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Sunday, April 9, 2017
2017 Walmart FLW Tour Lake Cumberland Day 3: Clark Wendlandt Continues to Lead with 50lbs!
Calm day after the big front
by Rob Newell
FLW PRESS RELEASE
As forecasters promised, day three of the FLW Tour event on Lake Cumberland presented by T-H Marine proved to be slick and calm with bright blue skies, throwing FLW Tour pros their third drastic condition change in a row.
Clark widening lead.
The one angler who seems to be most nimble at weaving his way through condition swings this week is Clark Wendlandt, who extended his lead on day three to 3 pounds, 11 ounces over second-place pursuer Scott Martin.
Wendlandt hauled in 14-10 Saturday to bring his three-day total to 50 pounds even.
Lake Cumberland has landed right in Wendlandt’s wheelhouse this week for several reasons.
First, it’s been a long time since FLW has visited Lake Cumberland. It’s a lake with very little searchable tournament history when compared to the Okeechobees, Beavers and Kentucky Lakes of the world.
Second, Lake Cumberland is monstrously large – its vastness for an impoundment is impressive.
Third, Lake Cumberland is a very conditional lake where fish act one way on one day in one condition - and suddenly change everything the next day based on another condition.
And finally, it’s the spring of the year where those condition changes can occur hourly – something that Wendlandt relishes.
“This is a rare opportunity,” Wendlandt says. “In today’s world of multiple tournaments where current information gets piped through the internet at light speed, it’s hard to find a venue where everything is totally new to a majority of the field. And this event is one of those rare situations. So much history floats around about so many of the popular lakes we go to that the better areas are well known and pressure is always being applied. But this one here is a clean slate and I can’t tell you how refreshing that is to me.
“I love just putting the trolling motor down and fishing and exploring and feeling my way down the lake trying to identify the small windows that are opening,” he continues. “It’s weird because I’ve hardly ever fished here, yet I feel so comfortable.”
For the first two days Wendlandt has relied on a pair of suspending jerkbaits as he worked his way in and out of Lake Cumberland’s “hollers,” fishing down one side into the back end where water in-flows and bushes exist, then back up the other side. When going down the sides he fishes a bigger-lipped bait that dives a little deeper to tease fish off the 9 to 11-foot breaks. When in the backs of the coves he switches to a shallow-lipped jerkbait to target shallower bushes or laydowns.
Today, however, Wendlandt made a critical bait change that allowed him to fool three keeper smallmouths later in the day. In all, he had four smallmouth keepers and a largemouth in his limit.
“That’s a perfect example of making small changes every day to keep up with ever-changing conditions,” Wendlandt says. “Getting locked into one particular lure or one particular area can spell doom here. I felt like my jerkbaits were going away and I started rotating through some other lures. Once I figured something else out, it’s like the window opened, and I caught three good smallmouths. And chances are it will completely change again tomorrow and I’ll have to sort of start over in figuring out the new menu for the day. But that’s the part of fishing I really love – figuring it out as you go and you get to do that a lot on this lake this time of year.”
Top 10 pros
1. Clark Wendlandt – Leander, Texas – 50-0 (15)
2. Scott Martin – Clewiston, Fla. – 46-5 (15)
3. Barry Wilson – Birmingham, Ala. – 45-4 (15)
4. Terry Bolton – Paducah, Ky. – 44-15 (15)
5. Casey Scanlon – Lenexa, Kan. – 44-11 (15)
6. Scott Canterbury – Springville, Ala. – 43-7 (15)
7. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Calif. – 43-6 (15)
8. Chris McCall – Palmer, Texas – 43-4 (15)
9. Matt Reed – Madisonville, Texas – 42-14 (15)
10. Anthony Gagliardi – Prosperity, S.C. – 42-6 (15)