By BassFan Staff
There was no shortage of movement on the leaderboard on day 3 of the Table Rock FLW Tour Major. The new leader started the day in 6th place, more than 7 pounds off the pace. The day-2 leader couldn’t finish off a limit and will launch tomorrow in 5th. The day-1 leader weighed two fish and is heading home. The 8th-place pro was sitting in 97th just 48 hours ago.
It’s no wonder the 3rd day of 4-day tournaments is typically called "moving day."
When the dust settled, Brent Long was sitting at the top of the heap with 58-15 after weighing 22-03, the only 20-plus stringer to cross the stage and nearly 4 pounds better than the next-best sack. The North Carolina pro is seeking his second Tour title to go with his victory at the 2010 Guntersville triumph.
He owns a 3-pound lead over Table Rock stalwart Stacey King, who holds down 2nd place for the second straight day. King caught 13-15 today and has 55-15 overall. An ounce behind King is Jason Christie, who moved up two spots to 3rd, thanks to an 18-07 stringer that gave him 55-14.
Spencer Shuffield slipped to 4th after his 15-05 bag pushed his total to 55-09. Meanwhile, day-2 leader Kyle Welcher was one fish shy of a limit and weighed 9-07 to fall to 5th with 53-11.
Here's a look at the 10 pros who will fish tomorrow, with deficit margin from the leader indicated by red numbers in parentheses:
1. Brent Long: 58-15
2. Stacey King: 55-15 (3-00)
3. Jason Christie: 55-14 (3-01)
4. Spencer Shuffield: 55-09 (3-06)
5. Kyle Welcher: 53-11 (5-04)
6. Chris Baumgardner: 49-08 (9-07)
7. Anthony Gagliardi: 49-07 (9-08)
8. Troy Morrow: 49-00 (9-15)
9. Clint Brownlee: 48-14 (10-01)
10. Clent Davis: 47-04 (11-11)
Moving into the Top 10 today were Anthony Gagliardi, who won the 2009 FLW Tour event at Table Rock. He caught 15-09 and has 49-07 in 7th. Troy Morrow has had a tremendous turnaround since he found himself way down the standings after day 1. He caught 16-15 today to give himself 49-00 in 8th.
While Long, King and Christie have spent the whole tournament in the Top 10, a few pros let a day-4 berth slip through their fingers. Blake Nick, the leader after day 1, ran out of fish today and only brought two to the stage, which saw him fall to 17th from 4th. John Devere, who averaged nearly 18 pounds through 2 days, caught four for 9-07 and dropped to 12th from 7th. Terry Bolton was locked in a three-way tie for 10th after day 2 and, after weighing just two fish today, slipped all the way to 20th.
Today’s conditions brought little in the way of wind, which seems to be crucial to several of the leaders’ patterns. A slight afternoon breeze did ignite the bite for a few, but if the wind doesn’t blow on the final day, it could lead to more movement near the top of the leaderboard. Tomorrow’s weather forecast for the Branson, Mo., area calls for partly sunny skies with temperatures pushing 90 degrees and a southerly wind of 10 mph.
Long Hoping to Close
> Day 3: 5, 22-03 (15, 58-15)
It’s only fitting that the leader is catching his fish in Long Creek. He continued to work dingy water with a Charlie’s Worms Flippin’ Bug. He had a limit in the box by 8:30 this morning, which took a measure of pressure off for the rest of the day.
“It seemed like a new wave of fish had moved in,” he said. “It was actually a really enjoyable day because I got them early and I could relax the rest of the day. If I caught one, fine. If I didn’t, I had a good weight anyway.”
The only previous time he’s fished Table Rock was when the FLW Tour visited in 2010. He finished 90th when the conditions were the polar -- literally -- opposite of what they’ve been this week.
“It was tough on me then. I’m starting to like it now,” he quipped.
His bag today was anchored by a 7-02 monster that he had in the boat by 7:20 a.m. He was fishing around other leaders, but several were eliminated today so he should have it more to himself on the final day.
He got about a dozen bites today, but lost four, two of which he feels could have pushed his weight past the 25-pound mark.
“I really didn’t get upset when I did lose them, knowing that hopefully they’ll still be there tomorrow,” he added. “If I catch them as good as I did today or almost as good and other guys struggle, I’ll come out with a win. It would mean everything. A lot of people say you can get lucky one time, but to win two of them would be special.”
2nd: King Needs Wind
> Day 3: 5, 13-15 (15, 55-15)
King is cranking around main-lake points, but his pattern was undermined today by a lack of wind and water movement through the lake. After a slow morning, his afternoon bite picked up almost in lockstep with the southerly breeze that came through around the same time. He’s concerned, however, that the big fish in his areas may have made the move toward the bank.
“I targeted those types of fish today, but never could get one of them to bite,” he said. “I don’t know if all of those big ones are leaving those staging areas. That’s probably my guess -- that they’re moving on in. I didn’t really have good conditions for my pattern today. There was no water movement this morning. They’ve been pulling a lot of water and they didn’t this morning so that really hurt my bite and it was glassy still without any wind.”
He’s seeking his second tournament win at Table Rock in as many years after winning the PAA event there last year.
“It would be an exciting finish if a guy could do that,” he said. “It’d be a thrill to win here, but I have a big obstacle to overcome. We’ll see what happens. I’ve been in this position lots of times and I’m not too nervous about it. I’m just going fishing.”
3rd: Christie Got Two Big Bites -- Again
> Day 3: 5, 18-07 (15, 55-14)
Christie scrapped his big runs up the White River and instead went flipping the shoreline, and for the third straight day brought two kickers to the scales that anchored his catch.
“I was fortunate again,” the Oklahoma pro said. “I caught a big one in the first 5 minutes and a big one in the last 5 minutes. I feel like I wasted half the day today and I can’t do that tomorrow if I’m going to win. It’s hard because you run into a place that looks good from the lake and you get there and it’s not. I’m just going to go fishing and see what happens.”
He plans to start the final day where he left off today with the hope that he can narrow the gap on Long and claim his second Tour victory.
“I’m going to do a lot of moving and fish the way I’ve been fishing,” he added. “Instead of catching two big ones like I did these last 3 days, I have to catch five of them. I feel like I need 20 or 21 to have a chance to win tomorrow.”
He sorted through eight keepers today and weighed in two smallmouths and three largemouths. He caught his two big fish flipping while he looked at the other three. His best action seems to be in the afternoon when there’s more boat traffic.
“The most important thing is there are fish everywhere,” he said. “You just have to have some movement. They’re biting in the afternoon and I think it’s because the boat waves get to slapping the bank and the fish get defensive. They bite early in the morning and they bite late in the afternoon. The 4 hours in the middle are just a grind. It’s tough to get bit.”
Spencer Shuffield is planning to fish new water tomorrow.
4th: Conditions Need to be Right for Shuffield
> Day 3: 5, 15-05 (15, 55-09)
Shuffield’s day started fast when he boxed a 4-pound smallmouth on his first cast of the morning. From there, however, it slowed down as he brought just six keepers into the boat. He’s hoping for some wind tomorrow to turn his fish back on.
“Today was, by far, my worst day,” he said after his weight fell off 6 pounds from day 2. “The only difference I noticed today was there was absolutely no wind at all. That killed my bite. I had so many fish today come up and grab hold of my swimbaits and not commit to biting at all. They weren’t in the mood really to come eat it.”
He’s mixing up throwing the Swim N' Frenzy bladed umbrella rig and sight-fishing and he’s confident he can challenge for the win.
“The first day, I only threw (the Alabama Rig) for maybe 2 1/2 or 3 hours and I did some sight-fishing,” he said. “I felt like I should’ve had 24 pounds the first day. Yesterday, I had a shot at 30 but I lost three really big fish. When the fish are biting, I’m getting really big bites. If the wind blows or they just decide to bite like they did the first 2 days, there’s a good chance I could go whack a 25-plus pound bag.
“Tomorrow, my game plan is probably going to be to go fish a lot of new water. I know I have a pattern that’s working really well. I’ll probably stay in the same area of the lake, but just hit some different spots.”
5th: Welcher had Company
> Day 3: 4, 9-07 (14, 53-11)
Welcher felt he didn’t adjust on the fly enough today and he hopes he can get in tune with his fish quicker tomorrow.
“The water is falling right now so you have to move around and try different things in the area and figure out where the fish are at that day,” he said. “Because my fish didn’t start biting until about noon yesterday, I was pretty much just waiting until noon today to start catching them. At noon, I caught two 3-pounders in a row, but the by time I figured out they weren’t biting that way any more, it was too late. I didn’t have time to adjust and find them.”
He's disappointed he wasn’t able to finish off a limit today as he was aiming to become the youngest angler ever to win a Tour event.
“Tomorrrow’s just another day of fishing,” he added. “I don’t have as high of hopes as I did, but I think I’m still around the fish. I have to go out tomorrow and adapt. The fish changed around. I had plenty of bites, but this was really the first day I’d lost any. Both days of the tournament I’ve lost fish that would’ve helped me, but today I really lost my key fish. That just happens sometimes.”
He did share water today with local boats, which may have impacted his results.
“All of my spots today had local boats on them so I’m sharing a lot of water,” he said. “It’s very aggravating when you have about five good points and four of them have boats on them and you’ve already fished the other one.”
7th: Gagliardi Looking at Them
> Day 3: 5, 15-09 (15, 49-07)
Gagliardi is off to a rock-solid start this season, clinching his second Top 10 in as many Majors. Coming off a 5th-place finish at Hartwell, he’s looking to climb higher tomorrow.
“It feels really good, especially coming of a good finish at Hartwell,” he said. “You couldn’t really ask for a better start to a season. I do like this lake. It’s good to come back here and have another good tournament and make the cut and maybe a have a chance to move up. My chances to win are slim, but you never know.
Former Table Rock champ Anthony Gagliardi has averaged about 16 1/2 pounds per day so far.
“I’m fishing a way that I can catch big fish. It’s certainly possible that I could catch a big bag. I’m just going to try to move up as much as I can and make some money and add whatever points I can toward Angler of the Year.”
He’s fishing an entirely different section of the lake than when he won in ’09 and is seeking out new water every day. He is mainly sight-fishing, but has gotten most of his big bites on swimbaits.
“There are not a lot of new fish moving up because the water has been dropping a little bit each day,” he noted. “I’ve had to change areas and fish through places. You’re forced to go out and fish new water fishing the way I am because there just aren’t enough fish pulling up in these places to keep going back and catch them day after day.”
8th: Morrow Gunning for Top-5
> Day 3: 5, 16-15 (15, 49-00)
After losing a couple key bites on day 1, Morrow has recovered nicely and clinched his third Top 10.
“It’s more than I expected, especially after the start I had,” he said. “Now that I’m there, of course, I want more so I’m trying for a Top 5. The leaders are pretty solid at the moment and are still catching them. The 9-pound lead on me is pretty stout, but I think a Top 5 is manageable because I don’t think all of them are going to catch them tomorrow.”
He’s fishing near Welcher and Chris Baumgardner and he’s catching his fish cranking dirty water. He went through a dozen or so keepers today and weighed a mix of largemouths and spotted bass. He’s anticipating the water falling again overnight and will make the necessary adjustments should the fish push out.
“I’m adjusting a little bit,” he added. “I think it’s hurting the flipping bite a little bit. It’s pulling the fish out. I actually planned for it a little more tomorrow. I added a couple different crankbaits to my arsenal tomorrow to maybe catch that outer region.”
> Day 3 stats – 20 anglers, 14 limits, 4 fours, 2 twos.
> In case you missed the competition recaps from Jay Yelas and Luke Clausen, you can click here to go On Tour With the BassFan Big Sticks.
> Sun., April 1 – Partly Sunny - 90°/59°
- Wind: From the S/SW at 10 mph
Day 3 Standings
1. Brent Long -- Cornelius, NC -- 19-04 (5) -- 17-08 (5) -- 22-03 (5) -- 58-15 (15)
2. Stacey King -- Reeds Spring, Mo -- 19-03 (5) -- 22-13 (5) -- 13-15 (5) -- 55-15 (15)
3. Jason Christie -- Park Hill, Ok -- 19-08 (5) -- 17-15 (5) -- 18-07 (5) -- 55-14 (15)
4. Spencer Shuffield -- Bismarck, Ar -- 18-14 (5) -- 21-06 (5) -- 15-05 (5) -- 55-09 (15)
5. Kyle Welcher -- Opelika, Al -- 19-12 (5) -- 24-08 (5) -- 9-07 (4) -- 53-11 (14)
6. Chris Baumgardner -- Gastonia, NC -- 13-13 (5) -- 21-01 (5) -- 14-10 (5) -- 49-08 (15)
7. Anthony Gagliardi -- Prosperity, SC -- 18-14 (5) -- 15-00 (5) -- 15-09 (5) -- 49-07 (15)
8. Troy Morrow -- Eastanollee, Ga -- 10-08 (5) -- 21-09 (5) -- 16-15 (5) -- 49-00 (15)
9. Clint Brownlee -- Tifton, Ga -- 20-01 (5) -- 13-13 (5) -- 15-00 (5) -- 48-14 (15)
10. Clent Davis -- Montevallo, Al -- 20-00 (5) -- 15-08 (5) -- 11-12 (5) -- 47-04 (15)
The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 4.
11. Dan Morehead -- Paducah, Ky -- 16-13 (5) -- 16-06 (5) -- 14-00 (5) -- 47-03 (15) -- $12,500
12. John Devere -- Berea, Ky -- 16-01 (5) -- 19-13 (5) -- 9-05 (4) -- 45-03 (14) -- $12,500
13. Glenn Browne -- Ocala, Fl -- 16-09 (5) -- 15-13 (5) -- 12-12 (5) -- 45-02 (15) -- $12,500
14. Scott Canterbury -- Springville, Al -- 13-13 (5) -- 19-07 (5) -- 11-11 (5) -- 44-15 (15) -- $12,500
15. Tom Monsoor -- La Crosse, Wi -- 15-01 (5) -- 16-13 (5) -- 12-02 (5) -- 44-00 (15) -- $12,500
16. Craig Dowling -- Nashville, Tn -- 15-10 (5) -- 16-09 (5) -- 11-00 (5) -- 43-03 (15) -- $12,000
17. Blake Nick -- Adger, Al -- 21-04 (5) -- 16-11 (5) -- 4-00 (2) -- 41-15 (12) -- $12,000
18. Robert Behrle -- Hoover, Al -- 12-01 (5) -- 21-02 (5) -- 8-10 (4) -- 41-13 (14) -- $12,000
19. Christopher Brasher -- Spring, Tx -- 16-03 (5) -- 15-13 (5) -- 8-12 (4) -- 40-12 (14) -- $12,000
20. Terry Bolton -- Paducah, Ky -- 21-01 (5) -- 12-13 (5) -- 4-03 (2) -- 38-01 (12) -- $12,000