One of the worst things that could happen to an angler in a tournament where sight-fishing is expected to be a predominant pattern is to draw a late boat number.
Fred Roumbanis was the 106th of 108 boats to leave the dock on day 1 at the St. Johns River Elite Series last week and it's safe to say, all of his desired stopping points were covered up by other competitors or local anglers.
"It was devastating," he said. "The few fish I had pegged on beds when I ran down to the other end of George were already gone. The other stuff I had, Greg Hackney was on it. I had another fish on bed about 100 yards and a local was on it, but it wasn't there any more."
He scraped around throwing a frog and wound up boating five males that weighed 9-10 that put him in 85th.
He was third out of the gates on day 2 and his luck turned almost immediately.
"I stumbled across a 7 that ate my (Gene Larew) Hoodaddy out of nowhere," he said. "Then I caught an 8-14 in the eelgrass. After that, I went looking for new water for day 3."
It was the third 8-pounder he's weighed in so far this season and it anchored his 20-11 stringer that earned him a paycheck. He followed it up with 18-08 on day 3 to finish 23rd with 48-13. He was one of two anglers to weigh a sub-10-pound bag on day 1 and bounce back to earn a check.
"I'd found an area I had to myself and caught a limit on the (Larew) Three-Legged Frog," he said. "Then I flipped blindly in the eelgrass and wound up catching two almost 5 pounds and another 4."
He said he had one 40-minute stretch where he caught 25 bass just fishing around.
"Once I figured that out, oh my goodness," he said. "When you get on them there and they start biting, it's the most insane thing ever."
Bouncing back to earn a solid finish put some salve on the wound created by his 95th-place result at Lake Seminole the week prior.
"The thing about Seminole that hurt me was I had the best practice of my life there," he said. "I had 32 pounds one day. Everywhere I stopped had a giant bite. Then, the wind blew and it bit me bad.
"This game is so much about momentum and when I had lost my momentum there and started St. Johns feeling down, I was pretty grumpy. It was great to have my family there to remind me what it was all about and I went out and had fun the next day."
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.