Dean grabs lead at Fort Gibson
By Ken Duke
WAGONER, Okla. — Second place is not bad, but first is better. Texas’ Scott Dean made the switch today at Fort Gibson Lake in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Fort Gibson Lake. His five bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces gives him 29-6 for two days, enough to pass Day 1 leader, Kevin Short (who slipped to third with 27-3), and take the lead. Seth Feider of Minnesota is second with 27-15. Five anglers are within five pounds of the leader with one day left to fish.
Dean is catching his bass shallow — in about four feet of water — around rocks and other cover. His fish are biting Gene Larew Biffle Bugs in Green Pumpkin Candy that Dean is Texas-rigging on a Biffle Hardhead and fishing very slowly.
“I’m using both the big Biffle Bug (4.25 inches) and the small Biffle Bug (3.5 inches),” Dean said. I fish the big one behind a 7/16-ounce Biffle Hardhead and the small one with a 5/16-ounce Hardhead. I’m fishing it on a Falcon Mike McClelland signature series 7-foot, 3-inch 6-power rod on 15- or 20-pound-test High Seas fluorocarbon line,”
Dean caught six keepers (14-inch size limit) yesterday and six more today, culling just once each day to come up with his limit.
Kevin Short came up a little … short today, with a small limit weighing just 10-8, putting him just two pounds off the lead. Yesterday he said he was working the “fish-my-butt-off” pattern. When asked if he was sticking to the pattern, he said, “I did it again today. I even caught more bass today, but they just weren’t the same quality. My bass weren’t as aggressive today under the bright sun, and I didn’t get the quality bites.”
Short’s optimistic that he can turn things around in the third and final round.
“I’m going right back out to my same areas,” he said. “It’s not going to be any easier tomorrow, and I think another 15- or 16-pound bag will win it.”
The weather on Fort Gibson has been challenging to say the least. Relentless sun and heat have been mixed with occasional showers. Today’s weather story was the wind, which came sweeping down the plain just like the song says, threatening the completion of the weigh-in at times.
Now, after weeks of temperatures in triple digits, forecasts are calling for a downright chilly Saturday morning (low 50s) with daytime highs in the 70s. What caught them the first two days, might not tomorrow, and the leaderboard could see a severe shakeup.
Reports from the water indicate that several of the leaders are catching their bass on topwater baits early in the morning. That type of pattern is notoriously fragile, especially in the face of a severe cold front. If the leaders are catching them on top, their catches might plummet in the finals, opening the door for other anglers who are fishing deeper, more stable patterns.
Elite pro and pre-tournament favorite Tommy Biffle rebounded on Day 2 after a mediocre first round. His limit of 14-13 gives him 25-8 for the tournament and puts him in fourth place. He has a share of the lead, though, if only because the lure being used by Scott Dean was designed by Biffle.
Rounding out the 12 pro finalists are Jason Christie, Kelly Power, Nathan Kawlewski, James Elam (whose 5-11 largemouth on the first day still holds the lead for Carhartt Big Bass of the Tournament), Wayne Diffie, Brian Clark, Greg Ryan and Elite pro Derek Remitz.
Among the co-anglers, Clayton Coppin of Oklahoma jumped up from sixth place after the first day with a three-bass co-angler limit weighing 11-7 to take the lead. More than half his catch came in one bass, a 6-10 largemouth that’s the biggest so far by anyone — pro or co-angler — in the tournament. Joe Lane of Missouri, the first round leader, dropped to second despite catching another limit. Lane is nine ounces back.
With the top ranking anglers in each Opens division earning invitations to join the Elite Series in 2013, many eyes are focused on that race, which will be determined following tomorrow’s weigh-in.
At stake are cash and a Triton 19SE and 200 HP Mercury Optimax boat and motor package as well as a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake, Okla., Feb. 22-24, and five invitations to join the Bassmaster Elite Series (for the top five in overall points).
Top prize on the co-angler side includes a Nitro Z-8 and 200 HP Mercury Optimax.
2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Boat U.S., BOOYAH, Carhartt, Humminbird, Luck “E” Strike, Minn Kota, Power-Pole