After day 1 of last week's Lake Hartwell FLW Tour, West Virginia rookie Ryan Davidson appeared headed for his second straight finish in the bottom half of the standings. That all changed on day 2.
After weighing a paltry 8-15 sack on opening day, he popped a 19-09 stringer the following day to climb 85 places in the standings (from 92nd to 5th). He ended up finishing 9th.
"I basically caught them in the same areas that I fished on day 1," he said. "In practice I'd found some largemouths in creeks with stained water, but that water had cleared up when the tournament started.
"We had that rain that moved in between the end of day 1 and the morning of day 2. I was afraid the creeks would be blown out with mud, but it had created some really good mudlines in the backs of all of them. That pushed a bunch of fish up extremely shallow – like less than 2 feet."
He had four decent fish within the first half-hour on day 2, then left and caught a 5-pounder from an offshore locale he hadn't been able to work on day 1 due to the strong winds. After that, he went back to the shallow stuff and boated a 3 1/2 and a 6 in short order.
"When the sun came out later in the day, that put them right back in the mudlines. I did that the rest of the day and culled a 12- or 13-pound limit."
He tricked those shallow fish with a 3/8-ounce Elite Bait Shop spinnerbait (chartreuse/pearl skirt with tandem No. 3 gold Colorado and willow-leaf blades).
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.