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ALPENA, Mich. – The first day of competition of the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2014 General Tire Summit Cup was a tight day of competition with relatively low weights. Elimination Day Two proved to be just the opposite. While there was a battle for fourth place, the last qualifying position, the race for first wasn’t even close. Total weights improved as well. In fact, the top qualifying weight from Day One would have barely been enough for fourth place on Day Two.
A soupy fog in the mornings was causing slight delays. However, those delays did give the anglers a little more time to scout the map on their locators while waiting in the parking lot.
The anglers used that time to try and locate points of interest on their Navionics map that they could scout during their 15-minute runaround. Once they were let loose after the fog delay, they discovered that even on a relatively small body of water like Hubbard, 15 minutes isn’t much time to scout.
Brent Ehrler, the FLW Tour Pro from Redlands, Calif., proved how strong an angler he is by being the first and most frequent angler to hit the leaderboard.
The 2012 Challenge Cup champ said that he located his primary fishing spot during the morning scouting session on his locator; he knew it had potential. "It was a flat on the inside of a large point on the northeast part of the lake that met with the first drop off into deeper water," said Ehrler.
"I've found that smallmouth will hold on that line there and ambush up into the shallows. It can be easy to see too, because the shallower water is light colored, and the deep water is darker."
Ehrler targeted that edge and created so much distance between himself and the rest of the field that it left little doubt as to who would be the angler to win the round.
He chose a trio of topwater baits to target those rolling edges. Smallmouth would rocket from the edge in an ambush. One thing that helped his topwater approach was the hatch of insects that covered the lake, bringing panfish to the surface, which helped agitate the smallmouth.
However, it wasn't only Ehrler’s technique and targeted areas that help him dominate the day; he showed his caginess on the water as well.
Anytime Ehrler would hear or see a competitor’s boat nearing him, he would put down his topwater bait and pick up an umbrella rig, a swimbait or a dropshot to make long casts into deep water in an effort to divert his competition off of the pattern he had found.
Ehrler’s game plan produced one of the more lopsided finishes in the history of Major League Fishing to date. The strategy produced a winning weight 62 pounds, 2 ounces of Hubbard Lake bronzebacks, which was nearly 22 pounds ahead of second-place finisher Greg Hackney with 40 pounds, 7 ounces.
The anglers rounding out the top four were Aaron Martens with 34-12, and Bobby Lane with 22-05.
While the top four anglers of Elimination Day Two advanced to the Sudden Death Semifinal Round, what they learned on Hubbard might not apply. Sudden Death will be contested on a completely different body of water.
Watch Outdoor Channel on Saturday, January 25, for the first round of Sudden Death to see how the anglers adapt. Find out which anglers overcome the adversity of a new lake and the added pressure of a cutline to move on to the Championship.
2014 Summit Cup: Elimination Day Two Final Standings
Top four anglers advance, bottom four are eliminated
|Angler ||Weight (lbs) ||Total Fish ||Avg Weight (lbs) ||Biggest Fish (lbs) ||Last Fish (lbs) |
|Brent Ehrler ||62 lb 02 oz ||18 ||3 lb 07 oz ||4 lb 14 oz ||2 lb 04 oz |
|Greg Hackney ||40 lb 07 oz ||13 ||3 lb 02 oz ||4 lb 05 oz ||3 lb 13 oz |
|Aaron Martens ||34 lb 12 oz ||17 ||2 lb 01 oz ||3 lb 12 oz ||1 lb 13 oz |
|Bobby Lane ||22 lb 05 oz ||8 ||2 lb 13 oz ||4 lb 06 oz ||3 lb 06 oz |
|Alton Jones ||21 lb 02 oz ||13 ||1 lb 10 oz ||2 lb 13 oz ||1 lb 00 oz |
|Takahiro Omori ||17 lb 12 oz ||8 ||2 lb 04 oz ||4 lb 05 oz ||2 lb 13 oz |
|Dean Rojas ||14 lb 02 oz ||8 ||1 lb 12 oz ||2 lb 10 oz ||1 lb 02 oz |
|Mike Iaconelli ||5 lb 12 oz ||4 ||1 lb 07 oz ||1 lb 11 oz ||1 lb 10 oz |
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