DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

LANE ON FIRE......ISH COOLS OFF, BUT STILL LEADS AFTER 3

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 03/24/2012

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

Okeechobee, FL - If one is the loneliest number, then Ish Monroe can take solace in the fact that, after Saturday, he is no longer alone at the top of the leader board. Entering Saturday on Okeechobee with an impressive 13-pound, 11-ounce lead over Chris Lane, Monroe did his part to maintain distance on Saturday with another 18-2 limit.  He had no idea what awaited at the weigh-in. 

Chris Lane, fresh off a Bassmaster Southern Open and Bassmaster Classic victory, toted the second heaviest limit of the tournament to the scales on Saturday weighing 31-3 to virtually erase the deficit that he faced going into the day.  

On championship Sunday, Monroe (77-6) and Lane (76-12) will start the day with less than one-pound separating them. 

Ish Monroe

“I had a decent bag, but when a guy catches 31-pounds, what else can you do?” said Monroe about Chris Lane’s Saturday limit. “I just wasn’t prepared for 31-pounds. I was prepared for the fact that I could have a bad day with around 10-pounds, but when I started catching them I thought that I might lose a few pounds off my lead, but I never thought that I’d lose the entire lead.”

While Monroe’s 18-pound limit was the 12th heaviest limit that crossed the scales on Saturday, Monroe said that he’s concerned about the number of unpressured bass left in his primary area.   

“I had a lot of help today,” he explained.  “Locals are in there catching a lot of fish and there’s really nothing I can do about it.  I’m going to have to make an adjustment and start on a spot that I don’t think too many other people are fishing.  My primary area is about 20-minutes away from that spot.

“I had one or two local anglers in the area on the first day, probably five on the second day, and 30 locals in there today,” he continued. “It really hurts you when other guys are out there catching fish and running trolling motors through the grass that you’re fishing.   After catching my two best fish, I had five local boats fishing right around me.”

Monroe’s game plan for Sunday is simple.  “I have to go out there and hammer on them tomorrow,” he stated. “It’s all about rolling into the right are when the fish are biting.  If you get there and they’re not biting, there’s nothing that you can do.” 

Lane Firing on All Cylinders
After weighing in 31-3 on Saturday to pull within 1-pound of Ish Monroe for the lead, Chris Lane likened his 2012 season to surfing the perfect wave.  “I feel like I’m on a wave, man,” he explained.  “I feel like I’m on a wave out in California that’s 25-feet high and I’m just in the tunnel riding it.  I’m just going fishing, dude, and having a blast.”

While Okeechobee is a long way from the California waves, it’s apparent that Lane is dialed in on a fishery that has been a part of his life since growing up in Florida.  “It is an absolutely amazing bite out there right now,” he gushed.  “I left my fish a little bit early today, and I’m ready to go tomorrow.”

Chris Lane

Lane said that his day started with a bang, as he boated a 5-pounder within the first 20-minutes of competition.  “I made some moves and pulled into an area and caught a 6-pounder.  Then I lost a 6-pounder, caught another 6-pounder, and caught an 8-pounder,” he said.  “When I culled a 4-pounder with that 8-pounder, I made the decision to milk that area all day on Sunday.”

Relying on a heavy flipping stick and braided line, Lane said that landing Okeechobee bass is a chore.  “When I hit those fish, they go nuts.  They’re some of the meanest fish in the country,” he said.  “They just mow the reeds over and it’s really hard to get to them.”

Culling through a number of keepers on Saturday, Lane said that he’s just looking for five bites on Sunday.  “I’m just going to look for the right ones,” he explained. 

Skeet ReeseReese Went Looking
“Today, I really just punted,” said Skeet Reese, who brought 22-6 to the scales on Saturday to finish the day in 3rd Place.  “I went back to some areas where I had a few bites in practice and realized that the water had cleared up quite a bit.  There were a lot of other anglers around the area, but I fished a much different presentation.  I didn’t catch giants, but I was able to get a decent bag.” 

Relying primarily on bed fish over the course of the first two days, Reese said that only one of his quality fish on Saturday came on a bed.  “Right at the end of the day, I found a 6-pounder and caught it,” he said.  “That really helped.”

Fishing several areas on Saturday, Reese said that he was able to expand some areas and eliminate other areas for Sunday’s Finale.  “My starting area this morning had really muddied up and the bite died. I had one good fish out of my second area, but that was it.  That’s when I started running new water and catching more fish. I actually have no idea what my game plan is for tomorrow,” he concluded. 

Grigsby Figured it Out
Regardless of what Sunday holds for Florida’s Shaw Grigsby, Saturday’s 30-7 limit that vaulted him from 41st to 4th in the standings, secured a solid finish and valuable Toyota Tundra Angler Of the Year points for the veteran pro.  

While the sight fishing expert didn’t see many of the fish that he landed on Saturday before they bit, he said that he’s “almost positive” that he caught spawning bass on Saturday.  “There was a white spot (on the bottom) in the area of every fish that I caught,” he explained. 

Shaw Grigsby

“I just kind of figured out where the fish are,” he continued.  “Yesterday, I had nobody around me.  Today, there was a good many boats circled around.  There’s still a pile of big ones in there.  I don’t know what I can catch tomorrow, but it wouldn’t surprise me to catch 30-pounds and it wouldn’t surprise me to catch 10-pounds – well, it might surprise me if I only have 10-pounds,” he said with a chuckle.

Grigsby said that his game plan for Sunday is based around three big bedding females that he located right before he had to return to the weigh-in on Saturday.  “One of them is pushing 6-pounds,” he said. “I just couldn’t get her interested in my bait today.”   

Scroggins Fished Clean Water
After an opening round effort of just 12-1, Terry Scroggins has steadily climbed the leader board at the Power-Pole Slam.  On Saturday, he made his biggest move by jumping into the Top 5 with a limit weighing 24-11. 

“Even though I’m 20-pounds behind the leaders, it’s still fun to go out and fish because they’re biting like crazy,” he said.  “My plan tomorrow is to go out and get as many AOY point as I can.”

Terry Scroggins

Scroggins said that his slow start to the tournament was due to the fact that he spent too much time focusing on areas with dirty water.  “It’s been blowing really hard down here for the last couple of weeks.  I got off to a slow start because I was trying to fish the muddy water.  It’s changing around and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“Anything can happen, but it’s going to be either Chris or Ish tomorrow,” he continued.  “I could see something strange happening if there was just one guy running away with it, but there are two of them way up there in the standings, so one of them will catch them for sure because the fish are biting.” 

Day 3 STANDINGS

Place PRO ANGLER
Day 1Day 2Day 3 Total Fish Total Weight
FishWeightFishWeightFishWeight
1 Ish Monroe 5 34- 5 5 24-15 5 18- 2 15 77- 6
2 Chris Lane 5 21-15 5 23-10 5 31- 3 15 76-12
3 Skeet Reese 5 19- 6 5 20- 8 5 22- 6 15 62- 4
4 Shaw E Grigsby 5 11- 7 5 14-15 5 30- 7 15 56-13
5 Terry Scroggins 5 12- 1 5 19-12 5 24-11 15 56- 8
6 Brent Chapman 5 12-10 5 16-10 5 26-14 15 56- 2
7 Kevin VanDam 5 14- 7 5 12- 2 5 28-11 15 55- 4
8 Jeff Kriet 5 19- 5 5 21-14 5 13-13 15 55- 0
9 Kyle Fox 5 18- 1 5 20- 4 5 16- 4 15 54- 9
10 Scott Rook 5 20-15 5 14-10 5 18-14 15 54- 7
11 Tommy Biffle 5 16- 3 5 14- 4 5 22-14 15 53- 5
12 Todd Faircloth 5 19- 6 5 17-12 5 16- 2 15 53- 4
13 Gary Klein 5 13- 0 5 19-12 5 18-13 15 51- 9
14 Randy Howell 5 18-10 5 14- 2 5 18- 8 15 51- 4
15 Ott DeFoe 5 14-13 5 20-13 5 15- 4 15 50-14
16 Britt Myers 5 14- 9 5 19- 4 5 16-13 15 50-10
17 David Walker 5 16-10 5 17- 7 5 14-11 15 48-12
18 Bobby Lane 5 21- 3 5 10-10 5 16- 6 15 48- 3
19 Keith Combs 5 14- 1 5 17- 0 5 16-12 15 47-13
20 Jared Lintner 5 12- 1 5 14- 3 5 21- 6 15 47-10
21 Michael Iaconelli 5 15- 8 5 18-15 5 12- 3 15 46-10
22 Bradley Roy 5 20- 9 5 7- 8 5 18- 0 15 46- 1
23 Jason Williamson 5 17- 7 5 11- 5 5 16- 5 15 45- 1
24 Jeremy Starks 5 15-12 5 14- 9 5 14- 4 15 44- 9
25 Gerald Swindle 5 14- 2 5 16-11 5 13- 4 15 44- 1
26 Davy Hite 5 25- 9 5 10- 6 5 8- 1 15 44- 0
27 Stephen Kennedy 5 10-15 5 21- 2 5 10-10 15 42-11
28 Zell Rowland 5 11-14 5 18- 4 5 11-14 15 42- 0
29 Nate Wellman 5 22- 3 5 6-14 5 12- 7 15 41- 8
30 Jason Quinn 5 12-11 5 19-14 5 8-12 15 41- 5
31 Cliff Crochet 5 16- 0 5 11- 3 5 13-15 15 41- 2
32 Mark Davis 5 14-10 5 11- 7 5 14-12 15 40-13
33 Mike McClelland 5 11-10 5 15- 3 5 13-13 15 40-10
34 Marty Robinson 4 8- 0 5 20- 5 5 12- 4 14 40- 9
35 Edwin Evers 5 10-11 5 18- 1 5 11-12 15 40- 8
36 Kelly Jordon 5 8-12 5 19- 1 5 12- 4 15 40- 1
37 Brent Broderick 5 15- 4 5 12-12 5 11-13 15 39-13
38 Morizo Shimizu 5 12-15 5 13- 0 5 13- 7 15 39- 6
39 Fletcher Shryock 5 16- 4 5 10- 2 5 12- 1 15 38- 7
40 Paul Elias 5 14- 6 5 11- 5 5 12-10 15 38- 5
41 Brandon Card 5 9- 3 5 16-14 5 12- 1 15 38- 2
42 Bill Lowen 5 14-11 5 14-13 5 8- 5 15 37-13
43 James Niggemeyer 4 8- 7 5 19- 3 5 10- 1 14 37-11
44 John Murray 5 8-15 5 16-12 5 11- 9 15 37- 4
45 Derek Remitz 5 12- 6 5 15-12 5 8- 3 15 36- 5
46 Yusuke Miyazaki 5 12- 9 5 14- 3 5 9- 3 15 35-15
47 Rick Clunn 5 15- 2 5 11- 8 5 9- 3 15 35-13
48 Fred Roumbanis 5 14- 5 5 11-15 4 9- 8 14 35-12
49 J Todd Tucker 5 12- 4 5 13-10 5 9- 3 15 35- 1
50 Pat Golden 5 15- 8 5 10- 2 4 8- 5 14 33-15