MLF EMBEDDED: Reese Targeted 'Dirt-Shallow' Fish During Final-Period Flurry
By Joel Shangle
May 14, 2018
VIDALIA, Louisiana – Two periods into the first Elimination Round of the 2018 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup in Vidalia, Louisiana, Skeet Reese was a man in need of an epiphany.
Reese – who entered the event as the champion of the first Major League Fishing Cup event of the season (the 2018 Summit Cup in Alpena, Mich.) – had spent the first five hours of the day grinding his way around the Black River-Cocodrie Lake Complex near Monterey, Louisiana, with a vibrating jig.
With only four fish and 4 pounds, 10 ounces to show for his efforts, the eight-time B.A.S.S. winner headed out for Period 3 in search of a dramatic game-changer.
Out came a 3-inch prop bait, and up went Reese’s SCORETRACKER numbers. Reese picked up two topwater fish – a 2-10 and a 1-4 – on two casts to start the round, and then went on a 53-minute flurry in the final hour of competition where he caught a scorable largemouth every 6 minutes.
By the time Head Official Dan Hayes called “Lines out” at the end of the competition, Reese had racked up 11 fish on that prop bait for 18-15 in the final period, finishing the round with 23-9 and nearly running down eventual round winner Ish Monroe (23-11).
“I spent a lot of time today trying to figure out how shallow fish might be, and they ended up being really shallow,” Reese said. “And they were way, way back in there.”
Reese committed his final two-and-a-half hours of competition time to pushing as far behind the lake’s flooded Cypress trees as he could jockey his Nitro Z7, targeting minuscule pieces of cover and any slight variations in depth he could find along the shallow shoreline.
“(Fish were on) any little piece of reed or anything hanging over the water, and right on the shoreline: like, ‘dirt-shallow’, in less than 6 inches of water,” Reese said.
NOTES: Reese’s prop bait accounted for five of the final eight fish in the round for 8-7; that catapulted him from fifth place to second, past Aaron Martens, Takahiro Omori and Jeff Kriet.