It's a rare BASS professional tournament that's won without the victor catching a limit. That sort of thing is nearly impossible given the level of competition. And yet, that's exactly what Mike Pharr did on Lake Texoma last week.
After a first day that would have put most bass anglers down for the count, 27-year-old Trevor Fitzgerald stuck with his plan. The result was a stellar performance on Friday and Saturday which earned him a Southern Open win.
Elite Series pro Russ Lane won the first postseason event of 2010 on Lake Jordan by cranking deep schools of bass holding on river ledges. What really made the difference for him, however, was his ability to take nearly every fish from the school.
It had to be special: Russ Lane coming from a four-way tie for last place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings to within five points of winning the title to start this week's second, and final, event of the postseason...
The first Bassmaster Northern Open was marked by shifting winds which created ever-changing conditions. Elite Series pro Dave Wolak persevered and managed to put together three very respectable bags of bass to take the win by just over a pound.
We could just as easily call this one the VanDam Triumph. He held his first-place slot all four days. The real battle was between brothers-in-law Edwin Evers and Terry Butcher, who claimed second and third place, respectively.
Clarks Hill was no walk in the park. The bite was tough, but three anglers rose above the rest of the field. For the winner, it was a hometown boy's dream come true. For the other two, it was a lesson on the realities of professional bass fishing.
The 2010 Southern Open presented by Bass Pro Shops on Smith Lake was a mixed bag. For the winner, Andy Montgomery, it was a dream come true. For Gerald Swindle, the second place finisher, it was a nightmare.
The issue facing the anglers at the Southern Challenge wasn't catching bass. The real problem was how to cull out the little ones while preserving the big ones. Not surprisingly, the better anglers rose to the occasion.
Last week's event on Smith Mountain was a mixture of aggressive bass heading toward the beds and those that had already arrived. The top finisher took advantage of both, as did the anglers who tied for big fish honors.
The first Central Open of the 2010 season is in the books. Each of the two top anglers chose a different bait as their primary weapon but managed to find fish in the same neighborhood, under similar conditions.