February 12, 2013
Permitted use provided by: MajorLeagueFishing.com
Jack Link’s Major League Fishing analyst Marty Stone thinks the 2013 General Tire Summit Cup Champion could be decided by a personality overlooked by many observers during the event.
Who would that be? Simple, that would be the "Man in the Moon," a figure that was glowing over western New York's 13,000-acre Chautauqua Lake each of the previous five days of the event.
Stone believes that the full moon has had a major effect in how the Summit Cup has played out each day of competition.
"We've had a full moon during this event," said Stone. "Anytime you have a full moon, you have a tremendous morning feed."
Why is that?
"A full moon is like a light switch in the kitchen at the house that stays on all night long," explained Stone.
"These fish feed all night long. The first thing that happens in the morning as dawn happens is these fish are doing their last nighttime feeding. That's what causes that leader board to blow up (early on in a day of competition)."
So the championship first period should be a fish-catching frenzy for the television cameras looking on? Maybe, maybe not says Stone.
"It's only on certain stretches and no one can ever predict it," he said. "Whoever gains that early momentum obviously has an advantage. It will be neat to see who it happens to."
Stone says it will also be interesting to see how long the rest of the field sits tight.
As a case in point, the Major League Fishing analyst nods to last year's championship round at Lake Amistad on the Texas/Mexico border near Del Rio.
During that final round, eventual winner Brent Ehrler grabbed the early morning momentum on the Lone Star State lunker factory and roared out to a commanding first-period lead.
In the second period, Ehrler kept things going and literally ran away from the other finalists (Kevin VanDam, Kelly Jordon and Mike McClelland).
And then the lone FLW pro competing in Major League Fishing put it on cruise control in the third period to easily fend off a late charge from VanDam.
All of that paved the way to Ehrler winning the inaugural Major League Fishing event and upsetting VanDam, the oft proclaimed top bass angler in the world.
During the championship round in western New York, Stone says he doesn't expect a repeat of last year's turn of events.
"It might look it at first, but I'll be shocked if it doesn't come down to the last 15 minutes," he said.
Why the difference this year? Stone thinks that the Major League Fishing pros have learned from last year's first ever competition in Texas.
"They (the finalists) know the leader board is blowing up and if they are not catching them - I've seen this more during this tournament than last fall at Amistad - then people pick up the trolling motor and go find them," he said. "They go find that angler (who is catching them)."
Stone does anticipate that the early bite will eventually ebb and die off, leaving the final period wide open for a comeback.
"Every morning, it dies off," said Stone. "Those fish are fat, they are happy, and they are done. They are done (feeding) until their mid-morning snack - as in a piscatorial mid-morning "Happy Meal?"
"If you'll notice, at the end of every first period, there will be a little flurry and then they kill the round," said Stone.
When that happens, the Major League Fishing analyst says the anglers have to hang on until lunch-time. For the fish, that is.
"When it finally picks up again midway through the second period, the bites that is, that's when these fish will be saying 'All right, we've fed (early this morning) and now it's lunchtime.'"
While Stone fully believes that someone could win the event thanks to the later bite - the lunchtime bite, if you will - he's still convinced that the champion will likely seize the momentum early.
"That early momentum, who gets on the right stretch of docks and catches those seven or eight fish and can execute on those bites, that will be key," he said. "It's cumulative weight (in this event), it's not catch your best five and bring them in. Every pound and ounce counts."
Especially with the "Man in the Moon" shining brightly over the placid waters of Chautauqua Lake.