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Friday, May 17, 2013
2013 Walmart FLW Lake Eufaula Day 1: Lucas Leads with over 22 Pounds!
by Brett Carlson FLW Press Release
EUFAULA, Ala. – To say Lake Eufaula is currently in transition is a gross understatement. Bass are spawning, guarding fry, gobbling shad and hanging out on deep structure. The diversity offered is great, but none of the patterns are particularly reliable and strong right now. That’s why pro leader Justin Lucas sampled both shallow and deep water on day one.
Justin Lucas holds first by leaving the bank.
Capitalizing on unexpected cloud cover, Lucas started his day close to the bank and caught a solid 17- or 18-pound limit, which included one that was still on a bed.
“I don’t think anyone was expecting it to be this good in the morning,” Lucas said of the early bite. “The clouds rolled in and stayed for a long time. It really helped.”
Within the first hour, Lucas had nearly 16 pounds. The former Californian who now resides in Guntersville, Ala., said he caught a 5-pounder on a frog, he sight-fished the 4 1/2-pound female off her nest and his other shallow fish came from “fishing slow.”
“I still have a lot of 2-pound bucks on bed, I just didn’t catch them because they wouldn’t have helped me today. But they could definitely help me tomorrow or on the weekend if I make it that far.”
Lucas then paid a visit to his most productive offshore spot, a spot he described as “magic.”
“Right away I double hooked with two 4 1/2-pounders but one came off before I got it in the boat. So I immediately threw back and caught a 3-pounder and that’s when I realized I should probably leave it alone.”
Lucas described his offshore area as a hard spot out in the middle of nowhere in about 5 to 8 feet. To reach bottom, he cranks a Lucky Craft LC 2.5 DD. He tried to Carolina rig as well, but the crankbait was the only producer.
“They’ve got nothing else to go to out there, so it’s a magnet for them. I found some more offshore spots late too. So we’ll see what’s on them the next few days.”
Lucas estimates in total he caught a dozen keepers. After an ordinary practice, he’s happy to be leading – even if it is only day one.
“Getting that limit early just relaxes you and settles your decision making down.”
While Lucas went both shallow and deep, Joe Don Setina knew exactly what he was going to do before he even got to Eufaula. The Texas pro and winner of the 2009 EverStart Series event on Falcon Lake is solely focused on deep water.
“I didn’t fish shallow at all because I don’t believe it can be won shallow,” said the Pittsburg, Texas, native.
Setina had a limit with three big ones by 9:30 this morning, but then the action slowed considerably. He finished the day only culling once, but said the gamble for big fish is worth it. His five best bass weighed 22 pounds, 3 ounces.
“I probably fished eight or 10 spots and most are around 17 feet deep. The most you get from each spot is a fish or two. It’s really all about timing. You can go somewhere and not catch a thing, but come back two hours later and catch a 5-pounder.”
Setina said everything he caught came from custom baits painted by fellow Texas pro Lamonte Loyd.
“I just have a lot of confidence in his baits and I’m confident in my ability this time of year.”
Third-place pro Bryan Thrift caught the third 20-pound bag of the day, his weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces to be exact. Despite the success, the 2010 Angler of the Year termed his performance a “gift day.”
“I did not have a great practice by any means,” said the Chevy pro.
Thrift then decided to do what he does best – run and gun, covering water from the dam to the river.
“I did a lot of two- and three-cast deals today,” Thrift said of his pattern. “The way I feel, if the bass is there, he should bite it in the first cast. In the postspawn, it’s not like you’re going to sit there and make them bite.”
Thrift declined to name lures, but did say he caught his two biggest fish on back-to-back casts around 10 a.m.
“Those were fish No. 4 and No. 5 and I was a happy man right then.”
In total, Thrift boated nine keepers, seven of which were largmouths.
“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I’m just glad to finally get a big bite.”
Like Thrift, Andy Morgan has a pretty solid track record at Eufaula and he knows the lake well after fishing several EverStart Southeast events. And like Thrift, he didn’t let a poor practice affect his performance when the chips were down come tournament time.
Once Morgan saw the cloud cover this morning, he made a move to the shallow grass and caught some bonus fish.
“I really took advantage of that early bite and then I ran around and fished some postspawn stuff,” he said. “In practice, I was catching only like four or five fish a day, but they were quality. So I’m pleased to start with 20 pounds. And I figured something out late and I’m kind of surprised I did to be honest with you.”
Morgan, also employing the run-and-gun strategy, sampled 30 places on the day. While the forecast calls for continued hot weather, the Dayton, Tenn., pro doesn’t plan to completely give up on the shallow fish.
“I don’t think the shad will quit spawning so everyday you’ll have a shallow bite. What happens after that, who can catch them after 9 a.m., is the key.”
Morgan’s official weight was 19-15, which places him fourth.
Fresh off a top-10 finish at Beaver Lake, Brandon Coulter is back at it – this time without an Alabama rig. His day-one limit on Lake Eufaula weighed 19 pounds, 14 ounces.
“I had a terrible practice,” said Coulter. “Every fish I caught in three days of practice wouldn’t have weighed 19 pounds. So I went to a different area and went back to basics in terms of lures.”
Coulter wouldn’t pinpoint what those lures were, but he did say he’s targeting shallow fish that are guarding fry.
“By 10:30 I had all that weight and I caught probably 10 or 11 keepers. I just fished whatever looked right and got into a groove. The problem is that I’m catching fry guarders and they don’t replenish unless I find a new batch. But I’m going to keep looking.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros on Lake Eufaula after day one:
6th: Todd Hollowell of Fishers, Ind., five bass, 18-6
7th: Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 18-4
8th: JT Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 17-13
9th: Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., five bass, 17-12
10th: Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., five bass, 17-3
10th: Tommy Martin of Hemphill, Texas, five bass, 17-3
Martin claimed the 3M ScotchBlue Big Bass Award with a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth.