UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Christie climbs to first

Christie climbs to first
Jason Christie casted a topwater to shallow water all day for the tournament lead

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Bass Fishing 101 states that the day after a front is the toughest. And that proved true on day two of the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup as the weather returned to normal and Lake Ouachita became stingy. While the weights fell substantially, a handful of pros continue to figure them out. Ironically, the one leading the tournament had an absolutely terrible practice.

Jason Christie felt like yesterday's cool, cloudy conditions were a godsend. It not only allowed him to fish to his strengths, but it also helped him slowly begin to pattern the lake.

"I took what I learned yesterday and applied it to today," he said. "I figured out what I should be looking for and today I found more of that; I probably doubled my area. I junk-fished completely yesterday and today I spent about 60 percent of my day junk-fishing. I'm just taking off with the trolling motor, and I'll fish all the way through an area and then pull up and go somewhere else. I actually fished a place today and went back an hour later and there were fish there that weren't there an hour earlier. I think they just cruise around and travel. You've just got to hit them in the head."

Christie has 10 or so shallow coves that are covered with standing timber. Not only are the bluegills Diet Mountain Dew pro Jason Christie holds up his biggest bass from day two on Lake Ouachita. spawning around the timber, but the shade spots and wood make the Oklahoma native feel more comfortable.

"I actually caught my biggest fish today flipping, but my primary deal is topwater."

The Diet Mountain Dew pro is throwing both prop baits and poppers on top.

"In the slick water I use the prop baits and when it's choppy I use the popper, which is the best topwater bait in August, period."

Christie starts each morning by staying in one area until he has a limit. Today he had No. 5 by 9 a.m. But each day his better fish have come from somewhere else. That trend has him reconsidering the order in which he samples his spots.

"I caught probably twice as many fish today, but they're still spooky. Overall, I would still describe them as hard to catch. If you don't make the perfect cast with just the right angle you don't get bit."

Christie's day-two limit weighed 13 pounds, 6 ounces and pushed his total weight to 31-7.

"This tournament is all about getting a big bite or two each day. And I think the big bites come from up shallow so I'm going to live or die there."

Martin slips to second

In some ways, day two was disappointing for National Guard pro Scott Martin. In other ways, it was Second-place pro Scott Martin caught a five-fish limit Friday weighing 11 pounds, 9 ounces.positive. Martin fell from first to second after catching an 11-pound, 9-ounce limit and trails Christie by less than a pound. But Martin's co-angler partner sacked an unthinkable 17-pound, 11-ounce limit, which was the second heaviest of the day regardless of division.

"I don't know how to describe what happened," he said. "It's unfortunate, but it reinforced to me that the big ones are there. I still think the potential for a 17- or 18-pound bag is there."

Martin said he received the same number of bites as on day one, but they just weren't as big. The exception was a 4- or 5-pounder that broke the ring that connects the line to his bait.

"I still think I've got the magic spot out there. If I can catch those types of fish the next few days, I'll have a good shot."

Martin is still fishing 10 to 20 feet of water. He targets bait (big shad) and scattered brush both with a swimbait and with soft plastics - via drop-shots and Texas rigs.

"The next two days are going to be a battle and I really want to take this one back to Florida."

Tharp third

Ouachita Shower: Randall Tharp gets splashed by a feisty keeper.After converting only half his bites on day one, Randall Tharp had a much cleaner day two on Ouachita. He didn't get as many bites, but he converted on all but one - managing a limit worth 13 pounds, 1 ounce. Tharp sits in third with a total weight of 29 pounds, 1 ounce.

The Gardendale, Ala., pro is fishing wolfpack bass over shallow bluegill beds. He has four productive areas located and he's excited about their potential.

"When I caught that 4-pounder, I could see about 10 more fish of similar size below it," he said. "There's definitely more bluegills up now than there was in practice and prepractice. And I'm absolutely sure the bluegills are going to be there tomorrow."

Tharp is throwing solely topwaters to catch his fish. He said the areas he's in have both timber and a little bit of grass.

"The fish in this lake are really smart, but at the same time they're feeding. I'm confident that I know where a bunch of these wolfpacks swim. Let's just say it's going to be a fun next couple of days."

Morgan rallies to fourth, Meyer fifth

After starting day two in 35th place, Evinrude pro Andy Morgan caught the dayThe biggest stringer of the day came from veteran pro Andy Morgan. The Dayton, Tenn., native caught only four keepers on day one but rallied with an impressive 18-pound, 15-ounce limit today.

"The difference was that I landed them today," Morgan said. "Yesterday I had the bites for 13 or 14 pounds but I couldn't hook them. I think the sunshine helped in that you could see what you were casting at."

Morgan said he's throwing topwaters and targeting wolfpacks and he's also doing some sight-fishing. The key to his pattern is timing.

"I try to stay off my best stuff until it lines up just right and I can see they're pushing bait. Then they come and they come in to eat. Today was dead on like it was in practice. You catch a fish about every hour."

Morgan tried flipping the grass, but was unable to get it to go. Now he's committed to the topwater game, much like Tharp and Christie.

Fifth-place pro Cody Meyer holds up his kicker fish from day two on Lake Ouachita.Fifth-place pro Cody Meyer is also playing the shallow-water topwater game, although it wasn't as productive on day two. He still brought 13 pounds, 1 ounce to the scale, but most of it came via a drop-shot.

"I only got six bites but I culled a 13-incher with about five minutes left in the day," said the Grass Valley, Calif., pro. "That fish gave me about a pound and 3/4 upgrade, so it was huge. But overall it was pretty brutal."

On day one, Meyer caught all of his fish on a Jackall Bowstick. Today he used a drop-shot with a wacky-rigged Flick Shake.

"Not only did that Bowstick catch fish, but it helped find some. Today I started with the topwater and then came back with the drop-shot. The key to fishing the bream beds with the drop-shot is making real long casts."

Like many others, Meyer said his pattern is all about timing. Unfortunately, he can't pin down exactly when and why the wolfpacks come in to feed.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros at the Forrest Wood Cup after day two:

6th: Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., 10 bass, 27-1
7th: Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 26-15
8th: Andy Montgomery of Grover, N.C., 10 bass, 26-13
9th: Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., 10 bass, 26-12
10th: Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 26-0

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

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2011-08-11-forrest-wood-cup-lake-ouachita 

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