Cory Johnston 13th, Gustafson 28th & Chris Johnston 34th
By Bryan Brasher
BASS PRESS RELEASE
Logan scratched his way to the top
hitting grass mats.
The good news for Wes Logan is that he’s leading the NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville heading into Championship Saturday.
The bad news is he says he’s fresh out of ideas.
The rookie from Springville, Ala., caught five bass that weighed 16 pounds, 2 ounces during Friday’s semifinal round, pushing his three-day total to 49-0 and giving him little more than a 1-pound lead.
As for what Saturday holds? He couldn’t say.
“I think my area is shot,” Logan said after making his first career Elite Series Top 10. “I think the pressure finally got to it. There were a bunch of local boats on it today, and I think they beat it up pretty good.
“If I’m gonna win, I’m gonna have to find something else.”
As tough as Friday may have been for Logan, his catch of 16-2 was the second-largest of the day behind Texas pro Randy Sullivan, who caught 17-15 to move into second place.
Logan has spent most of the tournament flipping grass mats with a 1 1/2-ounce Ark Tungsten weight, a 4/0 straight-shank hook and a rotation of soft plastics that includes a Zoom Z Craw, a Zoom Z Craw Jr. and a beaver-style bait — all in black and blue.
After exhausting the stretch of water that has been so good to him this week, he ran a new 300-yard stretch Thursday, landing a 4-pounder and losing a bass he estimated to be more than 5 pounds.
That will likely be his starting point Saturday.
“There might be a few more fish through there,” Logan said. “I’ll probably just settle down on that stretch tomorrow and see what I can make happen. If I get a bite there at all, it might be a good one.
“I haven’t seen too many boats fishing there, but right now I just don’t know. With the way everyone is packed in together, if I can get five more bites of any description I’ll be happy.”
Logan knows he doesn’t have much margin for error with all of the remaining Top 10 anglers within 5 1/2 pounds of him. Sullivan, who caught 18-8 on Day 1 and then slipped a bit with 11-7 on Day 2, poses the most immediate threat to the leader after rebounding with his big bag on Friday.
Like much of the field this week, Sullivan lamented the half-hearted way the bass seem to be biting — and he said it may have cost him a chance at an even bigger limit with a crankbait Friday.
“I missed a couple of giant ones that would have probably given me 20 pounds,” he said. “The fish are reloading in the areas I’m fishing, but every single fish I have caught was barely hooked.
“I’ve tried every variety, every color and everything else, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. It’s nerve-racking every time you set the hook.”
Behind Logan and Sullivan are five anglers within 2 pounds of one another, including Luke Palmer in third place with 47-4. The Oklahoma pro caught 15-14 Friday to make his second Elite Series Top 10.
Palmer has openly said all week that it’s been hard to actually get bass in the boat after setting the hook. He agreed that tentative strikes may be at least partly to blame.
“I lost a 4-pounder on topwater this morning and threw that same bait up a little further and lost one about 3 pounds,” he said. “I was a nervous wreck all day because of stuff like that, and it’s been that way all week.
“I watched those two fish this morning come up on that topwater bait and literally just hit it with their mouth closed. They’re just not eating it. I don’t know if it’s the weather or what.”
Texas pro Chris Zaldain caught 13-10 Friday and failed to make the Top 10 cut, finishing in 22nd place with 39-0. But he held onto the lead in the race for Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week with the 8-6 largemouth he caught during Wednesday’s opening round.
The Top 10 remaining anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. CT Saturday from Goose Pond Colony Resort Marina, with the weigh-in set for 2:30 p.m. back at Goose Pond. The winner will earn $100,000.
Live coverage of the event will be available starting at 7 a.m. on Bassmaster LIVE at Bassmaster.com and ESPN3.
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