Bassmaster Elite Series Sunshine Showdown: Daily Notes & Quotes
Mar 12th, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Mar 12th, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Adaptation: Kevin VanDam had 17-9 on Day 1, then 18-3 on Day 2. Almost the same result, but accomplished on the Harris Chain in very different ways, according to the four-time Bassmaster Classic champ.
“It was a totally different day, I fished 100 percent the opposite direction than I did yesterday, but it worked out,” he said after weigh-in Friday, when he jumped several places to the No. 2 spot on the leaderboard. “I actually had a much better day than yesterday as far as getting bit. I was pretty excited about that aspect, because I wanted to have something different, whatever the conditions were.
“Today was going to be the critical day, and tomorrow should get even better. The thing here, you have to be consistent here every day.”
VanDam said that to remain consistent in weights, he changed everything, from where he fished to the patterns and lures he used. It was his way to adapt to the switch from rain and cloudy skies to bright sunshine and higher winds.
He said he’d continue to hunt for a giant kicker, like Day 2 leader Shaw Grigsby’s 10-0. “That’s what you’ve got to have here,” VanDam said.
Going into Saturday’s competition, Grigsby has 8-3 on VanDam.
Beat this birthday: Two very good things happened to Matt Greenblatt Friday, his 41st birthday. One, he landed a 10-4 that earned him big-bass honors of the day. Two, he made the Top-50 cut (13th place).
A Florida pro – he lives in Palm Beach Gardens when he’s not on the road in tournaments – Greenblatt swears he doesn’t like to sight-fish, and that the 10-4 came to him while he was “blind-casting” the edges of grass. The bass took the lure on the first drop, swam to the far side of cover, turned back out, and then came to the boat, where Greenblatt lipped it.
The entire fight, he noted, was on 8-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon line.
Zero to hero: After bringing in one bass Thursday that weighed 1-1, Grant Goldbeck hauled in five on Friday that went 27-1, the second-largest bag of the day. He shot from 97th place to 16th, well within the Top-50 cutline.
“It’s all about decisions out here,” he said of his decisive recovery. “Yesterday I left what’s the best area at about 11:30, 12 o’clock, and I shouldn’t have. I couldn’t see them as good yesterday with the wind and overcast sky.”
Goldbeck is sharing sight-fishing real estate with Day 1 leader Pat Golden and Day 2 leader Shaw Grigsby.
“They starting to show up more and more, and we’ve seen a lot of big fish cruising, and hopefully they’ll commit tomorrow,” he said.
After Thursday’s disappointment, Goldbeck called his family at home (now Boerne, Texas). He said his 5-year-old son tried to console him by saying, “Daddy, catch five big ones tomorrow.”
Grinning after Friday’s weigh-in, Goldbeck said: “I can’t wait to talk to him.”
Howell takes a dip: Randy Howell thought he had used up all of his bad luck on Day 1 when he dealt with a baby alligator that was a little too curious about his bait. But, he said that Lady Luck left him again the afternoon of Day 2.
“I had just hooked a 4-pounder and got her close to the boat, and just before I could get a hold of her she came undone,” he said. “I made a lunge for her and ended up going into the water head first. I lost my cap in the process; it’s nasty under those pads.”
Howell went on to say that he hurried out of the water for fear of meeting the baby gator’s mother.
Harris as healthy as ever: Though he didn’t make the Day 3 cut, Bobby Lane knows the Harris Chain of Lakes as well as any Elite Series pro. He says that the fishery is the healthiest he’s ever seen.
“I haven’t seen Harris look this good in at least five years,” he said. “There is some hydrilla in parts of the lake, and just that little bit is clearing up some of the murkiness. Eustis looked really good as well. The grasses will do that to the water here.”
He also said that the fishing is better. The Harris Chain is slowly starting to shake its poor fishing reputation, especially with several bags in the high 20-pounds crossing the stage on Day 2.
“If the water would have stayed warm longer, everyone would have caught more and bigger fish,” he explained. “This is a great place to come and enjoy the fishing, sunshine and the outdoors.”
Golden ties the knot: Pat Golden got married in December.
“My wife, Pam, she’s absolutely wonderful,” he said. “She loves to fish, but we don’t get to go out as much as we’d like to because I travel so much. She loves the sport, and we have a good time with it together.”
Golden, currently in 4th place with 31-10, said she’s cheering him on from High Point, N.C., where they now live together.
From 40th to 6th: James Niggemeyer’s very good Day 2 of 19-12, added to his respectable Day 1 of 11-6, got him into the top-50 cut for Saturday. The biggest bass of Friday weighed about 6 pounds, he estimated.
The key to his Day 2 upgrade from 40th place into 6th were subtle adjustments that triggered bites from bigger fish. He said he wasn’t sure exactly what it was he did differently – or, perhaps, he wisely wasn’t going to share.
“Those bigger bites are what push you up into the next category of weight,” he said. “I sight-fished yesterday too, but today they reacted for me.”
He’s been sharing water, but has some private areas to turn to if needed, he said. He also has some spots he has not been to since practice.
Heard on the weigh-in stand:
“It was pretty brutal for me today.” – Kevin Wirth after falling from 2nd place on Day 1 to 23rd place on Day 2
“I have the utmost respect for the guys I fish against, and they’re about to show you why.” – Kevin VanDam, first to weigh in Friday
“Every day is a Jesus day for me, this was some kind of Jesus day.” – Shaw Grigsby after weighing 29 pounds, 8 ounces on Day 2 and taking the tournament lead with 43-15
“I’m not on a ton of fish, but I’m on some good ones.” – Shaw Grigsby
“I’ve caught more fish the last two days than the previous four times we have been here. I’m telling you, I’m on fire.” – Jeff Kriet, 17th with 26-15
“I’ve been blessed two days in a row and can’t wait to go out tomorrow.” – Stephen Browning in 3rd place with 34-5.
2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Luck “E” Strike, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ramada
For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.
The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications – Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times – comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.