By BassFan Staff

Mark Rose doesnt care who wins the Super Bowl on Sunday. Hes more focused on his own Big Game.

The Tennessee River ace has won at Pickwick Lake before. Hes won at Lake Chickamauga, too. A victory at Lake Guntersville, considered by many the crown jewel of the TVA system, has been elusive, though. He took 2nd there in the 2010 FLW Tour and again in the 2014 Southeastern FLW Series.

Hes hoping to change that tomorrow.

Rose failed to crack the 20-pound mark Saturday, but his 19-00 stringer kept him in the lead entering the final day of the season opener with a 61-08 total. Bryan Thrift held onto 2nd with a 17-04 bag that gave him 56-12.

While Rose and Thrift have seen their bags get progressively smaller, local resident and Guntersville guide Alex Davis made a move up to 3rd with the days biggest stringer, a 20-02 limit that boosted his total to 54-06.

Scott Suggs advanced six spots to 4th behind a 17-14 stringer to push his total to 51-11. Shinichi Fukae remained in 5th, thanks to a 16-11 bag that gave him 51-05.

Here's a look at the Top 10 entering the final day of competition, with the deficit margin from Rose indicated by red numbers in parentheses:

1. Mark Rose: 61-08
2. Bryan Thrift: 56-12 (4-12)
3. Alex Davis: 54-06 (7-02)
4. Scott Suggs: 51-11 (9-13)
5. Shinichi Fukae: 51-05 (10-03)
6. Christopher Brasher: 51-04 (10-04)
7. Andy Morgan: 49-07 (12-01)
8. Brandon Cobb: 48-10 (12-14)
9. Justin Atkins: 48-10 (12-14)
10. Chris McCall: 47-00 (14-08)

Christopher Brasher and Brandon Cobb each made 10-spot jumps into the Top 10 today with Brasher catching 19-03 to go from 16th to 6th and Cobb bagging 18-05 to move up from 19th to 9th. Chris McCall caught 13-08 and jumped two slots to 10th.

Barry Wilson tumbled to 17th from 3rd after sacking just one fish today. Randy Blaukat (6th to 14th) and Jason Reyes (8th to 13th) also slipped out of the Top 10.

While Guntersvilles bass continue to be locked in their winter pattern, the lake still harbors a healthy population of 5- to 7-pounders, but those bites have been mostly elusive this week. One or two of those tomorrow could certainly swing the outcome.

The sun made an extended appearance today, but overcast skies with a slight breeze out of the southwest along with temperatures reaching the mid 50s are whats in store for the final day.

Nerves Not an Issue for Rose

> Day 3: 5, 19-00 (15, 61-08)

Counting this week, Rose has logged a Top-10 finish in 19 of the 41 multi-day FLW tournaments hes competed in on the Tennessee River. Thats an impressive 46-percent rate.

He hit roughly 10 spots today, some hed fished earlier in the tournament, some he hadnt. He tallied eight keepers on a trio of baits a Strike King jig, a Strike King Flate Side crankbait and a vibrating jig.

Hell let the weather and conditions Sunday dictate what he throws and where.

Ive been saving one little area that Im going to go hit tomorrow afternoon, when I feel like the conditions are right, he said. I wont be changing anything up tomorrow. Im going to be doing the same thing that I have been doing, so the nerves wont be too bad.



FLW
Photo: FLW

Bryan Thrift will be chasing his fifth career FLW Tour victory tomorrow.

2nd: Thrift Shooting for 20-Plus

> Day 3: 5, 17-04 (15, 56-12)

The only thing that changed today for Thrift was he was able to catch a fish on a jig. Other than that, it was status quo for the man known for running and gunning in all different directions over the course of a day.

He had four keepers in the boat by 8:30 this morning, all from an area that produced 10 bites for him on Friday. After that, the activity slowed down and it took him until 11 a.m. to finish his limit elsewhere. He culled once the rest of the day.

I think its getting a little tougher or Ive just caught whats willing to bite in the areas Im fishing, he said.

Regardless, hes thrilled to get the season started with a strong finish after starting last year with a 132nd at Lake Okeechobee.

It definitely feels good to start the year off with a good paycheck, he added.

In order to unseat Rose on Sunday, he thinks hell need his biggest bag of the week. Hes just not sure he can pull it off.

The only chance I have to win is to catch a couple giants and get to the mid-20s because Mark will catch 19 or 20, he said. I feel like I need mid 20s to have a shot. I dont know if its possible. I have to go practice tomorrow because my stuff is about dried up.

Im going to have to start where I started today and hope more fish pulled in there overnight. I hope to catch a few keepers right away and then itll be a mad scramble the rest of the day.

FLW
Photo: FLW

Alex Davis is looking to add a Tour win to his impressive Guntersville rsume on Sunday.

3rd: Win Would Mean Everything to Davis

> Day 3: 5, 20-02 (15, 54-06)

For Davis, this time of year ranks among his favorite seasons to fish at Guntersville because of the potential to catch some big fish and big stringers. Hes going after both tomorrow as he stalks his first career Tour victory.

If I can catch 25 and (Mark) catches 18, I win, he said. Thats the greatest thing about this lake somebody can have a good bag and you can catch a big bag and make a comeback quick.

So far, hes caught every fish hes weighed in either out of hydrilla or off stumps or shell beds. Today, he concentrated on the main river, hoping to intercept some bigger fish preparing to move up to staging areas.

I changed absolutely nothing, he said. I tried to hit places at different times, but I dont feel like Ive made great decisions. Ive made good ones, but theres something Im missing. I havent figured it out yet. Im trying to hit places at the best times, but the stars havent lined up yet.

Davis has won at virtually every level at Guntersville and says a Tour win would be the ultimate triumph on his home lake.

It would mean everything, he said. Of course, I want to win a Tour event so bad I cant stand it. Ive won the BFL AOY here, Ive won BFLs and a Costa. Ive won at every level so it would be the icing on the cake.

Hes mixed up a crankbait, a jerkbait and a swimbait this week and finally caught one today on a lipless crankbait.

Its been a big mix and it all depends on where Im fishing, he said.

Hes yet to catch a fish before 9 a.m. in 3 days and he plans to alter where he goes to start the final day.

Im going to be starting at a different spot for the first 90 minutes because anything at this point would be a bonus, he noted.

4th: Sun Has Been Key for Suggs

> Day 3: 5, 17-14 (15, 51-11)

In Suggs estimation, had the cold front not come through this week, the weights wouldve been trending upward rather than leveling off. Either way, hes capitalized on the sunny conditions the last 2 days to climb into the Top 5.

Going into the tournament, I thought itd be better than it has been, he said. As soon as that front came in, it got worse. That front has backed them off and spread them out.

Hes focused exclusively on shallow grass flats with a lipless crankbait and has benefitted from the sun helping to position the fish in areas that are easier to target.

Were going back to clouds tomorrow and thats the only thing that scares me, he said. Im having to cover a lot of water. I have about eight places Im rotating through. I can rotate through them once and not get bit and then go through them again and get bit at every stop.

After boating six keepers each of the first 2 days, he totaled nine today.

Im around the kind of quality that will get me 16 or 17 pounds, he said, noting his co-angler on Friday caught 17 pounds. Im around a lot of quality fish. Im not saying 25 (pounds) is out of the question, but Im going to need that to have a shot at this and hope theres a stumble.

FLW
Photo: FLW

Scott Suggs isn't sure how the cloudy conditions Sunday will impact his pattern.

5th: Fukae Shooting for 3rd

> Day 3: 5, 16-11 (15, 51-05)

For the first 2 days, Fukaes best spot has been mostly protected from the wind. Today, the wind turned around and his spot was caught in the crosshairs.

He still managed to catch four keepers there, but he started to get concerned that the water clarity was going to deteriorate at some point. He eventually moved off of it and finished his limit elsewhere and caught several other upgrades.

I fished about 10 spots today, he said. I spent about 2 hours at that spot, then 20 or 30 minutes at the other spots. I plan to do the same rotation tomorrow, but the problem today was I saw a lot of local fishermen out there.

Hes also going to look at spots with a little deeper water in hopes of catching a couple bigger fish.

Im trying to get up to 3rd (place), he said. Thats my realistic goal. Its a good start to the year.

His best bait this week has been the SPRO Aruku Shad, a lipless crankbait that he replaces the stock hooks with Gamakatsu Aaron Martens TGW Nano Finesse trebles.

Notable

> Day 3 stats 20 anglers, 11 limits, 2 fours, 2 threes, 1 two, 3 ones, 1 zero.

Weather Forecast

> Sun., Feb. 5 Overcast - 55/46
- Wind: From the SW at 5 to 10 mph

Day 3 Standings

1. Mark Rose -- West Memphis, Ar -- 22-4 (5) -- 20-4 (5) -- 42-8 (10) -- 19-00 (5) -- 61-8 (15)

2. Bryan Thrift -- Shelby, NC -- 20-13 (5) -- 18-11 (5) -- 39-8 (10) -- 17-4 (5) -- 56-12 (15)

3. Alex Davis -- Albertville, Al -- 17-7 (5) -- 16-13 (5) -- 34-4 (10) -- 20-2 (5) -- 54-6 (15)

4. Scott Suggs -- Alexander, Ar -- 17-10 (5) -- 16-3 (5) -- 33-13 (10) -- 17-14 (5) -- 51-11 (15)

5. Shinichi Fukae -- Palestine, Tx -- 18-4 (5) -- 16-6 (5) -- 34-10 (10) -- 16-11 (5) -- 51-5 (15)

6. Christopher Brasher -- Longview, Tx -- 17-5 (5) -- 14-12 (5) -- 32-1 (10) -- 19-3 (5) -- 51-4 (15)

7. Andy Morgan -- Dayton, Tn -- 18-9 (5) -- 15-8 (5) -- 34-1 (10) -- 15-6 (5) -- 49-7 (15)

8. Justin Atkins -- Florence, Al -- 18-8 (5) -- 17-12 (5) -- 36-4 (10) -- 12-6 (4) -- 48-10 (14)

9. Brandon Cobb -- Greenwood, SC -- 12-11 (5) -- 17-10 (5) -- 30-5 (10) -- 18-5 (5) -- 48-10 (15)

10. Chris McCall -- Palmer, Tx -- 14-1 (5) -- 19-7 (5) -- 33-8 (10) -- 13-8 (5) -- 47-00 (15)

The following anglers missed the cut and will not compete on day 4.

11. Cory Johnston -- Cavan, On -- 15-8 (5) -- 16-4 (5) -- 31-12 (10) -- 14-5 (5) -- 46-1 (15) -- $12,000

12. Darrel Robertson -- Jay, Ok -- 14-10 (5) -- 17-5 (5) -- 31-15 (10) -- 13-15 (5) -- 45-14 (15) -- $12,000

13. Jason Reyes -- Huffman, Tx -- 17-11 (5) -- 16-7 (5) -- 34-2 (10) -- 8-12 (3) -- 42-14 (13) -- $12,000

14. Randy Blaukat -- Joplin, Mo -- 16-7 (5) -- 18-0 (5) -- 34-7 (10) -- 6-14 (3) -- 41-5 (13) -- $12,000

15. Bradley Dortch -- Atmore, Al -- 13-14 (5) -- 16-1 (5) -- 29-15 (10) -- 10-8 (4) -- 40-7 (14) --$12,000

16. David Dudley -- Lynchburg, Va -- 18-9 (5) -- 13-13 (4) -- 32-6 (9) -- 6-12 (2) -- 39-2 (11) -- $12,000

17. Barry Wilson -- Birmingham, Al -- 18-2 (5) -- 18-4 (5) -- 36-6 (10) -- 1-15 (1) -- 38-5 (11) -- $12,000

18. Todd Hollowell -- Fishers, In -- 20-12 (5) -- 12-11 (3) -- 33-7 (8) -- 2-11 (1) -- 36-2 (9) -- $12,000

19. Jeff Sprague -- Point, Tx -- 16-11 (4) -- 15-15 (5) -- 32-10 (9) -- 2-1 (1) -- 34-11 (10) -- $12,000

20. Jordan Osborne -- Longview, Tx -- 19-10 (3) -- 14-1 (5) -- 33-11 (8) -- 0-00 (0) -- 33-11 (8) -- $12,000