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So close on Ross Barnett

Posted by stephen on October 23, 2013

photo: James Overstreet 

Heading back to weigh in on day 3 of the Bassmaster Central Open on Ross Barnett, I was feeling pretty good. As it turned out, I was bringing in the heaviest bag of the tournament with 16 pounds, 14 ounces. I entered day 3 in 10th place, but I knew a stringer like that could put me in position to win this thing. Like I said, feeling pretty good. That was until I got back to the dock and saw day-1 and day-2 leader, Randall Tharp, already back and looking pretty calm and collected. Back early and relaxed. Well, now — this is going to be interesting.

I had two days under my belt that weren’t lights-out, but enough to get me into the final 12. But I needed to whack him. I didn’t change up much on day-3, it was just a simple fact that I was sharing an area with a only handful of the top 12 competitors on day-3 instead of the 50 to 60 boats I was around the first two days. On a body of water like Ross Barnett that fishes pretty small, that can make a big difference. So I was able to make some adjustments that I just wasn’t able to do in heavy traffic. And that paid off.

My main area was an intersection of two sloughs that held fish but didn’t really come alive until Saturday when traffic was down. My go-to bait was a Z-man Zinker and I was fishing it sort of finesse with a ¼ oz. weight and 16 lb. Gamma fluorocarbon. And on day three I slowed down and worked the area with more of pitching approach with repeated casts to areas and that turned out to be key. I also mixed in a 7/16 Jewel Casting Jig that added a few quality bites as well turned what might have been another 10 lb. limit into an almost 17 lb. limit.

So being the third one to weigh in on Saturday, I took the hot seat and waited. And waited. You can kind of determine how the Pro did with the amount of fish that the co-angler brings in. But from 5th to 12th, it was tight. Maybe a pound or two separating the bunch. So it could swing either way with one good fish — especially at these weights.

To be honest, I knew I had a good bag, but after playing this game for a while, I’ve learned to translate facial expressions into an accurate guess of how they did that day. I had a pretty good idea I had 10 out of 11 beat. I also knew Tharp only needed about 5 lbs. to to go wire-to-wire. When I saw him, his expression said he was north of 5 pounds. And that he was.

So I took home a decent chunk of change for 3 days of work. I can live with that – SB.

Final Pro Results ]