader Scott Martin, second-place co-angler Matthew Nadeau used a combination of reaction baits and dropshots. of quality. His 12-pound, 12-ounce total was enough to earn him second place in the Co-angler Division.

Paired with top pro Scott Martin, Nadeau threw reaction baits in the mid-depth zone and fished a drop-shot with a 6-inch Roboworm when his pro moved out to 25 feet. He rigged a ¼-ounce weight to quickly reach bottom.

"I was fishing the drop-shot slowly, just trying to keep my bait down there as long as I could.

"I had three by about 9:30 this morning, and then it took me probably four or five hours to get my fourth fish, and that was a 4-pounder."

Helton endures heartbreak but takes third

Mike Helton placed third, just 5 ounces behind second.Mike Helton of Jeffersonville, Ind., also came up one fish short of a limit and finished third with 12-7, just 5 ounces behind Nadeau. Helton fished with fifth-place pro Randall Tharp and threw reaction baits most of the day.

"We fished shallow, and I had the fifth fish on a couple of times and it came off," he said. "Randall's was the same way. It was a heart-breaking day at some points and a really high day at some points.

"In the morning, things didn't seem like they were going to go all that well, and then later in the day, everything came together. I wish I could have got that other fish in the boat, but I'm happy with my performance."

Helton said he and Tharp stuck with the same style of baits most of the day, but making some key adjustments in presentation helped them overcome a slow start.

Fourth place for Kapiton

George Kapiton of Inverness, Fla. caught a five-bass limit that weighed 11-8 and placed fourth in theWhen the topwater bite failed to produce, George Kapiton switched to a fluke and caught the fourth-place limit in the co-angler division. Co-angler Division. Making a key adjustment in bait selection proved essential to his success.

"My pro and I were both throwing topwaters and the fish were coming up on them, but they weren't eating them," he said. "We changed to flukes and started really catching them. They were eating it better - holding on to it."

Kapiton said his day started slowly, but his bite turned on around 9:30 a.m. and continued until the last hour of fishing time. He used a smoke-shad-colored fluke and fared best with a stinger-rigged bait.

"I started without (a stinger), but my pro had a treble on his and I put a treble on mine," he said. "I caught a couple on the treble and a couple on the main hook."

Early bite lands Bone in fifth

Texas rigging Zoom worms around standing timber and grass produced the fifth-place co-angler bag for Patrick Bone.Patrick Bone of Cleveland, Ga., sacked up a limit of 10-14 and placed fifth. He caught his fish by Texas rigging a 10-inch Zoom Old Monster and a Zoom Speed Worm around weedlines and standing timber interspersed with grass.

"I was just throwing it around and fishing slowly," Bone said. "I didn't get many bites. I culled one time today."

The action, Bone said, was quick to start, but short-lived.

"Me and Larry (Nixon) both had limits by 11 o'clock today, but I only culled one keeper after that. We caught `em early, and that was it. I had a great time catching fish, and then it just shut down."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the Forrest Wood Cup:Missouri co-angler Steve Gregg caught only two fish, but one was a 6-pounder.

6th: Shane Winchester of Glasgow, Ky., 10-9
7th: Ralph Mulleins of Cumberland, Va., 10-8
8th: Chris Hults of Vancleave, Ms., 10-3
9th: J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., 10-1
10th: Dakota Lucy of Hot Springs, Ark., 9-6

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Central time from Brady Mountain Resort & Marina located at 4120 Brady Mountain Road in Royal, Ark.

Tags: david-a-brown  co-angler-headline  2011-08-11-forrest-wood-cup-lake-ouachita 

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