DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

CINCO de MYERS

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 05/05/2012

Story by Matt Pangrac and Dave Rush - Photos by Dave Rush

Dandridge, TN – After three days of competition at the fourth Elite Series tournament of the season on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake, South Carolina’s Britt Myers is sitting just one place higher in the standings than he was after Day Three on Bull Shoals just two weeks ago. 

That being said, a single place in the standings can make a world of difference.  At Bull Shoals, Myers finished Day Three in 2nd Place, nearly 13-pounds behind leader Brandon Palaniuk with one day remaining.  This week at Douglas, it’s Myers who will enter the final day of competition in 1st Place with his nearest competitor, Jeremy Starks, nearly 6-pounds behind. 

Britt Myers

On a day that started with a severe storm sweeping across the east Tennessee fishery, Myers backed up his 21-1 limit on Day One and 24-1 limit on Day Two with another 19-8 limit, boosting his three day total weight to an impressive 64-10.  Although it was his lightest effort of the week, he stretched his lead from 3-14 to 5-13, and is on the cusp of the first Elite Series victory of his career. 

On Friday, Myers said that he caught a small limit of fish early in the morning but found the quality as the day progressed.  On Saturday, he explained that the quality bites started right off the bat.  “I caught a lot of fish early and didn’t catch many late in the day,” he said.  “It was just another magical day.  I probably caught about 15 fish, and almost all of my fish were 4-pound clones.”

Making an estimated 50 stops throughout the course of the competition day, Myers said that he worked several new areas into his rounds on Saturday.  “I had a lot more water to fish today, so I hit a lot more areas,” he explained. “I did see some key players on some of the good stuff, so that makes me a little nervous.”

After voicing concerns over how the spectator traffic would affect his water on Saturday, Myers said that he was pleasantly surprised with the upwards of 25 boats that followed him over the course of his day. “The spectators were just awesome,” he said. “They never once got in the way or ran near me.  It was incredible.”

On championship Sunday, Myers said that he plans on continuing his run and gun approach.  “That’s just my style of fishing.  I haven’t had much luck sitting on a spot for an hour or anything like that.  This morning was the first time that I did that, but I was catching quite a few. I know that I’ll have to move around tomorrow.” 

With an Elite Series victory in sight, Myers said that he’s not surprised to find himself in the position that he’s in, but realizes that his efforts over the past three days could be negated by a less than stellar performance on Sunday.  “Mentally, when you start every tournament you have to think that you’ve got a shot to win,” he explained. “Coming here, I thought that I’d have shot, but I didn’t know that it would actually happen.  Everything is going good and I do have a decent lead, but this isn’t like the last lake (Bull Shoals) where everyone is catching the same weights.  I could stumble and have a 10- or 11-pound day and Jeremy Starks could have a 20-pound day and win the tournament.”

Myers said that the biggest factor on Sunday will be keying in on the bigger bites that’s he has capitalized on throughout the tournament.  He believes that the expected cloud cover on Sunday morning could play to his advantage, “Anytime you have cloud cover, the fish just bite better unless it’s just a massive front. I fished through the storm this morning, and I felt like I was one of the guys on the crab boats.  I was literally making casts from my knees because I couldn’t stand up.”

2nd Place: Jeremy Starks (58-13)
West Virginia’s Jeremy Starks was the first Elite Series angler to return to the dock on Saturday, and he is hoping to be the last to leave the stage on Sunday, as he has his sights set on raising his second blue trophy.  Starks, who weighed in 19-11 on Day Three to finish in 2nd Place, is well within striking distance of leader Britt Meyers with eight hours of fishing left.   

Having supreme confidence in his areas and techniques, Starks said that he’s feeling good about his chances on Sunday at Douglas Lake.  “I really feel like the spot I am on will produce a 25-pound bag for me.  I had that hooked today, but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities.  Tomorrow, I don’t have to let up on my fish, so I can just go pound on it and not have to leave anything.  It’s fishing, so they could all be gone, or I could go in there and catch 30-pounds, so we will just see what happens,” said Starks.

Jeremy Starks

With several key areas and schools of fish to choose from, Starks feels like he has given himself enough options to make a legitimate run at the title come Sunday.  “I’ve got a couple of spots in my pocket that other guys have been fishing, but I have been able to re-locate some of the schools after they have broken up.  I was able to pull up on some stuff today after other guys had fished it and catch some quality fish.  I think I am fishing the spots a little bit different than the majority of the other anglers,” Starks said.

Using his electronics has been the key to Starks success so far this week.  In fact, he has been so dialed in on the schools, that he is actually hitting numerous fish with his lure that he isn’t able to catch.  “I know this sounds crazy, but I told my partner today that I was rolling over some backs with my bait.  I could reel in my bait and see the slime on the line where I had come over a fish.  Sometimes you must just hit them just right and it triggers them to bite.  It is incredible how many fish are in the areas I am fishing.  I’m having a great time, and am looking forward to getting back after it tomorrow,” Starks concluded.

3rd Place: Aaron Martens (57-12)
Even though he has maintained a position in the top three at the end of each day of the Douglas Lake Challenge, Alabama’s Aaron Martens has slowly dropped since leading the opening round with a limit weighing 23-14.  On Friday, he slipped to 2nd after bagging a 17-6 limit, and on Saturday, he fell to 3rd after managing a limit for 16-8 to bring his three day total weight to 57-12.
 
“I’m declining,” said a frustrated Martens behind the weigh-in stage on Saturday afternoon.  “One of the main reasons is that I can’t get on my good, consistent spots.” Sharing water with several other tournament contenders, Martens said that there just aren’t enough quality spots to go around.

Aaron Martens

“There’s a key spot where you can catch 16- to 18-pounds pretty quickly and then go hunt for big fish, and I wasn’t able to get on it this morning.  When I went back there this afternoon, there was another angler on it who hadn’t been there all week, and he really tried to hold me way off of the spot.”
 
Unable to find the multiple kicker bites that propelled him to the lead on Thursday, Martens said that his success has a lot to do with specific areas.  “I’m still catching a lot of fish, but you’ve got to be on certain spots to get the big bites. There are other spots with tons of big fish, but you just can’t catch them.”
 
With a limit by 9:30, Martens said that he culled for ounces throughout the day. “My smallest fish was around 3-pounds and my biggest ones were around 3 ½.” He stated.

Sitting less than 7-pounds behind Myers heading into the final day, Martens said that his success on Sunday will depend on his ability to access some of his key locations.  “I just need to get back on them somehow,” he said.  “Most of us are all doing the same thing, and my best bites are coming on really long casts. I actually had to put more line on my spool because I didn’t know that I could cast that far.” 

Martens divulged that a big part of his success this week has revolved around reaching a “magical depth” with his bait.  “The bait has to get down to the school,” he explained.  “When practice started, the schools were really tightly grouped.  Now, it seems like there are only three or four fish in pods that are scattered.  You actually have to try and get a bait in a five foot area that’s 40-feet deep.”

4th Place: Andy Montgomery (56-5)
After four anglers crossed the stage on Thursday with limits surpassing the 20-pound mark and three limits reaching 20-pounds hit the scales on Friday, Andy Montgomery was the only competitor on Saturday to break 20-pounds.  With 22-6, he finished the day in 4th Place with a three day total weight of 56-5. 

Had it not been for a sub-par 12-14 limit on Friday, which was the result of two lost kickers and an inability to fish his primary water due to cramped quarters, Montgomery would be challenging Myers for the lead heading into Sunday. 

Andy Montgomery

“It was a lot easier today with 50 less boats out there.  I was able to move around a lot and I hit a couple of schools at the right time, just like I did on the first day.  It was a lot of fun out there being able to move around.”

The fact that Montgomery only caught “eight or nine” keepers on Saturday didn’t concern the South Carolina pro heading into the final day. “With as deep as I’m fishing, when you catch one out there it’s usually a big one.  I know that I’m not going to get a lot of bites, so I’m not stressing over it. I know that all I have to do is hit one school and I’ll catch them in a hurry.” 

The fact that he’s catching quality fish off of areas that have received constant pressure from other anglers who haven’t had the same success is a fact that is somewhat perplexing to Montgomery.  “I don’t know why I’m catching the better ones.  I’m really not sure what the other guys have been doing, so it is hard to say.  I may be fishing a little bit deeper, but I definitely have a lot of confidence in what I’m doing.”

5th Place: Dean Rojas (56-4)
Coming off a massive day two limit of 22-0, Arizona pro Dean Rojas was looking to follow up his stellar performance with more of the same on Day Three at Douglas Lake.  When the scales settled on Saturday, Rojas had fished his way into his second top 12 of 2012, with another solid bag of 17-13. 

Headed into the final day sitting in 5th place, Rojas has been relying on the morning bite to do much of his damage this week on the Smokey Mountain fishery.  “Today went pretty much as I thought it would.  My fish have been feeding really well in the morning, so I was able to catch a decent limit pretty quick.  Later in the day I upgraded a little, but I am really relying on the morning bite to catch a big bag,” said Rojas.

Dean Rojas

With a lot of ground to make up on tournament leader Britt Meyers, Rojas is optimistic about his chances as the final day approaches.  “I think you can absolutely make up ground on this lake tomorrow.  Lots of things can happen, and I believe in myself and my abilities.  You have to believe it can happen.  Tomorrow I am just going to go out there and burn it up and catch the biggest bag I can and see where that lands me,” Rojas said.

Regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, after missing two consecutive cuts, Rojas is pleased with how the week has panned out.  “After missing the cut at Okeechobee and Bull Shoals, this week has been a great confidence booster to get me back on the right track headed to Toledo Bend.  I have a few good areas and productive patterns working, and I am looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and mixing it up on the final day,” Rojas concluded.

 


DAY 3 STANDINGS 

PLACE PRO ANGLER Day 1Day 2Day 3 Total Fish Total Weight
FishWeightFishWeightFishWeight
1 Britt Myers 5 21- 1 5 24- 1 5 19- 8 15 64-10
2 Jeremy Starks 5 16- 1 5 23- 1 5 19-11 15 58-13
3 Aaron Martens 5 23-14 5 17- 6 5 16- 8 15 57-12
4 Andy Montgomery 5 21- 1 5 12-14 5 22- 6 15 56- 5
5 Dean Rojas 5 16- 7 5 22- 0 5 17-13 15 56- 4
6 Ott DeFoe 5 14-14 5 18-13 5 19-12 15 53- 7
7 Randy Howell 5 16- 1 5 13- 9 5 19-15 15 49- 9
8 Jeff Kriet 5 17-15 5 16- 0 5 14-11 15 48-10
9 Brandon Card 5 16- 1 5 17- 0 5 15- 7 15 48- 8
10 Mike McClelland 5 16- 4 5 16- 0 5 15- 1 15 47- 5
11 Jamie Horton 5 15-14 5 12- 9 5 14-12 15 43- 3
12 Mark Davis 5 13-12 5 14- 5 5 15- 1 15 43- 2
13 Matt Reed 5 21-14 5 9- 7 5 11-11 15 43- 0
14 Marty Robinson 5 16- 0 5 12- 0 5 14-13 15 42-13
15 Cliff Pace 5 14-12 5 15- 2 5 12- 9 15 42- 7
16 Kyle Fox 5 12- 0 5 14-11 5 15- 7 15 42- 2
17 Kelly Jordon 5 12-13 5 15- 6 5 13-15 15 42- 2
18 Yusuke Miyazaki 5 15-12 5 12- 7 5 13-14 15 42- 1
19 Rick Clunn 5 14- 1 5 13-15 5 13-15 15 41-15
20 Nate Wellman 5 15- 1 5 12-14 5 13-11 15 41-10
21 Terry Scroggins 5 12- 4 5 12- 0 5 17- 6 15 41-10
22 Jason Williamson 5 10-10 5 13- 5 5 17- 2 15 41- 1
23 Greg Hackney 5 14- 5 5 14- 9 5 12- 2 15 41- 0
24 David Walker 5 10- 1 5 16- 4 5 14- 5 15 40-10
25 Matt Greenblatt 5 17- 9 5 12- 7 5 10- 7 15 40- 7
26 Alton Jones 5 11- 9 5 15- 1 5 13-10 15 40- 4
27 Todd Faircloth 5 15-12 5 11-15 5 12- 6 15 40- 1
28 Matthew Herren 5 16- 7 5 11- 5 5 11- 8 15 39- 4
29 Chris Lane 5 13- 3 5 10-11 5 15- 1 15 38-15
30 Cliff Prince 5 16- 9 5 11- 1 5 10-15 15 38- 9
31 Bobby Lane 5 14- 8 5 13- 6 5 10-11 15 38- 9
32 Bill Lowen 5 12- 1 5 13- 0 5 13- 8 15 38- 9
33 Gerald Swindle 5 13- 1 5 10- 4 5 15- 3 15 38- 8
34 Jared Lintner 5 13-11 5 9-13 5 15- 0 15 38- 8
35 Shaw E Grigsby 5 16- 2 5 11- 5 5 10-12 15 38- 3
36 Jonathon VanDam 5 11-13 5 16-15 5 8-10 15 37- 6
37 Terry Butcher 5 13- 2 5 13- 3 5 10-12 15 37- 1
38 Davy Hite 5 10-13 5 13- 5 5 12-14 15 37- 0
39 Stephen Kennedy 5 14- 5 5 11- 5 5 11- 2 15 36-12
40 Fletcher Shryock 5 13- 4 5 13- 5 5 10- 3 15 36-12
41 Kevin VanDam 5 11- 2 5 14- 7 5 10-14 15 36- 7
42 Pete Ponds 5 12-13 5 12- 7 5 11- 0 15 36- 4
43 Kenyon Hill 5 11-15 5 12-14 5 11- 0 15 35-13
44 Billy McCaghren 5 13- 4 5 11-12 5 10-12 15 35-12
45 John Crews 5 11- 6 5 12- 0 5 12- 5 15 35-11
46 Mark Menendez 5 12- 3 5 13- 3 5 10- 2 15 35- 8
47 Bradley Roy 5 11-14 5 12- 4 5 11- 6 15 35- 8
48 J Todd Tucker 5 11- 5 5 14- 7 5 9-10 15 35- 6
49 Boyd Duckett 5 12- 6 5 11- 2 5 10- 1 15 33- 9
50 Charlie Hartley 5 12- 8 5 11-10 5 8-10 15 32-12