HOWELL LEADS ONEIDA - CHAPMAN SLAMMING THE DOOR
Story and photos by Matt Pangrac and Dave Rush
Brewerton, NY – By the conclusion of the first day of competition in the final Elite Series tournament of the 2012 season, it was apparent that the predictions of overall lower weights and a tough bite didn’t prove to be accurate. Mike Iaconelli led the charge, breaking the 20 pound mark with an impressive 21-3 limit, and 15 anglers crossed the stage with at least 15 pounds.
On Friday, the overall weights dropped, but the torrid pace at the top of the leader board continued. Alabama’s Randy Howell led the charge, backing up his 15-12 day one effort with another 16-6 limit on Friday to take a lead of 12 ounces into the weekend.
“There was a whole lot of grass floating over my areas this morning, and I couldn’t fish the areas effectively,” said Howell. “You’d get grass on every cast.” Abandoning his primary area from day one, Howell said that the bite immediately picked up at his second stop.
“Two or three times today I had schools of three to four pound smallmouth chase my bait back to the boat,” he explained. “The fish that I’m fishing for are chasing shad and following baitfish. As long as they keep eating the shad every day and I find them, I’ll be OK.”
Howell said that the majority of the smallmouth that he’s targeting are over three pounds. “I did cull a couple times, but for the most part, the first five that you catch are the five that you weigh in. I did go flip a little today and culled out a 3-2 smallmouth with a 3-3 largemouth - every once is going to count.”
He stated that the key to his success this week has been timing. “Most of (the other guys) have been coming and going at the wrong time, but I’ve been able to time it right. From about 8:45 today until about 10:45, the bite was good. It was pretty intense for that little feeding period.”
2nd Place: Boyd Duckett (17-11, 31-6)
Alabama’s Boyd Duckett kept his 2013 Classic hopes alive on Friday with the heaviest limit of the day - a mixed bag of two largemouth and three smallmouth weighing an impressive 17-11. With a total weight of 31-6, the 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion jumped up to 2nd place in the standings with a total weight of 31-6.
Duckett, who is sharing his primary area with Kelly Jordon and Jeremy Starks, said that it’s been an interesting two days on Oneida Lake. “We’re all friends, and we all went straight to the spot on the first morning,” he explained. “There are no borders or anything. If (the bass) come up, we all run to them. We’re fishing really close together. We’re casting on top of each other and everything, but it’s been great for two days.”
Duckett said that one key to his success this week has been the fact that the area is holding both largemouth and smallmouth. On Friday, he brought in the biggest bass of the day, a 5-1 largemouth. “You can move in shallower to fish for the largemouth or you can move out deeper to fish for the smallmouth - its’ a pretty neat area.”
Knowing the he needs either a top five finish or a win to qualify for the Classic, Duckett said that he opted to bank on what he described as a “high risk area.” The decision has paid off. “It turns out that the area has a lot more fish in it than I thought it did,” he admitted. “You can’t really tell in practice, because we don’t catch them then.”
3rd Place: Scott Rook (15-9, 31-0)
Arkansas’ Scott Rook remained remarkably consistent on Oneida Lake on Friday, bringing in another limit surpassing the 15 pound mark to climb into the top three heading into the weekend. With a limit weighing 15-9, Rook boosted this two day total weight to an even 31 pounds and sits just over a pound behind leader Randy Howell.
“Yesterday started out really slow and I had a good afternoon,” he explained. “Today was just the opposite. I had a limit by probably about 8:30 and caught two really nice ones early. This afternoon, I had a four hour period where I only got four bites, but I culled with every single fish.”
Rook said that even though the bites dwindled in his primary area as the day progressed, he believes that there are still quality fish there. “Every time that I’d reel one in, there would be another one following it to the boat,” he explained. Rook said that he caught 13 keepers on Thursday and again boated 13 keepers on Friday.
Although he didn’t divulge his primary bait, he did say that the majority of his bites were coming just seconds after the bait hits the water. “I think that they’re attracted to the splash,” he said. “I might as well just reel in after the initial fall, because I don’t get any bites reeling it in.”
4th Place: Tommy Biffle (16-4, 30-14)
After a 16-4 effort on Friday, Oklahoma’s Tommy Biffle is again in contention on the New York fishery where he notched an Elite Series win back in 2006. Entering the week as a bubble boy to make the Classic, Biffle all but secured his invitation to Grand Lake next February.
Interestingly, it has been the smallmouth that has anchored Biffle’s limits each of the first two days. Friday was actually the first time that he’d caught a largemouth this week. “I looked for largemouth in practice and I didn’t think that the quality was up there like it has been in years past,” he explained.
After a solid limit of brown fish on Thursday, Biffle said that Friday got off to a terrible start. “I ran three or four places and never caught a fish. That’s when I started flipping and I caught a 4 pounder and another largemouth in really shallow water. I actually was torn between fishing for largemouth or smallmouth.
“I decided around 11:00 or 11:30 that I was just going to smallmouth fish, because I’ve been catching 3 pound smallmouth. Today, I probably spent 70% of the day fishing for smallmouth,” Biffle continued. He said that this week marks the first time in his career that he has decided to fish for smallmouth on a fishery that offers both largemouth and smallmouth.
For Saturday, Biffle said that his goal is to remain as high as he can in the overall standings to ensure a berth in the Classic. “Winning would just be icing on the cake,” he concluded.
5th Place: Mike Iaconelli (10-6, 30-9)
After leading the first day with a limit weighing 20-3, New Jersey’s Mike Iaconelli was greeted with a very different result on Friday. At noon, Iaconelli hadn’t boated a single keeper. “I knew that if I didn’t catch them, I wouldn’t make the cut and I probably wouldn’t make the Classic,” said Iaconelli.
“I went into emergency mode and went and fished some new water. I got on the bank, put the trolling motor on high, and threw a little finesse worm. In about three hours, I put together a limit for about 10 pounds,” said Iaconelli.
Weighing in a limit of smallmouth that weighed 10-6, Iaconelli slipped to 5th place but remained in the hunt with a total weight of 30-9. “I ended up salvaging the day,” he said. “I have to go back and retool tonight because I have to catch about 15-pounds (tomorrow) to be in contention to win.
“Today was disappointing to a certain extent, but I’m still right there,” he continued. Iaconelli said that the east wind hurt the morning bite. “You know that old saying that the fish bite the least when the wind is out of the east? Well, it’s super true. I’d bet that everyone had a better late bite when the wind died down.”
6th Place Brent Chapman (30-8)
Holding the lead in the TTAOY race headed into day three of the final event of the season is a position any elite series angler would envy. Kansas pro Brent Chapman sits in that enviable position as he continued his stellar season on day two at Oneida Lake bringing in another limit of bass for 13-12. Chapman, who felt before the tournament began that if he could weigh 20 bass this week at Oneida he could hoist the AOY trophy on Sunday, is well on his way to achieving that goal as he sits in 6th place and has put himself in a great position to make it to Sunday. Day two didn’t go exactly how Chapman had hoped, as he found conditions to be a bit tougher on his primary areas today.
“Today was a totally different day for me than day one. I had to mix it up a lot today, and caught fish on several different baits. I had been getting most of my better bites later in the day, but it just didn’t happen for me today. I had one good bite today, but unfortunately I lost the fish. It was a little nerve racking today because I had been depending on schooling fish and they just never worked out for me today. Honestly what happened today has me a little nervous heading into day three,” said Chapman.
While he still holds a commanding lead in the AOY standings heading into the weekend, Chapman still contends that the race is not over and that he still has some work to do before the prestigious title of angler of the year is secure. “I am really hoping to have a much better day tomorrow. I have a few other places that I haven’t been to and will probably check out tomorrow. The place I am fishing in the mornings I have all to myself, but my afternoon fish I am sharing with a lot of other anglers. It is a really good area because most of the guys that have been there made the cut and will be back on Saturday. I have my work cut out for me, but that’s fishing and we will go out and see what happens tomorrow,” concluded Chapman.
DAY 2 STANDINGS
|Place||Name||Day 1||Day 2||Total Fish||Total Weight|
|1||Randy Howell||5||15-12||5||16- 6||10||32- 2|
|2||Boyd Duckett||5||13-11||5||17-11||10||31- 6|
|3||Scott Rook||5||15- 7||5||15- 9||10||31- 0|
|4||Tommy Biffle||5||14-10||5||16- 4||10||30-14|
|5||Mike Iaconelli||5||20- 3||5||10- 6||10||30- 9|
|6||Brent Chapman||5||16-12||5||13-12||10||30- 8|
|7||Brandon Palaniuk||5||14- 7||5||15-12||10||30- 3|
|8||Terry Scroggins||5||15- 0||5||15- 1||10||30- 1|
|9||Matthew Herren||5||14-14||5||15- 2||10||30- 0|
|10||Jason Quinn||5||13- 2||5||16-11||10||29-13|
|12||Nate Wellman||5||12- 8||5||17- 1||10||29- 9|
|13||Todd Faircloth||5||14- 5||5||14- 9||10||28-14|
|14||Aaron Martens||5||13-11||5||14-14||10||28- 9|
|15||Jared Lintner||5||12-14||5||15- 8||10||28- 6|
|16||Jason Williamson||5||15- 8||5||12-10||10||28- 2|
|17||John Crews||5||12-11||5||15- 6||10||28- 1|
|18||Mike McClelland||5||14- 6||5||13-11||10||28- 1|
|19||Fletcher Shryock||5||14- 6||5||13- 9||10||27-15|
|21||Jeremy Starks||5||13- 8||5||14- 6||10||27-14|
|22||Russell Lane||5||11-10||5||16- 0||10||27-10|
|23||Ott DeFoe||5||12- 5||5||15- 5||10||27-10|
|24||James Niggemeyer||5||15- 0||5||12- 4||10||27- 4|
|25||Kelly Jordon||5||14- 4||5||12-13||10||27- 1|
|26||Bobby Lane||5||15- 3||5||11-13||10||27- 0|
|27||Kevin VanDam||5||12- 8||5||14- 8||10||27- 0|
|28||Edwin Evers||5||15- 5||5||11-10||10||26-15|
|29||Bernie Schultz||5||14-13||5||12- 2||10||26-15|
|30||Ish Monroe||5||15- 4||4||11-10||9||26-14|
|31||Jami Fralick||5||15- 7||5||11- 2||10||26- 9|
|32||Skeet Reese||5||13-13||5||12-12||10||26- 9|
|33||Matt Greenblatt||5||12- 9||5||14- 0||10||26- 9|
|34||Cliff Pace||5||13-10||5||12-13||10||26- 7|
|35||Yusuke Miyazaki||5||13- 4||5||13- 2||10||26- 6|
|36||Travis Manson||5||11-12||5||14- 6||10||26- 2|
|37||Cliff Crochet||5||13- 7||5||12-11||10||26- 2|
|38||Marty Robinson||5||12-13||5||13- 2||10||25-15|
|39||Chris Lane||5||13-10||5||12- 4||10||25-14|
|40||Zell Rowland||5||13- 1||5||12- 9||10||25-10|
|41||Gerald Swindle||5||11-11||5||13-13||10||25- 8|
|42||Rick Morris||5||12-15||5||12- 9||10||25- 8|
|43||Morizo Shimizu||5||13- 4||5||11-15||10||25- 3|
|44||Cliff Prince||5||13- 4||5||11-13||10||25- 1|
|45||Kevin Short||5||15- 2||5||9-14||10||25- 0|
|46||Stephen Browning||5||13- 9||5||11- 7||10||25- 0|
|47||Mark Davis||5||11- 6||5||13- 3||10||24- 9|
|48||Brian Snowden||5||11-14||5||12-10||10||24- 8|
|49||Takahiro Omori||5||12- 8||5||11-15||10||24- 7|
|50||Matt Reed||5||11- 5||5||12-13||10||24- 2|
|51||Greg Vinson||5||10- 6||5||13- 9||10||23-15|
|52||Timmy Horton||5||11- 0||5||12-15||10||23-15|
|53||Keith Poche||5||13-10||4||10- 3||9||23-13|
|54||Derek Remitz||4||10-13||5||13- 0||9||23-13|
|55||Bill Lowen||5||13- 6||4||10- 2||9||23- 8|
|56||Shaw E Grigsby||5||12- 3||5||11- 4||10||23- 7|
|57||Billy McCaghren||5||12- 6||5||10-15||10||23- 5|
|58||Jared Miller||4||7- 9||5||15-12||9||23- 5|
|59||Casey Ashley||5||12- 8||4||10-12||9||23- 4|
|60||Brandon Card||5||13- 2||4||9-13||9||22-15|
|61||Rick Clunn||5||12- 8||4||10- 5||9||22-13|
|63||Kevin Ledoux||5||13- 5||3||8-10||8||21-15|
|64||Fred Roumbanis||2||6-13||5||15- 2||7||21-15|
|65||Dustin Wilks||5||10-11||5||10- 5||10||21- 0|
|66||Greg Hackney||4||8- 7||5||11-12||9||20- 3|
|67||Mark Menendez||4||8-10||4||11- 5||8||19-15|
|68||Charlie Hartley||4||8-14||5||11- 0||9||19-14|
|69||Jonathon VanDam||5||14- 3||2||5-10||7||19-13|
|71||Britt Myers||5||10-13||4||7-10||9||18- 7|
|72||Paul Elias||5||11- 5||3||7- 0||8||18- 5|
|73||Keith Combs||5||14- 0||2||4- 3||7||18- 3|
|74||David Walker||5||15-15||1||2- 3||6||18- 2|
|75||Chad Griffin||2||5-11||5||12- 2||7||17-13|
|76||Jeff Kriet||1||3- 2||5||14-10||6||17-12|
|77||Scott Ashmore||3||6-11||5||10- 8||8||17- 3|
|78||Byron Velvick||3||7-13||4||9- 2||7||16-15|
|79||Dean Rojas||5||11- 6||2||5- 7||7||16-13|
|81||J Todd Tucker||5||16- 6||5||16- 6|
|83||Kenyon Hill||4||8- 9||3||6- 9||7||15- 2|
|84||Denny Brauer||5||13-10||1||1- 1||6||14-11|
|85||Andy Montgomery||3||6- 8||3||8- 1||6||14- 9|
|86||Stephen Kennedy||4||7- 8||4||5-13||8||13- 5|
|87||Brent Broderick||3||6-15||3||6- 2||6||13- 1|
|88||Grant Goldbeck||5||12- 9||5||12- 9|
|89||David Smith||1||2- 4||5||9- 7||6||11-11|
|90||Alton Jones||2||3- 2||2||5-14||4||9- 0|
|91||Jamie Horton||2||4-13||2||4- 0||4||8-13|
|92||Pete Ponds||2||4- 8||1||2-12||3||7- 4|
|93||Michael Simonton||0||0- 0||3||6-13||3||6-13|
|94||Gary Klein||3||5- 6||3||5- 6|
|95||Bradley Roy||1||1-15||1||2-10||2||4- 9|
|96||Russell Parrish||1||2- 4||1||2- 4|
|97||Kotaro Kiriyama||0||0- 0||0||0- 0|