By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

For the second time this year, a day-1 leader at a Bassmaster Elite Series event bombed all the way out of the top-35 cut on day 2. This time it was Paul Mueller, who ironically was the winner of the first tournament in which it occurred.

Mueller, who boxed a day-best 22-14 in the opening round at Alabama's Lake Guntersville, zeroed on day 2 and plummeted all the way to 68th place in the 74-angler field. That allowed Matt Arey and Brandon Lester, who entered the day in 2nd and 3rd, respectively, to move up one place each with their second straight 20-plus-pound stringers.

Mueller captured his first tour-level win at Lake Lanier in February after day-1 pacesetter Jeff Gustafson caught just two fish for 5 pounds on the second day to finish 48th. His first-round sack far exceeded his expectations after a mediocre practice and that was followed by a day on which he managed just two non-keeper bites from the offshore locales that had been so fruitful a day earlier.

"I really don't have any good excuses," he said. "Maybe I should've gone shallow or done something completely different, but it's hard to do that when you think it's maybe a timing thing and you know that sometimes, with deep fish, you can get healthy real quick. It's hard to scrap everything and go shallow when you know it's probably going to be won out deep.

"I could've caught 10 pounds and fished (on day 3), but I decided to keep fishing or 20. I'm disappointed because I hurt myself points-wise, but these things happen sometimes in this sport. I just have to erase this and move on."

Arey, a two-time FLW Tour winner who's in his first season on the Elite Series, boxed 21-06 to take over the top slot with 44-00. He has a 9-ounce lead over Lester, who weighed 21-07.

Ray Hanselman Jr. climbed from 37th to 3rd with a 24-01 sack for a 40-03 aggregate. Drew Benton (18-04, 39-07) and veteran Matt Herren (20-11, 39-06) completed the top 5.

Kelley Jaye, a Dadeville, Ala. resident with a ton of experience on Guntersville, caught a tournament-best 24-12 to jump from 47th to 6th with 39-05. He's deadlocked with Hank Cherry, who sacked 17-15 on day 2.

Bill Lowen (19-09, 38-00), Chris Johnston (15-15, 37-13) and Chris Zaldain (19-13, 37-00) comprised the remainder of the top 10.

It was another warm, humid day in the Scottsboro, Ala. area, with a bit more cloud cover the previous day. There were a couple of mid-day thundershowers in the wake of a night that saw heavy wind and rain.

Weights were down a bit overall most likely due to the increased local traffic on a Saturday. There were just six 20-pound bags caught (14 came to the scale on day 1).



B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Brandon Lester loaded up early on day 2 after doing most of his damage in the afternoon of the previous day.

Arey staged a late-day rally to land at the top of the leaderboard. He said he didn't catch a single fish from a place where he'd scored on day 1.

"I had 3 pounds at 10 o'clock, and then things started happening after that," he said. "I kept rotating areas until I found active fish that were bunched up the way I wanted to see them on the graph."

His sack was headed up by a 6-pounder. He caught about 10 keepers and lost one that definitely would've helped him, as he was forced to weigh a 2 1/4-pounder.

He fished primarily offshore, but also flipped some grass. His deep fish were enticed by reaction baits.

"I had a 45-minute flurry that I think was between 11 and 12 (o'clock) then it died again, so it wasn't like it was fast and furious all day. I went to the grass later on, but I wasn't able to cull."

The bulk of Lester's weight came late on day 1, but it was just the opposite on day 2, when the initial part of the day was far more productive for him.

"I think it was because we had the wind this morning that stirs things up and gets everything kind of happening," he said. "It gets them positioned (on the ledges) a little bit earlier."

He caught at least 40 keepers, the biggest of which was a 5 1/4-pounder. He hasn't lost a quality bite to this point.

"Yesterday I caught most of them dragging, but today I caught some on moving baits. Yesterday it was so calm and they really didn't want that stuff."

Mueller caught his big day-1 bag on two Reins Bubbling Shaker worms (a 10-incher on a magnum shaky-head and a 7-incher on a dropshot rig). Those enticed only a pair of 14 1/2-inch fish on day 2.

"I never had any big schools of fish and I think with the cloud cover, the fish were more scattered," he said. "I'm not going to use local pressure as an excuse because that's something everybody has to deal with at Guntersville, but a lot of places had people already fishing before I got there. I looked at some other stuff that I thought was good, but it had other competitors on it and I wasn't going to get in anybody's way.

"You're constantly learning in this sport and unfortunately these things happen. But if you learn from them, they'll make you better in the long run."

Notable

> Day 2 stats 74 anglers, 69 limits (1 more than day 1), 2 fours, 1 three, 1 two, 1 zero (1 more than day 1).

Weather Forecast

> Sun., June 23 Partly Cloudy - 91/72
- Wind: From SW at 6 mph

> Mon., June 24 Scattered T-Storms - 86/69
- Wind: From the SW at 9 mph

Day 2 Standings

1. Matt Arey -- Shelby, NC -- 10, 44-00 -- 100
Day 1: 5, 22-10 -- Day 2: 5, 21-06

2. Brandon Lester -- Fayetteville, TN -- 10, 43-07 -- 99
Day 1: 5, 22-00 -- Day 2: 5, 21-07

3. Ray Hanselman Jr -- Del Rio, TX -- 10, 40-03 -- 98
Day 1: 5, 16-02 -- Day 2: 5, 24-01

4. Drew Benton -- Panama City, FL -- 10, 39-07 -- 97
Day 1: 5, 21-03 -- Day 2: 5, 18-04

5. Matt Herren -- Ashville, AL -- 10, 39-06 -- 96
Day 1: 5, 18-11 -- Day 2: 5, 20-11

6. Kelley Jaye -- Dadeville, AL -- 10, 39-05 -- 95
Day 1: 5, 14-09 -- Day 2: 5, 24-12

7. Hank Cherry Jr -- Lincolnton, NC -- 10, 39-05 -- 94
Day 1: 5, 21-06 -- Day 2: 5, 17-15

8. Bill Lowen -- Brookville, IN -- 10, 38-00 -- 93
Day 1: 5, 18-07 -- Day 2: 5, 19-09

9. Chris Johnston -- Peterborough, ON 10 -- 37-13 -- 92
Day 1: 5, 21-14 -- Day 2: 5, 15-15

10. Chris Zaldain -- Fort Worth, TX -- 10, 37-00 -- 91
Day 1: 5, 17-03 -- Day 2: 5, 19-13

11. Caleb Sumrall -- New Iberia, LA -- 10, 36-12 -- 90
Day 1: 5, 20-02 -- Day 2: 5, 16-10

12. Chad Pipkens -- Lansing, MI -- 10, 36-09 -- 89
Day 1: 5, 18-04 -- Day 2: 5, 18-05

13. Lee Livesay -- Gladewater, TX -- 10, 36-06 -- 88
Day 1: 5, 20-08 -- Day 2: 5, 15-14

14. Dale Hightower -- Mannford, OK -- 10, 36-05 -- 87
Day 1: 5, 20-04 -- Day 2: 5, 16-01

15. Carl Jocumsen -- Queensland, AUS -- 10 -- 35-12 -- 86
Day 1: 5, 20-06 -- Day 2: 5, 15-06

16. Seth Feider -- New Market, MN -- 10, 35-11 -- 85
Day 1: 5, 18-08 -- Day 2: 5, 17-03

17. Jamie Hartman -- Newport, NY -- 10, 35-07 -- 84
Day 1: 5, 14-13 -- Day 2: 5, 20-10

18. Tyler Rivet -- Raceland, LA -- 10, 34-11 -- 83
Day 1: 5, 20-08 -- Day 2: 5, 14-03

19. Randy Pierson -- Oakdale, CA -- 10, 34-11 -- 82
Day 1: 5, 18-14 -- Day 2: 5, 15-13

20. Cory Johnston -- Cavan, ON -- 10, 34-11 -- 81
Day 1: 5, 18-07 -- Day 2: 5, 16-04

21. Brock Mosley -- Collinsville, MS -- 10, 34-10 -- 80
Day 1: 5, 18-14 -- Day 2: 5, 15-12

22. Clark Wendlandt -- Leander, TX -- 10, 34-02 -- 79
Day 1: 5, 20-14 -- Day 2: 5, 13-04

23. Robbie Latuso -- Gonzales, LA -- 10, 34-01 -- 78
Day 1: 5, 16-00 -- Day 2: 5, 18-01

24. Bill Weidler -- Helena, AL -- 10, 33-10 -- 77
Day 1: 5, 18-15 -- Day 2: 5, 14-11

25. Drew Cook -- Midway, FL -- 10, 33-10 -- 76
Day 1: 5, 17-10 -- Day 2: 5, 16-00

26. Greg DiPalma -- Millville, NJ -- 10, 33-00 -- 75
Day 1: 5, 19-08 -- Day 2: 5, 13-08

27. Scott Canterbury -- Odenville, AL -- 10, 32-15 -- 74
Day 1: 5, 18-13 -- Day 2: 5, 14-02

28. Bernie Schultz -- Gainesville, FL -- 10, 32-11 -- 73
Day 1: 5, 20-07 -- Day 2: 5, 12-04

29. Clent Davis -- Montevallo, AL -- 10, 32-10 -- 72
Day 1: 5, 20-00 -- Day 2: 5, 12-10

30. Brandon Cobb -- Greenwood, SC -- 10, 32-07 -- 71
Day 1: 5, 19-12 -- Day 2: 5, 12-11

31. Gary Clouse -- Winchester, TN -- 10, 32-07 -- 70
Day 1: 5, 18-03 -- Day 2: 5, 14-04

32. Mark Menendez -- Paducah, KY -- 10, 32-05 -- 69
Day 1: 5, 13-00 -- Day 2: 5, 19-05

33. Shane Lineberger -- Lincolnton, NC -- 10, 32-03 -- 68
Day 1: 5, 14-07 -- Day 2: 5, 17-12

34. Quentin Cappo -- Prairieville, LA -- 10, 31-13 -- 67
Day 1: 5, 18-04 -- Day 2: 5, 13-09

35. Garrett Paquette -- Canton, MI -- 10, 31-10 -- 66
Day 1: 5, 19-15 -- Day 2: 5, 11-11

The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 3.

36. Frank Talley -- Temple, TX -- 10, 31-07 -- 65 -- $5,000
Day 1: 5, 12-11 -- Day 2: 5, 18-12

37. David Mullins -- Mt Carmel, TN -- 10, 31-03 -- 64 -- $5,000
Day 1: 5, 12-08 -- Day 2: 5, 18-11

38. Clifford Pirch -- Payson, AZ -- 10, 30-10 -- 63 -- $5,000
Day 1: 5, 16-10 -- Day 2: 5, 14-00

39. Skylar Hamilton -- Dandridge, TN -- 10, 30-08 -- 62 -- $5,000
Day 1: 5, 13-09 -- Day 2: 5, 16-15

40. Yusuke Miyazaki -- Forney, TX -- 10, 30-07 -- 61 -- $5,000
Day 1: 5, 15-10 -- Day 2: 5, 14-13

41. Jason Williamson -- Wagener, SC -- 10, 30-06 -- 60 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 14-07 -- Day 2: 5, 15-15

42. John Crews Jr -- Salem, VA -- 10, 29-15 -- 59 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 12-06 -- Day 2: 5, 17-09

43. Rick Morris -- Lake Gaston, VA -- 10, 29-13 -- 58 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 16-06 -- Day 2: 5, 13-07

44. Brian Snowden -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 10, 29-10 -- 57 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 15-00 -- Day 2: 5, 14-10

45. Keith Combs -- Huntington, TX -- 10, 29-08 -- 56 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 16-00 -- Day 2: 5, 13-08

46. Chris Groh -- Spring Grove, IL -- 8, 29-06 -- 55 -- $2,500
Day 1: 4, 16-10 -- Day 2: 4, 12-12

47. Luke Palmer -- Coalgate, OK -- 10, 29-03 -- 54 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 13-05 -- Day 2: 5, 15-14

48. Derek Hudnall -- Baton Rouge, LA -- 10, 29-02 -- 53 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 12-05 -- Day 2: 5, 16-13

49. Shane LeHew -- Catawba, NC -- 10, 28-14 -- 52 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 17-09 -- Day 2: 5, 11-05

50. Stetson Blaylock -- Benton, AR -- 10, 28-07 -- 51 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 14-14 -- Day 2: 5, 13-09

51. Kyle Monti -- Okeechobee, FL -- 10, 28-04 -- 50 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 15-10 -- Day 2: 5, 12-10

52. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, AL -- 10, 28-02 -- 49 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 18-01 -- Day 2: 5, 10-01

53. Cliff Prince -- Palatka, FL -- 10, 27-13 -- 48 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 18-12 -- Day 2: 5, 09-01

54. David Fritts -- Lexington, NC -- 10, 27-02 -- 47 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 13-02 -- Day 2: 5, 14-00

55. Todd Auten -- Lake Wylie, SC -- 10, 26-12 -- 46 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 15-11 -- Day 2: 5, 11-01

56. Brad Whatley -- Bivins, TX -- 10, 26-12 -- 45 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 12-04 -- Day 2: 5, 14-08

57. Patrick Walters -- Summerville, SC -- 10, 26-04 -- 44 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 09-06 -- Day 2: 5, 16-14

58. Koby Kreiger -- Alva, FL -- 10, 26-04 -- 43 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 11-09 -- Day 2: 5, 14-11

59. Brett Preuett -- Monroe, LA -- 9, 25-10 -- 42 -- $2,500
Day 1: 4, 10-07 -- Day 2: 5, 15-03

60. Hunter Shryock -- Newcomerstown, OH -- 10, 25-10 -- 41 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 13-07 -- Day 2: 5, 12-03

61. Jake Whitaker -- Fairview, NC -- 10, 24-14 -- 40 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 10-10 -- Day 2: 5, 14-04

62. Micah Frazier -- Newnan, GA -- 10, 24-12 -- 39 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 12-04 -- Day 2: 5, 12-08

63. Chad Morgenthaler -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 10, 24-09 -- 38 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 09-10 -- Day 2: 5, 14-15

64. Brandon Card -- Knoxville, TN -- 10, 24-09 -- 37 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 11-03 -- Day 2: 5, 13-06

65. Rob Digh -- Denver, NC -- 10, 24-00 -- 36 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 10-13 -- Day 2: 5, 13-03

66. Ed Loughran III -- Richmond, VA -- 10, 23-02 -- 35 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 13-11 -- Day 2: 5, 09-07

67. Jeff Gustafson -- Keewatin, ON -- 10 -- 23-01 -- 34 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 11-14 -- Day 2: 5, 11-03

68. Paul Mueller -- Naugatuck, CT -- 5, 22-14 -- 33 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 22-14 -- Day 2: 0, 00-00

69. Jay Yelas -- Lincoln City, OR -- 7, 20-03 -- 32 -- $2,500
Day 1: 5, 15-05 -- Day 2: 2, 04-14

70. Mike Huff -- Corbin, KY -- 8, 17-10 -- 31 -- $2,500
Day 1: 3, 07-12 -- Day 2: 5, 09-14

71. Harvey Horne -- Bella Vista, AR -- 7, 15-13 -- 30 -- $2,500
Day 1: 2, 01-14 -- Day 2: 5, 13-15

72. Randy Sullivan -- Breckenridge, TX -- 6, 15-02 -- 29 -- $2,500
Day 1: 1, 02-06 -- Day 2: 5, 12-12

73. Rick Clunn -- Ava, MO -- 6, 13-06 -- 28 -- $2,500
Day 1: 3, 05-12 -- Day 2: 3, 07-10

74. Tyler Carriere -- Youngsville, LA -- 6, 12-13 -- 27 -- $2,500
Day 1: 2, 03-11 -- Day 2: 4, 09-02