Jeff Kriet's season was on the line heading into day 2 of last week's Cayuga Lake Bassmaster Elite Series. He'd caught a pedestrian 12-pound bag on day 1 and sat in 73rd place in the standings.
He came into the tournament at No. 43 in the Angler of the Year race and was poised to slide out of the Top 50 – and thus fail to qualify for the AOY Championship, which would cost him an opportunity to compete for a 2015 Classic berth. He needed to bounce back with a much stronger sack.
He did just that, bringing a 16-11 stringer to the scale. It moved him up 29 places in the standings and he gained two more the following day to finish 42nd. That moved him up to 41st on the final points list and secured his spot in the AOY Championship next month at Michigan's Bays de Noc.
"My biggest problem the first day was I had two or three different deals going on," he said. "I thought I could catch them cranking, I thought I could catch them casting around some deep grass and I thought I could catch them flipping the deep grass with a big weight. I think I tried to do too much.
"I knew on the second day that if I didn't pull it together, it was going to cost me my chance at the Classic. I just picked up the big rod and flipped grass all day."
He flipped a Big Bite Baits Yo Mama under a punch skirt and 1-ounce weight, all attached to 65-pound braided line.
"I felt like I could've done it the third day, too. I had two 4-pounders, but it was real cloudy and windy and I couldn't see the grass heads and I basically had to blind-flip.
"The fish were in clusters. You could go a long time with no bites and then you'd get around them and you might flip up six or seven."
The Sunline Strong Performer, which focuses on the angler who makes the most significant single-day move in the standings at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.