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Published: January 29, 2013

Adverse Wind to Test Angler Skill and
Composure During Sudden Death Day 2

by Lynn Burkhead

Sudden Death Day 2 Competitors

Ish Monroe

Shaw Grigsby

Greg Hackney

Edwin Evers

Mark Davis

Terry Scroggins

To say that the wind is supposed to blow on Sudden Death Day 2 in Western New York would be ... well, it would be a serious understatement.

Kind of like saying the New York Yankees have been a pretty good baseball team over the years.

Why is that? Because according to the weatherman, the wind is supposed to blow, blow, and blow some more. Combined with a breeze that howls early, howls late, and howls almost all day in between.

Meaning that it's a sailboat kind of day on the 13,000-acre Chautauqua Lake, not a day to try to hold a bass boat steady next to a boat dock being battered by the waves.

That's the challenge facing six anglers as competition continues at the Jack Link's Major League Fishing 2013 General Tire Summit Cup.

At stake are the final three positions in the Championship round.

Ish Monroe, one of bass fishing's best shallow water anglers, says that he hopes to get a lot of work done early.

"One thing I like about the zone is that it hasn't been fished by any of us," said the California pro.

"They had a tournament over the weekend and all of the zones got hammered pretty good. But this one hasn't been fished for about a week now and I think the fish should really be biting."

Despite the forecast of wind, Monroe is optimistic about the forecasted temperature readings.

"We've got the warmest morning so far (of the week), so that makes me really excited especially with the stuff I like to do, like throwing a frog and fishing shallow by flipping," said Monroe.

"I've got a few things up my sleeve, changed a few rods around, so you know, I can possibly catch four or five fish pretty quick this morning," added "Yo Ish."

"Then hopefully, if it pans out the rest of the day, I can cross the finish line first."

What does the forecast of a virtual gale blowing most of the day do to Terry "Big Show" Scroggins of Florida?

It causes him to simply shrug his shoulders.

"It's going to be frustrating, but it's just something that you've got to deal with," said Scroggins. "As professionals, we can't choose our days when we're going to go out there.

"If it's sunny, slick and calm, that's one thing. And if it's blowing 30 and raining with bad weather, we're still going. We're kind of like postmen. Nothing stops us but lightning. We just deal with the conditions, go on, and do the best we can."

Will Scroggins fish shallow for largemouths or deep for smallmouths?

He isn't sure what he will fish just yet, but he is certain of what he will look for during the 15-minute "Hot Round."

"Every body of water you go to, there's an offshore bite going on somewhere," he said.

"In my 15 minutes, that's what I'm looking for because I can see every dock. We don't know which docks are good and which ones are not until we fish them.

"I already know what's there (around the docks) so I'm still going out and looking for something in the middle."

Scroggins admits that given the Summit Cup's no practice format, it will be difficult to find the mother lode of offshore fish that could put him across the finish line in the first period.

Zone 3 (Sudden Death Day 2, Day 5 of the event)

Zone 3 consists of the deep water at Long Point State Park to the southern tip of Chautauqua Institution shoreline. From offshore weed beds on Warner's Bar, to the shallow water lily pads west of State Launch at Prendergast, to the well defined deep water weed edges in front of Camp Chautauqua, Zone 3 promises to be a favorite for anglers.

Zone 3: 6.4 miles of shore line, 1820 acres

Even with the help of Hummingbird electronics and Navionics chips.

"It's luck, finding something in just a 15-minute span," he laughed. "You just cover as much as you can and hopefully you see something."

Shaw Grigsby already has his game plan in hand, having found Chautauqua's shallow water dock bite much to his liking. That doesn't mean the pattern will be an easy one to run, however.

"Boat control is going to be a really tough deal," said Grigsby. "It will be very important to get in and maneuver and try not to blow the fish out of the water by getting in and having to throw your trolling motor in reverse.

"So, I think the wind will throw a whole other element into it that we haven't had to deal with so far."

How big a factor will that be?

"The bite was real subtle the other day," said Grigsby. "I don't know what it will be today. But you try to let every fish tell you something. So I'm just looking forward to getting out there on the water and playing the game."

Greg Hackney is looking forward to getting on the water too. Will he look offshore or stay shallow and dance with?

"There is some smallmouth structure in this hole," said Hackney. "But will I fool with it? No."

After all, what else would you expect from a Louisiana bass pro with a Strike King jig bearing his name?

Oklahoma's Edwin Evers doesn't care how he catches them, just that he catches them and catches them quick.

"My thoughts this morning? Catch 24 pounds before three other guys do," laughed Evers.

"This isn't the kind of deal where you can wait around for the afternoon bite to get better. You've got to make this happen as quickly as you possibly can because you don't want to miss out on making that cutline."

Does Evers feel the pressure to get it done early since the wind is supposed to get up as the day goes along?

"I try not to put too much pressure on myself," he said. "I will try to go out and catch every one that bites, that's my first goal. And then I'll try to be efficient, to make good casts and good presentations.

"That's the pressure I put on myself is to fish clean and efficient. Will I get to that 24 pounds, I don't know. But I feel like if I fish efficient and clean, then I'll get to that 24 pounds."

Arkansas' Mark Davis doesn't plan on making any big changes from his Elimination Round.

But then again, he says who knows?

"I know there are other ways to catch fish here," said Davis. "And none of us have really explored them yet. If the wind really gets to howling, I think to really do well and capitalize on this thing, you're going to have to try some new stuff."

Because at the end of the day, all that really matters at Chautauqua is this: Survive the day, be one of the first three anglers to get across the cut-weight finish line, and simply find a way to live again to fish on Championship Day.

No matter what the conditions are like out on the water.