Day 3 is sometimes called disappointment day. That's when the bite usually turns tougher, and the lead flip-flops. It happened today, as many expected, but not because of beat-up fish, boat traffic or a local tournament.
The harsh East Coast weather pattern found its way to Chapin, S.C. site of the Chevy Open (Murray FLW). All 10 anglers woke to low-20s temperatures, the weights tumbled and Arkansas' Brennan Bosley now leads with his 20-15 limit.
Bosley may be riding a wave of momentum. He had a huge day 2 (26-05) that moved him into the cut from way back at 74th.
Local Anthony Gagliardi is currently 2nd the same position he's held every day so far. His 19-00 limit puts him 1-15 behind Bosley.
Tim Carroll, who led days 1 and 2, lost a big bite today and only weighed three fish. He's 6-04 off the lead.
Dave Wolak's 12-12 limit puts him 4th 8-03 off the lead - and Arizona's Cliff Pirch is currently 5th with four fish for 10-02.
It would be easy to pick Bosley or Gagliardi as the eventual winner if not for two factors. One is the sheer size of Murray fish. Pirch, in 5th, is about 10 pounds off the lead, but record sacks swim here so 10 pounds isn't too much to make up.
And with the weather that's due, it could happen. A strong cold front it set to move through the area with significant winds tomorrow. If that dismantles the patterns for both Bosley or Gagliardi which it might it leaves the tournament wide-open.
Also noteworthy: Bosley's not a local, so he doesn't have a backup book as deep as Gagliardi's.
Cleary, anything can, and probably will, happen tomorrow.
Bosley Won't Abandon Ship
Bosley knows the weather could become a major factor tomorrow, but he's come too far to give up what he's got if things change. But he noted he wanted a little more weight today there was one fish he just couldn't dump.
"I feel good, but I was a little disappointed," he said. "I had one I would have liked to cull. It was a really tough day though, and everybody had a tough bite."
He noted he had "only five bites today," but got them all in the boat. "I really can't complain. I went out and did my thing. I threw a crankbait. It worked today. We'll try it tomorrow and see what happens."
He's not really sure why his bite was tougher today. "It was probably a combination of things the fish were beat up, and the weather. When we got up it was 23 or 24 degrees here. The water temp was making a real slow climb like it does after a week of cold weather, and I think it wore on them."
And if the bite continues to head south? "There's no way I'll abandon ship," he said. "I've been doing this exact same thing for well over a week, and I've seen what it can produce.
"Every day during practice I could have had a better sack than I did today. So I can't pull the plug. Ill just keep truckin'. I've always kind of modeled myself after Kevin VanDam. He likes to go for broke and catch fish that are active. I just need to catch five tomorrow."
Anthony Gagliardi's a little concerned about tomorrow's potential wind.
Gagliardi 'Ounces' Behind
Yes, Gagliardi's 2 pounds behind Bosley. But as Gagliardi said, "That's like ounces at most other places."
He caught his second-largest sack of the tournament today (19-00) and actually started working some newer stuff.
"I feel good about today, but I lost a big one," he said. "I'm kind of upset about that. I had a big one on that would have put quite a bit of distance between me and 2nd place."
He noted he had more bites today than either days 1 or 2, "and caught some on something (he) hadn't been doing" previously.
That "something" was brush. And since he's a local, he's got a lot of brush he can touch tomorrow. "The wind may be pushing them into the brush where they hadn't been holding yet. I got two brush bites today, one of which was the big one I lost."
He's concerned about the cold front though. "I'm a little worried about that. The wind makes it real hard for me to fish a lot of my stuff. They said 30 mph (winds) for tomorrow, but the local news said it'll be around 12 (mph).
"I'm fishing pretty slow, so it's difficult to hold my boat in the right position in wind," he added. "I can't fish effectively when the wind's blowing too hard. And I don't think they're biting as well in the wind.
"When it's calm and sunny that's the better conditions for deep fish right now."
He also noted he has "no idea" what weight he might need tomorrow. "(Bosley) could come in with 10 pounds, or 29. You just can't tell."
Carroll Had Off-Day
Carroll led days 1 and 2. He whacked a huge 28-01 sack on day 1, then laid off on day 2 and still led after catching 16-08. He had the potential for another big sack today, but messed up and came onstage with three fish for 14-11.
"I had the bites and I just fished terrible," he said. "I had another good, solid 5- to 7-pounder on and it just came unhooked.
"I had my head where it shouldn't have been on another one. I thought I was hung in a rock, and then it started swimming off. The wind was blowing bad and I had a big bow in my line and never connected. So I had six bites and caught three."
Like everyone else, he knows about the weather coming tomorrow. "I have to put a plan together to get out of the wind best as I can. I'm not going to change anything. I'll still fish a deep jig, and I have places where I can get out of the wind whatever direction it blows.
"Hopefully they're biting in those places."
If that doesn't work, he does have a backup. "If I have to go shallow to get out of the wind, I can. I have a small crankbait bite going.
"I feel pretty good about it," he added. "I'm getting a big bite or two every day, and I don't see that changing. The fish are still there I can still see them on my Lowrance graph. It's just a matter of getting them to bite.
"This front could trigger them tomorrow they could go crazy."
Pirch, in 5th with 10-02, never got things going today.
"It was tough," he said. "I didn't get a lot of momentum going. That's what I've been doing getting half-a-dozen or 10 strikes and making something out of it.
"Today I stumbled a little. I didn't really make any mistakes mechanically I just didn't get it together. I think they're still there so tomorrow I could go out and do a whole lot better job."
He faces 11 pounds of ground to make up tomorrow, but knows it's doable. He's seen setups like this before with the combination of big fish and bad weather, and he's fishing for big bites.
"I got a couple of 7s on one day of practice, but I haven't caught one since the tournament started. I'm mostly fishing a StrikeWorks jig and a shallow crank going for big ones."
Smith Couldn't Find Size
Oklahoma's David Smith caught an 8-11 limit today quite a drop from the 16-04 and 19-05 he caught the first 2 days. That put him in 7th - 12-04 behind Bosley.
This is his 10th year on the Tour, but only his second Top 10.
"I did get a lot of bites today, but no good fish," he said. "I just never caught sizable fish. Yesterday I caught an 8-02 and a 5. On Wednesday (day 1) I had 16 pounds and a lot of 3-pounders.
"It was tougher today. It's just the cold, and the wind the weather's just real tough. I think it's starting to affect them. Everybody's having a hard time getting bites."
He thinks he'll change tomorrow and focus more on the crankbait. "It's supposed to be rainy, and I caught some big fish on a crank. I've been casting to shallow-water stumps, and I may use the crankbait more."
> Day 3 stats 10 anglers, 4 limits, no zeroes.
> Pirch finished 41st at the Okeechobee opener, and this Top 10 his second in tour-level competition will improve his points standing. "I'm glad to have a great start," he said. "I was real excited about getting a Top 10. With this kind of competition, they're all great fishermen. I just feel extremely fortunate to get in the Top 10."
> In 10 years of FLW Tour competition, this is Smith's 2nd Top 10. "It's a tough field out there in FLW," he said. "These are young guys between 25 and 35 and they can fish. So I feel real good about this tournament. I didn't talk to anyone and I came up with areas where I thought I could catch fish. It feels good."
> Matt Herren had a rough day he's in 10th with two fish for 2-05. "I just didn't get any bites today," he said. "I hadn't been getting a lot of bites - I'd just been getting quality bites. But something changed and I can't put my finger on it."
Here's the Weather Channel's forecast for Saturday (day 4).
Sat., Feb. 11 Scattered T-Storms/Wind 49°/32°
> Wind: From the SSW at 18 mph
Day 3 Standings
1. Brennan Bosley -- Benton, Ar -- 5, 20-15
2. Anthony Gagliardi -- Prosperity, Sc -- 5, 19-00
3. Tim Carroll -- Owasso, Ok -- 3, 14-11
4. David Wolak -- Warrior Run, Pa -- 5, 12-12
5. Clifford Pirch -- Payson, Az -- 4, 10-02
6. Jeremiah Kindy -- Benton, Ar -- 4, 8-13
7. David Smith -- Del City, Ok -- 5, 8-11
8. Katsutoshi Furusawa -- Tokyo Japan, Jp -- 3, 6-03
9. Terry Segraves -- Kissimmee, Fl -- 1, 3-12
10. Matt Herren -- Trussville, Al -- 2, 2-05