Sunday, May 6, 2018

2018 Bassmaster Elite Kentucky Lake Day 2: Skeet Reese Leads with 45-05lbs!

Swimbaits keep to top anglers 
David A. Brown
Squarebill and swimbaits key for Skeet.
(Photo: BASS)

When Bassmaster tournament emcee Dave Mercer noted that Skeet Reese was “making it look easy” during the morning’s Bassmaster LIVE coverage, the veteran pro gave a simple explanation for the seemingly tranquil performance that pushed him into the lead with 45 pounds, 5 ounces on Day 2 of the Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Kentucky Lake presented by Abu Garcia.
“It’s easy when you have 20 pounds in the boat,” Reese said.
Indeed, the Auburn, Calif., Elite angler got the party started early and quickly added 21-10 to his 23-11 from yesterday. Noting that he was more dialed in on his pattern today, Reese had his limit by 8 a.m. and had caught his day’s weight by about 10.
This early productivity bore consistent with the morning shad spawn that had bass rallying around key areas awash with reproducing baitfish.
“The shad spawn was everything,” Reese said. “They’re feeding for the first four hours of the day, but the last two days we’ve had cloud cover, which probably extended the bite.”
Reese caught his fish on a mix that included a jerkbait, swimbait and squarebill crankbait. The latter did most of the work, but presentations had to be specific.
“The whole key is getting the bait to deflect,” Reese said. “If your bait’s not deflecting off the bottom, for the most part, you’re not getting the bites. The key is triggering these fish. It’s typical postspawn.”

Once his morning action subsided, Reese struggled the rest of the day. With clearer conditions and more sun in tomorrow’s forecast, he’s contemplating his options.
“I definitely have to change how I fish in the afternoons because I pretty much drove the suck bus the last two afternoons,” Reese said.
Reese said he fished a lot of new water today. Not everything produced, but he found himself in a position to experiment, so he took advantage of the opportunity.
“I was fortunate to have a good bag in the boat early. That allowed me to ‘prefish’ and fine-tune something and find that one little sweet spot,” Reese said. “Obviously, I found one sweet spot yesterday where I hooked four or five fish and I hooked four there today. If there’s one spot like that, there’s definitely a lot more like that out there.
“I don’t know if I was fishing good water or bad water, but I could have fished some amazing stuff in the afternoon that, even though I didn’t get a bite, maybe they’re chewing in the morning.”
Bassmaster LIVE, the innovative live-stream coverage of on-the-water fishing action pioneered by B.A.S.S., documented a Skeet Reese highlight reel moment when he snatched opportunity from the jaws of disaster after hooking a 6-pounder on a jerkbait and tangling his kill-switch cord around his reel handle. Calmly managing the moment, Reese unwrapped the cord and reeled the fish boatside for a clean catch.
“What a train wreck; I couldn’t make another turn on the reel handle,” Reese lamented. “When you have a 5 1/2-pounder jumping in front of you and you can’t turn the reel handle, it’s like ugh!
“I’m glad I made it look smooth, because internally, I was a wreck.”
Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark., made a big second-round improvement by sacking up a limit that weighed 22-11 and moved him up from 27th place to second with a total weight of 40-10. Today’s calm conditions initially hindered Roumbanis, but a gutsy call to abandon a limit strategy and stick with his big-fish bait helped him overcome an early roadblock and hammer out an impressive day.
“I felt like I needed the wind to make my swimbait bite work,” he said. “I’m throwing my signature Boom Boom Swimbait, and I came across a certain little deal and caught what I caught.
“When I picked up a spinning rod with a shaky head and caught two keepers, I relaxed a little bit. But this is Kentucky Lake, so I put that down and picked up the swimbait and said ‘Let’s do this.’ It’s a confidence thing when I’m throwing a swimbait. I know I’m fishing for the right bites.”
Roumbanis said he identified the right areas by studying his Garmin Panoptix imaging and interpreting what he saw.
“If you look at bait and then you see bigger blobs, those are probably bass; if you don’t see bait and you see a lot of blobs, they’re probably carp,” he said. “I’m using the bait to distinguish what I’m looking at.”
In third place, Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Fla., rose from 11th place on Friday to third, just 1 ounce behind Roumbanis. His 20-13 limit of five bass gives him a two-day total of 40-9. Grigsby caught all of his bass by sight fishing with soft plastics. His second-round catch included a 7-11 that leads the $1,500 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award.
Rounding out the Top 5 are Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., with 39-12 and Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., with 39-2.
Takeoff Sunday morning will be at 6 a.m. CT out of Paris Landing Marina, and weigh-ins are scheduled at Paris Landing State Park beginning at 3:15 p.m.

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