Strategy Recap: 2017 Summit Select Survival Round 1

By Bailey McBride - January 29, 2017

It was another hot day on Lake of the Ozarks as six anglers looking for their last chance to find a place Survival Round 1 of the 2017 Summit Cup, all looking for ways to take what they learned on their first day on the water and put it to work.

The field was stacked with anglers who had performed well earlier in the week, with MLF newcomers Zack Birge, Dave LeFebre and Casey Ashley ready to take on veterans Ott Defoe, Mark Rose and James Watson.

“[In Qualifying Round 4] I run a bunch of flat stuff early in the morning, never got bit on top, so I’m going to try these bluff ends,” Ashley said. “May go down this bluff wall and see if there’s any fish suspended on it.”

For Survival Round 1, the anglers moved to a new section of Lake of the Ozarks, the Niangua Arm, an area with roughly 4,200 acres of fishable water.

“There’s a topwater bite in the morning and I’m just gonna stick with this dock thing just right off the bat just to see if I can get a couple bites real quick,” LeFebre said. “If not, I might just run down that bank 100 miles an hour running a topwater bait.”

These big docks like this hanging over deep water, a lot of times this time of year there’s big brim sitting up high around the floats,” Ashley said. “A lot of the time you can catch big ones first thing in the morning topwater just walking it down the sides of these docks.”

“This morning I’m going to start off with topwater, there was some rain last night so I’ll start topwater but I’ll probably switch to a crankbait real quick,” Defoe said.

Watson had the first catch of the day off a dock with a 1lb, 11oz fish but Defoe was the real star of Period 1 with 5 fish for 7 lb, 13 oz.

“It’s always good to have a rotation of baits, you know I’ve got this jig, I’ve got this crank bait I’ve got this buzz bait which has been my main thing,” Defoe said. “It’s good to keep something fresh in the rotation, especially since it’s been overcast and now the sun’s come out so the patterns going to change and you’ve got to be fluid and change with it.”

After switching it up, Defoe went back to cranking.

“Again, missed a fish on a buzz bait, pick up the crank bait, BAM, caught him,” Defoe said. Defoe, along with Rose and Ashley were all in favor of fishing the same areas with a few different baits to find what the fish were after.

At the end of Period 1, Birge led the group with 19 lb, 10 oz, but Defoe was close behind with 18 lb, 10oz. All the anglers knew they needed to adjust and find something and somewhere else to fish to make it happen with two more periods to go.

Through most of Period 2, the majority of the anglers remained on top of one another in the back of the creek and around the docks in the arm, but about halfway in Defoe spotted a creek in the distance he thought he might be able to squeeze into, even if it meant dragging his boat. He settled for fishing in the very shallow opening of the creekbed with his boat resting on the bottom.

At the end of Period 2, Defoe was in the lead with 31 lb, 1oz. and not looking forward to dragging his boat back out of the creek to return to the rendezvous. After fishing some of the more open waters, though, he decided to move back into his honey hole in the hopes that it would deliver.

While Defoe was pushing his boat, Birge continued to fish the shadelines near the banks and with a few quick catches, moved into first place with 45 minutes left in competition.

After some leap frogging back and forth, Defoe was able to secure his lead with an almost 5lb catch in the last minute of competition on a wacky worm.

At the end of the competition, Defoe took the spot in the Summit Cup with 42 lbs, 2 oz.

For more information on what happened in this episode, check out the Recap here.

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