DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

CHAPMAN LEADS DAY THREE AT THE ALABAMA RIVER

Posted by Z3 MEDIA TEAM on 05/11/2013

Story and photos by Matt Pangrac

Montgomery, AL – It was another heavyweight battle of Coosa River spotted bass on Saturday at the Alabama River, as the 50 remaining Elite Series pros jockeyed for valuable Toyota Angler Of the Year points and a chance to fish on Championship Sunday.   

After opening the tournament in the top 10 with a limit weighing 17-12, Kansas’ Brent Chapman took control of the tournament on Friday with an impressive limit of spotted bass weighing 23-5.  On Saturday, Chapman’s lead shrunk, but he was able to hang on to the top spot.  With a limit weighing 18-3, the reigning Toyota Angler Of the Year has a combined weight of 59-4. 

Edwin Evers did all that he could do on Sunday to solidify his place at the top of the 2013 TAOY standings, bringing in his heaviest  effort of the week weighing 22-6.  The Oklahoma pro is poised to make a charge at the championship on Sunday, and sits just over a pound behind Chapman with a total weight of 58-1.  

With a massive limit on Saturday weighing 23-3, the best hopes of a home state victory this week rests on Steve Kennedy’s shoulders.  The Auburn, Alabama pro finished the day with a total weight of 55-pounds and sits 4-4 behind Chapman.  

Alton Jones turned in another solid effort on Saturday weighing 17-4 to finish the day in 4th place with 53-14, and Florida’s Bobby Lane rounded out the top five with a total weight of 51-0. 

The main storyline on Saturday was the dramatic drop in water level throughout the fishery, particularly near the Lake Jordan dam, where several of the leaders have been fishing throughout the week.  The water level dropped upwards of seven feet, and is expected to continue to drop on Sunday.  It’s a guessing game as to whether or not several of the top contenders will be able to access the water that has proven to be so productive throughout the first three rounds of competition.  

The 5 Day Three Facts from the Alabama River
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (May 9-12)
Location:  Alabama River – Montgomery, Alabama  
Leader/weight:  Brent Chapman (17-12, 23-5, 18-3: 59-4)
12th place weight: Randy Howell (44-1)
Total weight separating 1st place from 5th place: 8-4

1st Place: Brent Chapman (17-12, 23-5, 18-3: 59-4)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I really wasn’t sure what to expect with the dropping water level.  Jared Miller was going up there also, so I figured with two of us together, if something happened the other guy could help.  We looked at it and I said that I’d run it and he could follow me.  Once we made it through the really bad stuff, I followed him up through the rest of the way.” 

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“I caught a 3 ½-pounder right of the bat on my really good spot, and then it was pretty slow.  I fished around a little bit and then came back (to the spot) and caught one that was almost 5-pounds.  I ended up catching three good ones there, and then I got nervous and started working my way back down.  It’s really scary up there, so I figured that I could idle back down and fish my way back.  I also used part of the afternoon to scout around and see what my options were going to be for tomorrow. 

“Up until today, you literally had to fish with your trolling motor on high and would still drift backwards.  With less current and lower water today, I could run on half speed and work my way up the banks.  I probably caught between 12 and 15 keepers today, so I still caught a fair amount. 

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“The key moment for me today was getting my boat back over Moccasin Gap.  That was a big relief for me once I got through that area and everything was intact.  After I was through, I felt much better about getting back to check-in intact.”

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“The water is going down, and there’s a handful of guys all fishing in the area.  Tomorrow, I’m guessing that we are all going to be trying to concentrate on specific areas.  I was hoping to have more of a cushion going into tomorrow, but it looks like Edwin is going to make things really tough on me.”

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I knew after the first two days of practice that I wasn’t around the fish that I needed to be around to do well in practice.  Thankfully, Randy Howell helped me out and was willing to show me the area.  Committing to that area has been the big difference in my tournament.   When I saw some of the stuff that I’ve been fishing this week, I never would have dreamed about catching a bass out of those conditions.  It really feels more of a trout our salmon type of deal instead of bass fishing.”

2nd Place: Edwin Evers (17-15, 17-12, 22-6: 58-1)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I really didn’t know because I don’t have enough experience here to know how the dropping water levels and currents position the fish.” 

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“I figured out really quickly how they were positioned and a bait that they’d bite and I caught a few this morning and then got on them again good late this afternoon, which made a big difference. Everything is all current related and you really have to pay attention.

“I probably caught between 15 and 18 keepers over the course of the day, so it was a good day.  I also found a few new spots with less pressure on the river.”  

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“Not really.”

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“I spent quite a bit of time looking for new areas during the afternoon, but I really don’t know if I found anything that will play tomorrow.  Hopefully some of the stuff that I found will work out.” 

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I lost the first two fish that bit, and I landed everything that bit after that.  I was pretty bummed after the first two bites, but it was good after that.” 

3rd Place: Steve Kennedy (15-12, 16-1, 23-3: 55-0)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I really wasn’t expecting anything today because of the changes.  On the way up the river, I caught one really good one and then I caught four big ones off of one rock once I got up the river.”

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“I’d say that the water dropped at least five or six feet today.  I haven’t hit anything with the boat all week, but running up the river today, I hit something hard.  I had to shut down and went over to an eddy to check my lower unit.  I decided to start fishing there, and I ended up catching four of my big ones.  I didn’t even make it up below the dam until later in the day.

“The water dropped so much that I was able to catch the fish that were uncatchable during practice because the water was so high that you couldn’t get a bait to them. Once I got to my main area, I could pretty much call my shots the rest of the day.” 

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“The key moment for me today was hitting the rock with my motor.  If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have pulled into that eddy and started fishing. It just looked good so I thought that I would see what could happen.”

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“The most challenging part is just getting to my area.”

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I threw back to an area and hung a huge fish.  All of the sudden my line popped and went slack and I thought that I had broken it off, but in reality, it had just popped off of an underwater snag.  I was reeling as fast as I could reel and all of the sudden I realized that I still had the fish.  He hit the end of my line behind the boat and it just snapped the line.  I have no idea how big that fish was.” 

4th Place: Alton Jones (16-6, 20-4, 17-4: 53-14)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“As long as there was current, I really thought that the falling water would pull the fish to me.”

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“I’m running about 60 miles one-way, and for the first time in this tournament I actually caught two keepers before I went through the lock.  They were little largemouth though, so I knew that I would have to cull them.

“I had a limit by around 9:30 or 10:00, and then I just focused on getting one bite at a time because I don’t have an area where I catch fish on every cast.  I just kept my head down and fished, because I’d catch a good one about the time that I started to think that the area was dying.  I’d say that I got about 5 ½ hours of fishing time before I had to lock back.” 

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“I had two little ones that I needed to get rid of and I got a bite in some really heavy cover.  I was able to work the fish out of the cover and it was a 4 ½-pounder that allowed me to cull a 2-pounder.  Getting that fish in the boat was really key to my day and made all the difference.”

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“The most challenging part is that I still feel like there’s a lot of fish in the areas that I’m fishing that I just can’t reach because the water is high.”

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I never lost a fish today, but I did miss a couple of bites that I would have liked to have hooked up with.” 

5th Place: Bobby Lane (17-15, 16-4, 16-13: 51-0)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I knew that the water had dropped, but when I got up to where I was fishing, there was a five foot difference in the water level and the trees that I had been fishing were literally out of the water.  After I saw that, I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“Today was a grind just like every other day.  There were guys are fishing a few miles up from me, and that’s where the really big fish are.  I didn’t practice there and I haven’t fished there, so I didn’t go up there.  I probably caught about 20 keepers over the course of the day, but they just weren’t that big.  I have a couple of key areas where I’ve caught most of my fish.” 

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“I was just going down the bank and there was a big bamboo bush.  I flipped in there and thought that I was hung up so I started pulling.  All of the sudden, a 3 ½-pounder came out of the bush and it culled out a 1 ½-pounder.  I also caught a largemouth on a crankbait, which was a bonus.   

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I caught everything that bit today and I only lost one yesterday, so I’ve been fishing clean.” 

DAY THREE STANDINGS

Place PRO ANGLER
Day 1Day 2Day 3 Total Fish Total Weight
FishWeightFishWeightFishWeight
1 Brent Chapman 5 17-12 5 23- 5 5 18- 3 15 59- 4
2 Edwin Evers 5 17-15 5 17-12 5 22- 6 15 58- 1
3 Stephen Kennedy 5 15-12 5 16- 1 5 23- 3 15 55- 0
4 Alton Jones 5 16- 6 5 20- 4 5 17- 4 15 53-14
5 Bobby Lane 5 17-15 5 16- 4 5 16-13 15 51- 0
6 David Walker 5 14- 0 5 16- 9 5 20- 4 15 50-13
7 Skeet Reese 5 15- 4 5 11-15 5 19-13 15 47- 0
8 Aaron Martens 5 15-15 5 12- 5 5 18-12 15 47- 0
9 John Murray 5 18- 9 5 14- 1 5 14- 1 15 46-11
10 Tommy Biffle 5 11- 9 5 16- 6 5 17-10 15 45- 9
11 Paul Elias 5 18- 4 5 16- 1 5 10- 4 15 44- 9
12 Randy Howell 5 17- 0 5 14-14 5 12- 3 15 44- 1
13 Jared Miller 5 13- 3 5 16-12 5 13- 0 15 42-15
14 Boyd Duckett 5 13- 2 5 12-11 5 16- 5 15 42- 2
15 Davy Hite 5 15-14 5 15- 9 5 10-11 15 42- 2
16 Scott Ashmore 5 15- 0 5 17- 8 5 9- 7 15 41-15
17 Chris Lane 5 13- 6 5 13- 2 5 15- 5 15 41-13
18 Ishama Monroe 5 12-14 5 13-11 5 15- 3 15 41-12
19 Mike McClelland 5 16-11 5 9- 9 5 15- 7 15 41-11
20 Hank Cherry 5 15- 2 5 15- 0 5 11- 9 15 41-11
21 Shaw E Grigsby 5 17- 7 5 11- 9 5 12- 6 15 41- 6
22 John Crews 5 12- 3 5 16- 6 5 12-12 15 41- 5
23 Jami Fralick 5 14- 7 5 14- 1 5 12-13 15 41- 5
24 Greg Vinson 5 13-15 5 17-13 5 9- 8 15 41- 4
25 Dean Rojas 5 16- 2 5 14- 4 5 10- 9 15 40-15
26 Cliff Crochet 5 14- 9 5 11- 4 5 14- 4 15 40- 1
27 Jonathon VanDam 5 15- 2 5 11- 1 5 13- 5 15 39- 8
28 Jeremy Starks 5 12- 8 5 13- 1 5 13-15 15 39- 8
29 Kenyon Hill 5 9- 6 5 17- 6 5 12- 8 15 39- 4
30 Britt Myers 5 16-10 5 9- 8 5 12-15 15 39- 1
31 Michael Iaconelli 5 17- 5 5 10- 5 5 11- 5 15 38-15
32 Kevin VanDam 5 12- 7 5 14- 5 5 12- 2 15 38-14
33 Marty Robinson 5 13-14 5 14- 3 5 10- 6 15 38- 7
34 Andy Montgomery 5 10- 7 5 15-11 5 12- 3 15 38- 5
35 Jamie Horton 5 11- 6 5 15-12 5 11- 2 15 38- 4
36 Bernie Schultz 5 10-10 5 14-15 5 12-11 15 38- 4
37 Terry Scroggins 5 15-11 5 10-12 5 11-12 15 38- 3
38 Keith Combs 5 15- 1 5 12- 3 5 10-15 15 38- 3
39 Chris Zaldain 5 14- 9 5 11- 8 5 12- 1 15 38- 2
40 Jason Quinn 5 10- 1 5 16- 1 5 11- 7 15 37- 9
41 Matt Reed 5 14-11 5 12-12 5 10- 0 15 37- 7
42 Yusuke Miyazaki 5 15- 9 5 11- 5 5 10- 5 15 37- 3
43 Jason Williamson 5 18- 4 5 9-10 5 8- 8 15 36- 6
44 Casey Scanlon 5 16- 5 5 10- 0 5 10- 0 15 36- 5
45 Chad Pipkens 5 12-10 5 12- 8 5 10- 6 15 35- 8
46 Clark Reehm 5 8- 9 5 17- 2 5 9- 1 15 34-12
47 Billy McCaghren 5 13- 4 5 13- 2 5 7- 2 15 33- 8
48 Russell Lane 5 13-12 5 11-11 5 6- 5 15 31-12
49 J Todd Tucker 5 17- 0 5 8-13 5 5- 1 15 30-14
50 Matthew Herren 5 14- 2 5 11- 7     10 25- 9