Mike Auten completed a solid tournament on Table Rock, capturing the 52nd slot with a two-day total of 15 pounds and 8 ounces of Missouri bass on the strength of a strong second day where he caught 13 pounds and 11 ounces.
"It was a stark contrast from (Thursday)," said a smiling Auten. "I ran way up the lake and caught probably 30-40 non-keepers. Today (Friday), I just opted to go down by the dam and catch them in areas I had caught them in years past. I threw a Pointer 100 jerkbait in a Chartreuse shad color. I really had one bite until about 10 o'clock. I fished a stretch I hadn't fished in about five years and it was right before the wind started blowing. I made four or five passes and finished out my limit on this stretch. After the wind started blowing, they just started knocking at the bait. I was throwing about a 10-pound test line and fishing a pea gravel bank with a creek channel swinging into it."
Auten recapped his 2005 season.
year was full of distractions," Auten said. "I have some projects
in the work with Classic Patterns and other stuff I'm working on. I
want to see that succeed, but it's tough to do two things at once, but
you want to be your best at it. At some point I'll have to make a decision
about what I want to do. When you're working on your computer instead
of your tackle, the fishing is going to suffer."
A frustrating first day on Table Rock set the stage for Lucky Craft Pro Staff Angler Skeet Reese, as he wound up ninth in the AOY battle. He did however, come back strong on day two, nabbing a five-fish limit weighing 12 pounds and 3 ounces to finish in the 70th spot.
"I caught a couple in the afternoon on a Lucky Crafty jerkbait and caught the last one about 15 minutes before weigh in," Reese said. "I'm happy I caught five today. After (Thursday) I knew I didn't have a shot at Angler of the Year, but I stayed in the top 10 - so I'm tickled to death.
"I had a good season," Reese said. "But I only made one cut and didn't win anything. I had a pretty decent points season and from a financial standpoint it was pretty good. I still didn't reach my goal, which is Angler of the Year. It's still a little disappointing, but I had a chance at it going into the final tournament of the year. As long as I can keep putting myself in these situations, hopefully sooner or later I will get it."
Reese discussed how he caught them on Friday.
"I picked up a jerkbait this afternoon and just started catching them," Reese explained. "I used a Pointer 100 in Chartreuse shad, throwing 10-pound Trilene Sensation and making as long of casts as I could out on points. I was able to catch two that way. They weren't big ones, but I was happy to get them. I was tickled to death to catch five today after yesterday.
fish were in typical patterns for this time of the year," Reese
added. "They would pull up to an area and feed in lowlight conditions.
It didn't matter what the water temperatures were. Once the wind started
blowing, it shifted the bait around these peninsulas and that's how
they were catching the fish.
Takahiro Omori wound up in the 79th position, taking home 10 pounds and 10 ounces of bass. Despite his disappointment, he's ready for his first Elite 50 Series tournament to begin.
"I really like the small, 50-boat fields in the E50 Series," Omori said. "I like the fact that all 50 fisherman respect each other's water as well. I was just outside the top 50 last year, but this year I was able to get in. So I hope I'm going to make the top 10 and see what happens in the Classic."
Omori discussed what he did on Table Rock.
threw a lot of the Pointer Series this week," Omori said. "I
also used a little finesse worm and a jig. It's amazing how many three
pounders this place really had and I caught as many as five fish every
day, but only a few of them were keepers. I don't know how to describe
it, but it's a tough sport to consistently do well in. I was expecting
to get a good jerkbait bite and Pointer bite but it didn't happen for
Gerald Swindle had a frustrating end to the 2005 season, winding up in 131st on Table Rock Lake. The 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year talked about the disappointment.
"I'm speechless, clueless and disappointed," Swindle said. "I've never had such a bad tournament like I had at Clarks Hill and that rolled right into Lake Norman. It seems like I'm running down hill, out of control. I don't know why either.
"It's not like I'm not focused on fishing, but I just can't seem to catch a break this year," Swindle added. "I'm an emotional wreck right now trying to figure it out. Just when I think I can catch one and start the run - I seem to fall down. I work and work, get my first big bite of the day and lose it. I shake it off, work and work, get another one and lose it. It's like something's there that's not letting me get out of the gate."
Kelly Jordon also had a less than desirable finish. The Texas angler wound up in 139th place.
"I was excited about coming here because I love this lake," Jordon said. "It was a lot colder than it should have been though. I was expecting a lot more pre-spawn activity, but they seem to still be really grouped up in schools. They are still in their wintertime patterns and fishing was tough.
had a fairly good practice," Jordon continued. "I caught a
four and half pound largemouth my first cast of the week. It caught
him on a Slender Pointer 127. That bait is awesome and I simply love
it because it gets down pretty deep and I can really catch them on it."