HOWELL AFTER 3 - CHAPMAN EARNS AOY - CARD EARNS ROY
Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos and AOY story by Dave Rush
Brewerton, NY – After three days of competition at the final tournament of the 2012 Elite Series season on Oneida Lake, both Brent Chapman and Randy Howell are happy campers – literally.
The two Elite Series pros, who camp next to each other in motor homes at nearly every Elite Series tournament, dominated the headlines on Saturday. Chapman earned the Toyota Tundra Angler Of the Year title, and Howell continued to set a torrid pace on Oneida, increasing his lead in the tournament with just one day remaining.
Chapman mitigated any possibility of a nail biting finish in the Toyota Tundra Angler Of the Year race, finishing the day in 6th place and lifting the trophy in front of the crowd gathered at the New York State Fair where the weigh-in took place. He edged out 2nd place TTAOY finisher, Ott DeFoe, by 14 points.
Howell still has some work to do if he is going to win his first Elite Series tournament tomorrow, but with a limit weighing 15-10 on Saturday to boost his three day total weight to 47-12, he stretched his lead to 2 pounds, 6 ounces over 2nd place finisher Boyd Duckett, who is entrenched in a battle to qualify for the 2013 Classic.
At 11:00 on Saturday, Howell thought that the possibility of notching a victory in the final tournament of the season was slipping from his grasp. “It was a crazy day,” he explained. “I caught one at 11:00, and I only had that one fish by 11:30. The wind was blowing big waves down the middle of the lake where I’d been catching them and the fish never schooled.”
At noon, Howell began to utilize his backup plan that he’d found during practice. “I actually planned for this, thankfully,” he admitted. “A few years ago I dropped from 4th to 26th place on the third day (at Oneida) because I only had four fish. “That was in my mind when I practiced, so I tried to find fish in different areas and different parts of the lake.”
The game plan paid off. Running 15 miles to the other end of the lake, Howell boated four smallmouth in less than two hours. “That saved me and gave me a limit,” he said. In the waning moments of the day, he stopped on an area where he had gotten some bites in practice but was hoping to save for the final day.
“I pulled right up to a way point on a clump of grass that was about a mile offshore, made one flip, and caught a 4 pound largemouth.” The kicker largemouth allowed Howell to cull a pound-and-a-half smallmouth.
“I was so fired up,” he said with a smile. “I felt like Iaconelli – I wanted to head butt the windshield or something. That was the most excited that I think I’ve been in years.”
Howell said that he’s planning on returning to the area on Sunday. “I had six or seven bites there in practice and I haven’t been back, so I’m looking forward to fishing it tomorrow. The main thing is that I just want the wind to lie down. If that happens, my schoolers might come back to life and I might be able to catch 15 or 16 pounds of schooling (smallmouth).”
Firmly in control of his own destiny, Howell hopes that this is the week when he can finally close out his first Elite Series win. “I’ve been right there a bunch of times. Most of the time, I’ve either run out of fish or I didn’t have anything else to go to on the final day. I love how this lake sets up, and I’ve tried to be smarter about the way that I practiced in this tournament.”
2nd Place: Boyd Duckett (14-0, 45-6)
In order to make the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, Alabama’s Boyd Duckett only had two options – win the tournament or finish inside the Top 5 and hope that it was enough points to move up to a qualifying position.
After Saturday, Duckett is in prime position to do both. With a limit weighing 14-0 to boost his three day total weight to 45-6, he sits just over two pounds of the lead with one day remaining.
Each of the first three days, Duckett adopted the “sharing equals caring” motto, splitting one primary area with friends Kelly Jordon and Jeremy Starks, neither of whom made the final day cut. He said that the lack of pressure on his area on Sunday probably won’t make that much of a difference.
“It might put a few more smallmouth in my boat, but realistically, I don’t think that will do much for me,” he explained. “I still have to get a big flippin’ bite if I’m going to win the event. The smallmouth are what has gotten me here, but if I win, it will be because I get one or two (largemouth) bites tomorrow.
Duckett said that he doesn’t have to travel far to target each species. “I’m fishing for smallmouth on the edge of a grass line in the back of the bay and then I’m flipping for largemouth about 75 to 100 yards back in,” he explained.
3rd Place: Scott Rook (14-3, 45-3)
Arkansas’ Scott Rook brought in another solid limit weighing 14-3 to boost his total weight to 45-3 and keep his Classic hopes alive. “My main goal coming into this tournament was to finish high enough to make the Classic,” said Rook. “I’m going to try to focus on that and put trying win out of my mind. If I can stay up in the top three, I’ll make the Classic.”
On Friday, Rook explained that the majority of his bites came just second after his bait hit the water. On Saturday, he divulged that his weapon of choice this week has been a drop shot. “95% of the fish this week have come on the initial drop as the bait hits the water and falls,” he said. “I just pick up on the bait and hold it – I don’t shake it or anything. When I start moving the bait, it will be heavy and I’ll set the hook.”
While leader Randy Howell struggled early on Saturday, Rook said that he boated a quick limit after missing two bites in the opening minutes. Throughout the day, he said that he jumped off three smallmouth that were each over three pounds before finally boating a quality smallmouth in the final five minutes of competition that that he was able to cull up a quarter pound with.
“I thought that I only had about 12 pounds and I ended up having over 14 pounds, so I’m tickled,” concluded Rook.
4th Place: Terry Scroggins (14-7, 44-8)
After nearly identical limits of 15-0 and 15-1 on Thursday and Friday, Terry Scroggins managed another solid limit weighing 14-7 on Saturday to jump into 4th place with one day remaining on Oneida Lake. With a Classic berth already secured and the TTAOY trophy already handed out to Brent Chapman, Scroggins has little to lose on Sunday as he attempts to chase down Howell.
“There were three or four foot swells on the lake this morning, and I’ve been fishing right in the middle of the lake. It’s hard to get your boat positioned right and hold it there long enough to catch one. The wind finally calmed down and I was able to catch a few later this afternoon,” he explained.
Drop shotting hard bottom areas in deep water, the Florida pro said that his primary areas are limited to a specific cast. “I think that the schools have seven or eight fish in them,” he explained. “After I catch one, I’ll give it about five minutes. If I don’t catch another one, I’m out of there.”
On Sunday, he said that he’s committed to the same pattern. “I’m catching a lot of three pound fish, so I’m going to stick with that. I’ve flipped shallow grass in practice and the biggest fish that I’ve caught is about three pounds,” he concluded.
5th Place: Jason Quinn (14-7, 44-4)
Like Rook, Jason Quinn started the week battling for a berth in the 2013 Classic. His 14-7 effort on Saturday put him in 5th place in the tournament and moved him to 30th in the TTAOY standings, all but ensuring a Classic spot.
“I had some missed opportunities today, and I should have had my biggest bag of the week,” said Quinn. “The clouds and wind really hurt my bite because the fish didn’t get the bait very good.” Spending the entire day in one area, Quinn said that he had only seven bites on Saturday.
He said that the lack of bites has everything to do with timing. “The fish are there. It just comes down to when they want to feed. I’m just sitting there and trying to aggravate them into biting.
“Three pounds is a lot here, but with the way that the leader and the other guys are fishing, those fish may not bite and they could have some mishaps. If I have everything go right for me and I catch a big bag, there’s a chance that I could sneak in there,” concluded Quinn.
Brent Chapman - 2012 Toyota Tundra Angler Of the Year
For the last six months Brent Chapman has been answering questions about his chances of winning the Toyota Tundra Angler Of The Year title with the same response. Chapman, who has literally refused to allow himself to think about taking home the coveted AOY title until the job was done, can finally rest easy tonight as the trophy will be returning to his Lake Quivira, Kansas home.
After bringing another five bass limit to the scales on Saturday, Chapman made it mathematically impossible for his closest pursuer, Ott DeFoe, to catch him on Sunday, even though both anglers will be competing on the final day on Oneida Lake. Chapman who weighed his lightest bag of the event so far at 13-7, finds himself in sixth place headed into the final day and could conceivably become the only angler in Elite Series history to ever quadruple qualify for the Bassmaster Classic if he can secure his second victory of the Elite Series season on Sunday.
After punching his ticket to the Classic early in the season at the Lake Lewisville Central Open, Chapman has been the hottest angler on the Bassmaster tour this season leaving no stone unturned as he marched his way to his first AOY title. While other anglers faltered, Chapman logged 4 top ten Elite Series finishes so far this season including a win on Toledo Bend in early June.
“I am just feeling like a huge weight has been lifted off of my back, to achieve what has been a lifetime goal for me, well I’ve never done that before. I was watching the leaderboard while I was backstage waiting and I was still really nervous about winning the Angler Of The Year until they actually handed me the trophy. You know these guys out here have just pushed me to the limit the entire season, and nothing has come easy,” said Chapman.
Attributing some of his success to a newly found physical regiment that has paid huge dividends this season, Chapman is looking forward to finally being able to go out on Sunday and enjoy a day of competition knowing that the AOY title is no longer in question.
“A big thing for me was working out and getting into the best physical condition that I possibly could. I have been following a workout routine this year that has allowed me to fish those 12 to 14 hour practice days and not have as much back and shoulder pain as I have had in the past. Tomorrow is going to be amazing - I am really looking forward to the day. I am going to go out and try to win this thing, you look at the type of bag that Takahiro went out and caught today so anything is possible,” Chapman concluded.
Having locked up a berth to the 2012 Bassmaster Classic before the regular Elite Series season even began is something that gave Chapman a huge amount of momentum and freedom headed into the regular season. “That win was huge for me, it allowed me to take more risks and gamble a lot more and here we are because of it. It got the momentum and the flow going and I had nothing to lose and everything to gain,” concluded Chapman.
Brandon Card – 2012 Rookie Of the Year
Entering the week at Oneida Lake with a 30 point lead in the Rookie Of the Year race, Brandon Card knew that any finish inside the top 30 would ensure that the ROY trophy would be riding shotgun on the trip back to his Tennessee home.
He got off to a respectable start, bringing a limit weighing 13-2 to the scales on Thursday but faltered on Friday, weighing just four fish for 9-13. Card finished the week in 59th place, and was forced to watch his closest pursuer in the ROY race, Cliff Prince, fish on Saturday with the chance to overtake him in the final tournament of the season.
It wasn’t to be, as Prince managed just two fish on Saturday to finish in 49th - 20 points behind Card in the final TTOAY and ROY standings.
“It was weird not fishing today,” said Card. “I really left the door open for Cliff (Prince), but I really tried not to sweat it too much.”
Card said that it wasn’t until his 9th place finish at Douglas Lake, the fourth stop of the season, that he began entertaining thoughts of taking home the Rookie Of the Year trophy. “That’s when I moved into the top 10 in the AOY race,” said Card. “I really struggled at the end of the year when we came up north, so that’s something that I definitely need to work on in the future.”
DAY 3 STANDINGS
|Place||Name||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Total Fish||Total Weight|
|1||Randy Howell||5||15-12||5||16- 6||5||15-10||15||47-12|
|2||Boyd Duckett||5||13-11||5||17-11||5||14- 0||15||45- 6|
|3||Scott Rook||5||15- 7||5||15- 9||5||14- 3||15||45- 3|
|4||Terry Scroggins||5||15- 0||5||15- 1||5||14- 7||15||44- 8|
|5||Jason Quinn||5||13- 2||5||16-11||5||14- 7||15||44- 4|
|6||Brent Chapman||5||16-12||5||13-12||5||13- 7||15||43-15|
|7||Ott DeFoe||5||12- 5||5||15- 5||5||15-13||15||43- 7|
|8||Fletcher Shryock||5||14- 6||5||13- 9||5||15- 8||15||43- 7|
|9||Nate Wellman||5||12- 8||5||17- 1||5||13-13||15||43- 6|
|10||Takahiro Omori||5||12- 8||5||11-15||5||18-13||15||43- 4|
|11||John Crews||5||12-11||5||15- 6||5||15- 0||15||43- 1|
|12||Bernie Schultz||5||14-13||5||12- 2||5||15- 7||15||42- 6|
|13||Jared Lintner||5||12-14||5||15- 8||5||13- 1||15||41- 7|
|14||Matthew Herren||5||14-14||5||15- 2||5||11- 3||15||41- 3|
|15||Kevin VanDam||5||12- 8||5||14- 8||5||13-14||15||40-14|
|16||Edwin Evers||5||15- 5||5||11-10||5||13-14||15||40-13|
|17||Tommy Biffle||5||14-10||5||16- 4||4||9-13||14||40-11|
|18||Skeet Reese||5||13-13||5||12-12||5||13-10||15||40- 3|
|19||Matt Greenblatt||5||12- 9||5||14- 0||5||13- 7||15||40- 0|
|20||Kelly Jordon||5||14- 4||5||12-13||5||12- 8||15||39- 9|
|21||Bobby Lane||5||15- 3||5||11-13||5||11-15||15||38-15|
|22||Rick Morris||5||12-15||5||12- 9||5||13- 7||15||38-15|
|23||Jami Fralick||5||15- 7||5||11- 2||5||12- 3||15||38-12|
|24||James Niggemeyer||5||15- 0||5||12- 4||5||11- 3||15||38- 7|
|25||Marty Robinson||5||12-13||5||13- 2||5||12- 6||15||38- 5|
|26||Mark Davis||5||11- 6||5||13- 3||5||13-11||15||38- 4|
|27||Ish Monroe||5||15- 4||4||11-10||4||10-13||13||37-11|
|28||Aaron Martens||5||13-11||5||14-14||4||8-11||14||37- 4|
|29||Todd Faircloth||5||14- 5||5||14- 9||5||8- 4||15||37- 2|
|30||Yusuke Miyazaki||5||13- 4||5||13- 2||5||10- 9||15||36-15|
|31||Jason Williamson||5||15- 8||5||12-10||5||8-11||15||36-13|
|32||Brandon Palaniuk||5||14- 7||5||15-12||3||6- 4||13||36- 7|
|33||Cliff Pace||5||13-10||5||12-13||4||9-15||14||36- 6|
|34||Gerald Swindle||5||11-11||5||13-13||5||10- 6||15||35-14|
|36||Mike McClelland||5||14- 6||5||13-11||3||7-10||13||35-11|
|37||Travis Manson||5||11-12||5||14- 6||4||8- 8||14||34-10|
|38||Jeremy Starks||5||13- 8||5||14- 6||3||6-12||13||34-10|
|39||Mike Iaconelli||5||20- 3||5||10- 6||2||4- 0||12||34- 9|
|40||Brian Snowden||5||11-14||5||12-10||4||9- 7||14||33-15|
|41||Matt Reed||5||11- 5||5||12-13||5||9-10||15||33-12|
|42||Chris Lane||5||13-10||5||12- 4||4||7- 8||14||33- 6|
|43||Russell Lane||5||11-10||5||16- 0||3||4-12||13||32- 6|
|44||Clark Reehm||5||15-15||5||13-11||1||2-12||11||32- 6|
|45||Cliff Crochet||5||13- 7||5||12-11||3||6- 2||13||32- 4|
|46||Kevin Short||5||15- 2||5||9-14||3||6-13||13||31-13|
|47||Stephen Browning||5||13- 9||5||11- 7||4||5-15||14||30-15|
|48||Morizo Shimizu||5||13- 4||5||11-15||2||4-14||12||30- 1|
|49||Cliff Prince||5||13- 4||5||11-13||2||4-12||12||29-13|