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Classic Hopes Still Alive After Chesapeake

Posted by stephen on August 21, 2015

 Stephen Chesapeake.jpg

(Photo: Chris Mitchell)

Going into the Chesapeake I knew it would be tough.  The fact that so much weight separated the winner from the twelfth place finisher is enough to tell you that this event was all about the “haves” and the “have nots”.  The top five or six anglers you could say were dialed in while the rest of us were scrambling.  I’ve been at this for twenty years and I can say that I am still learning to this day and will continue to for the rest of my career.  You can’t be satisfied in this sport – ever.

After watching the final day on BASSlive of the Elite event on the Chesapeake I’m kicking myself.  Seeing so many familiar areas that I fished really made me understand that I was onto something at the very least.  The positive to take from the event was the fact that I made the third day and was able to get some valuable AOY points and learned a lot about the fishery for the next time.

I started the event well.  The area I found the final day of practice is where I hunkered down and grinded them out on day one.  I had my limit by 9:30am and got a few of the “right” bites which helped me get in that top twenty going into day two.  After being in the first flight day one I was in the last one the next day.  With a lot of people rotating through the same stuff it was much tougher to get in a rhythm so I ended up scrambling to catch smallies up the the river on a Z-Man ZinkerZ.  I ended up having enough to make it to day three and even got an earlier second flight day three. 

The day started off well as I caught two on a jig right off the bat.  Then I was able to boat a third keeper by ten.  I figured with all that time left, I would be able to coax two more bites, but never was able to.  I never lost any fish, but I did swing and miss on two.  A big one came up and boiled on my chatterbait, but never ate it.  It could’ve been a striper, but I’m almost sure it was a good sized largemouth.  The other was missed while flipping that ZinkerZ, which has become kind of my signature bait when it gets tough.  I feel like that final day I was just off a bit on my rotation and it caused me to slide down the leaderboard a bit.

Going into the final Elite event at St. Clair, I’m currently in 54th place in the points.  As of now they are going to take the top 39 to the Classic, but with four Opens left it could very well be 40 by the time it’s all said and done.  For me it’s a very important week coming up.  To get some of the AOY money you have to finish in the top 50, so I definitely need to move up a least a few spots.  My goal going in is to make a top 12 and get into that Classic cut.  At the very worst I believe a top 30 or top 20 would also give me a chance.  The good thing is I’ve had some success at St. Clair in the past, with a 3rd place finish being my highest finish there.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had a top 12, so what better time than the final event of the season to get one.

Even though my main goal is to make the Classic through the Elites, I still have some opportunities ahead in the Bassmaster Central and Southern Opens.  The first one up is right after St. Clair at Ft. Gibson in Oklahoma.  To be honest, I’m not too crazy about being on Ft. Gibson for Labor Day weekend.  It’ll definitely be a zoo, but it will be the same for all of us.  Overall, the fishery suits my style well with it being a predominantly shallow fishery; however during my practice I’m planning to leave the rods in the locker.  In order to win this one it’ll most likely be about having some little rock piles and slightly offshore cover.  I’m going to take my Raymarine’s and go to work looking for those subtle spots that will make all of the difference between doing well and having an opportunity to win. -SB