Sunday, May 26, 2024

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2


While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20.

Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday.

Click here to read about Birge’s first-place pattern. Here’s how the rest of the top five made it to the weekend.


Walmart FLW Tour day one leader, Drew Benton, weighs 15-1 on day two to earn his place in the top-20 to fish another day.

2nd Place – Drew Benton – 35 pounds, 13 ounces

Despite a solid catch of 15 pounds, 1 ounce today, day-one leader Drew Benton slid back to second place. His species mix today included four largemouths and one spotted bass. Of those, three largemouths came off beds.

“The biggest lesson I learned today is not to try sight-fishing in the morning,” Benton says. “I wasted too much time trying to catch ones that weren’t ready this morning – way too much time. I came back this afternoon and caught some of those. So tomorrow I’m just going fishing to get a limit, then I’ll sight-fish later in the day.”

Benton notes that the cold did not seem to push the fish off the beds. It just made them far more uncooperative.

“They were still there this morning. They just would not bite,” he says. “They were locked and I pestered them as much as could, but they would not eat. Also, those spots are far less affected by the cold – they’re easy. But those largemouths are a different story. Those jokers are so finicky.”

Benton, like other leaders, is confident that despite 30-degree temperatures forecast for Friday night, there will still be sight-fishing opportunities over the weekend.

“Maybe not so much tomorrow,” he says, “but it’s supposed to warm back up Sunday, and if I make it [into the top 10], there should be more on beds to catch.”


Clark Wendlandt shows his kicker fish on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake, he weighed 17-5 and will now have to cross his fingers and wait to see if it will be enough to fish another day.

3rd Place – Clark Wendlandt – 33 pounds, 8 ounces

Clark Wendlandt moved up into third place today with a 17-pound, 5-ounce catch, which was made up of three largemouths and two spots.

Wendlandt, too, was able to sight-fish some of his limit off beds today.

“I’m finding them as I go, and I caught three off beds,” Wendlandt says. “I think there are plenty of fish on beds right now, but the hardest part is seeing them. So many of them are bedding so deep.”

Wendlandt is also of the opinion that the bedding activity has just begun and the cold will not do much to hinder nature’s course.

“I think they’re committed to these areas, and they’re not going anywhere until they’re done spawning,” he says. “I’ve got a couple of other patterns that I can use to catch some fish, but going into the weekend I can assure you I will be looking for more fish on beds. In my opinion, the process has started, and this little cold snap isn’t going to hold it up that much.”


4th Place – Tracy Adams – 31 pounds, 12 ounces

Tracy Adams sight-fished one bass off a bed today, but for the most part, he stuck to fishing for suspended fish over 40 or 50 feet of water.

“These fish are close to spawning, but by no means are they on beds,” he says. “I did catch one off a bed today, but the ones I’m catching are on the points leading into those spawning pockets. Sunny, slick conditions would help me a bunch to get the bait where it needs to be.

“I’ll probably fish those suspended fish in the morning and then look in the afternoon,” he adds. “It’s going to get cold, but sight-fishing is not out of the question.”


5th Place – Scott Wiley – 31 pounds, 10 ounces

Scott Wiley moved into fifth place today with a 16-pound, 2-ounce catch.

Wiley’s pattern is very similar to leader Zack Birge’s pattern in that he is fishing shallow bushes and targeting fish that are moving in to spawn.

“I’m sure the fish are moving in to the bushes to spawn, but I’m actually catching them on the outsides of the bushes before they go in,” Wiley says. “I think a few are postspawn, but a majority of them are feeding up on the outsides of the bushes before they go in there to spawn.”

Like others, Wiley notes that the afternoon window is a premium.

“Once that water warms up in the afternoon, the bite improves tremendously,” he adds. “The activity level increases tremendously with just a few degrees warm-up.”


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