UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Lanier

Martin’s magic area continues to produce

Martin’s magic area continues to produce
Day-three leader Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., entertained the crowd with his 16-pound, 1-ounce catch.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The rollercoaster ride that is the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup continued Saturday with the return of cool, rainy conditions. And as most of the pros continued their topwater assault, the leaderboard flipped yet again. At the conclusion of weigh-in, Scott Martin regained the lead after successfully mining Lake Ouachita's deep waters.

After his co-angler caught nearly 18 pounds from his best spot yesterday, Martin was at a loss. It was clear he was on winning fish and to have someone else catch them was demoralizing. But Martin approached the year-end championship expecting adversity and today he proved resilient by catching a 16-pound, 1-ounce sack. Four of his five keepers were largemouths, the other a 1 1/2-pound spotted bass.Wishful thinking: When things get tough, Scott Martin gives bass a little hint on what to do with his swimbait.

"I fished clean today, but with every noise my co-angler made I was paranoid that he was jacking a 5-pounder," he said. "So I just buckled down and with the weather change it was easier to catch them."

Martin said he continues to catch his bass offshore. He's got one magic 150-yard area and several other productive ones. The key depth in his best spot is 17 to 25 feet. What makes it good is the presence of bigger shad. He attacks it with several baits including a drop-shot, a Texas-rigged worm and a swimbait. If he can identify a fish beneath him on the graph he quickly releases the drop-shot to the lake bottom.

"I keep hearing these crazy stories about huge fish up shallow. But let me tell you, there's big fish out deep too. I'll admit there are more fish shallow than deep that are catchable. But I think I've figured something out and I'm pretty dialed in. And my areas are reloading; you can visually see them on the graph."

With three days in the book, Martin has a total weight of 46 pounds, 12 ounces and roughly a 5-pound lead.

"To win the Cup would be the biggest thing in my career. Tomorrow I'm not going to fish conservatively; I'm putting the pedal to the metal."

Clausen soars to second

Chevy pro Luke Clausen stormed to second after catching a 16-pound, 3-ounce stringer Saturday.Soaring into contention after catching the heaviest limit of the day was Chevy pro Luke Clausen. The 2004 Forrest Wood Cup champion caught 16-3 Saturday and tomorrow has the chance to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion.

"I'm happy with today but to be honest I'm still disappointed with days one and two," he said. "I really thought coming in I could catch 15 to 17 pounds a day. Today I finally had one of the days I thought I could put together."

Clausen is running the bluegill-bed pattern and is covering a lot of water. He's using a prop bait as well as two different walking-style baits. He'll fish his best areas several times each day to see if new predators have arrived.

"The potential to catch 20 pounds is there but you just go on these streaks where you can't hook them. Today I lost the first three that bit and then I caught 10 in a row and then I missed three more after that."

Clausen said he's not concerned with Martin or his pattern. Rather he's just focused on executing and fishing as hard as possible.

"If I could catch 18 or 19 pounds I think I'd have a decent chance. This place has got a ton of 4-pounders in it they're just incredibly smart. But I'm starting to figure out when to throw different baits in different conditions."

Tharp retains third
Third-place pro Randall Tharp caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces.
Randall Tharp had a consistent third day on Lake Ouachita and retained his position on the leaderboard. His 12-5 limit gave him a three-day total of 41 pounds, 6 ounces.

The Gardendale, Ala., pro continues to fish wolfpack bass over shallow bluegill beds. He has four productive areas that hold tournament-winning fish. In addition, he's capitalizing on some schooling activity.

"I lost a 5-pounder today on a freak deal," Tharp said. "I started reeling my bait in fast to make another cast and all of a sudden I see a 5-pounder following it. So I stopped the bait and for a split second it bit, but it didn't get the bait deep enough."

Tharp did receive some good fortune Saturday.

"At one point we got into some schoolers and my co-angler had just caught one. As he reeled it in I could see about four more bass with it. So I stuck my rod down in the water, got bit and then just boat flopped it in without hardly reeling."

As the tournament progresses, Tharp is learning more and more about wolfpack bass.

"I think these fish just alternate between chasing shad and eating bluegills. You can catch them, but it's like a 10-second window and then they're gone."

Although Tharp has over a 5-pound hill to climb, he's convinced he's around the right fish.

"If everything was magical and perfect you could catch 21 or 22 pounds. I'm tickled to death to have a chance to win this thing tomorrow."

Rose fourth, Christie fifth

National Guard pro Mark Rose moved up to sixth place after catching 12 pounds, 8 ounces on day two.Mark Rose has been the most consistent pro during the tournament thus far. And that consistency has him steadily climbing the leaderboard. Today he sacked a 14-pound, 4 ounce limit, which pushed his total to 41 pounds, 5 ounces.

"I'm trying to win an endurance race, but I'm still behind the 8-ball with the weather we've had," said Rose. "I really needed the 100-degree days and bright sun."

Rose is fishing offshore points and channel swings and said the mid-depths (less than 20 feet) have been the best for him. He's averaging about 12 keepers a day, but doesn't believe he can catch more than 15 pounds in his area.

"I'm confident I can catch some, but catching a real good sack is tough. It's so hard to catch a 4-pounder out there right now. I'm just culling an ounce here and there."

The Pickwick Lake champion said he's employing a variety of offshore lures including crankbaits, spoons and drop-shots. With the full moon starting to diminish, Rose is hoping the shallow bite is beginning to wane.

"Ouachita is a clear-water lake and the more those shallow fish see those baits and hear those trolling motors it should get tougher."

Day-two leader Jason Christie fell to fifth after catching four bass Saturday weighing 9 pounds, 5 ounces.Day-two leader Jason Christie slipped to fifth after catching four bass that weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces. His three-day cumulative weight sits at 40 pounds, 12 ounces. The Diet Mountain Dew pro has 10 or so shallow coves that are covered with standing timber. Not only are the bluegills spawning around the timber, but the shade spots and wood make the Oklahoma native feel more comfortable.

Christie's mainly throwing topwaters - prop baits in slick water and poppers when it's choppy. Occasionally he'll flip to a piece of cover.

"In the first hour of the day I left 9 or 10 pounds out there and that messes with you," said the Lake Hartwell champion. "You boat those fish, mentally, you take off running. You fail to boat those fish, mentally, it kills you."

Rest of the best

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

6th: Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., 38-9
7th: Cody Meyer of Grass Valley, Calif., 37-13
8th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., 37-13
9th: Andy Montgomery of Grover, N.C., 37-12
10th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., 37-3

The final 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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