Sunday, March 20, 2016

2016 Walmart FLW Lake Hartwell Day 3: Clark Wendlandt Widens Lead.

Cory Johnston and Jeff Gustafson make Top 10!
by Rob Newell
Amazingly, the good weather streak at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau on Lake Hartwell defied all odds today by proving weather forecasters wrong. What was supposed to be a 70 percent chance of rain with cooling temperatures today actually turned out to be a decent fishing day. Now, granted, the weather was not as nice as it has been the last two days, but it was certainly good enough to sight-fish and that’s all the leaders really cared about.
Wendlandt hugging banks and bed fishing.
(Photo: FLW)
For the third day in a row, there was a lead change. This time Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, has grabbed the pole position. Wendlandt, who is no stranger to winning FLW Tour events with his eyes, sacked up 19 pounds, 9 ounces on day three and now holds a 1 pound, 5 ounce lead going into the final day with 52 pounds, 9 ounces total.
Wendlandt is a brilliant strategist when it comes to the sight fishing game. He has a knack for staying with waves of bass that move shallow throughout a whole lake. He has done it several times for sight fishing wins on Beaver Lake and Lake Murray and he is at it again on Hartwell.
“I really made a gamble here and it paid off today,” Wendlandt says. “I kind of bet on an area of this lake that was pretty dead in practice to come to me during the tournament and it worked. I found some new fish yesterday and today in areas where no fish were moved up during the practice period.”
Wendlandt got out of the blocks solidly this morning by catching a 2-1/2-pound male and a 3-1/2-pound female off the same bed this morning.
“Anytime you can start the day with 6 or 7 pounds off one bed on this lake, it’s good thing,” Wendlandt adds. “I caught the male immediately, but then missed the female several times. I worked on her for about 45 minutes and finally caught her. After that I fished the day relaxed, knowing I had a great start.”
Wendlandt then went on to catch more fish he had found and banked yesterday as well as new ones he found today.
In all, he weighed in four sight fish and one he caught just fishing. Two of his weigh-in fish were spotted bass.
His day was not without hardships, however. He lost a 6-pounder that wrapped around a dock ladder. He knows the size of the fish because it came up and surfaced on the other side of the dock after getting hung up. Once she had him wrapped, she wiggled free.
Also Wendlandt noted that his fishing went downhill considerably after 1 o’clock, which is when the cloud cover rolled in.
He did say he has six or seven fish found for tomorrow and now it’s a waiting game of hoping they stick around for a ride to weigh-in tomorrow. 
Top 10 pros
1. Clark Wendlandt – Leander, Texas – 52-9 (15)
2. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 51-4 (15)
3. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 47-1 (15)
4. Larry Nixon – Bee Branch, Ark. – 46-7 (15)
5. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 46-4 (15)
6. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ontario – 45-5 (15)
7. Powell Kemp – Scotland Neck, N.C. – 45-5 (15)
8. Jeff Gustafson – Keewatin, Ontario – 45-3 (15)
9. Peter Thliveros – Saint Augustine, Fla. – 44-14 (15)

10. Jamie Horton – Centerville, Ala. – 44-13 (15)

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