While many anglers had to pour every ounce of energy toward qualifying for today’s top-10 cut, Taylor spent most of Thursday’s competition relaxing and finding some new fishing areas for the finals.
“I tried to catch just enough to get me by,” said Taylor, who is fishing in only his second EverStart event of his career. “I had about 16 ½ pounds by 8:30 a.m., so I spent the rest of the day looking for some new spots. I’m feeling pretty confident right now. What I’m doing and how I’m doing it is the key. There were five other boats in my area today, but they really weren’t catching a whole lot. So I’m obviously doing something right.”
Taylor said that he’s continuing to target staging largemouth bass on ledges in about 4 to 8 feet of water. But while he’s found plenty of success with that approach, Taylor said he wasn’t very confident heading into the Clear Lake event.
“What makes this tournament so enjoyable is how much adversity I’ve had to overcome this tournament,” he said. “My boat broke down on Saturday and I also had to put my truck in the shop. Because of that, I only had about two practice days. And during practice, I only caught four fish total. So yeah, I’m happy with the way things have turned out so far.”
As for the rest of the tournament, Taylor said he’s taking everything in stride.
“I’m going to go back to my same spot tomorrow,” he said. “I want to win, but even if I wind up in 10th place, I’ll be happy. Tomorrow, I’m just going to go out there, do my best and have some fun.”
Kilduff makes a move
Pro Tim Kilduff of Dewey, Ariz., parlayed the largest stringer of the day – a staggering 25-pound, 14-ounce sack – into a rock solid, second-place finish in today’s competition. And he couldn’t have been happier.
“It’s awesome. Ever since I got here, I’ve been amazed by the amount of fish coming out of this lake. (The areas) seem to just keep reloading and reloading with fish every day,” said Kilduff, who recorded a monstrous two-day total weight of 45 pounds, 3 ounces. “Normally, I’m a low-key guy, but I have to say that this is one of the best fishing trips I’ve ever had. I’ve been mentally strong the whole time and I’m having fun. If (a tournament title) is meant to happen, it’s meant to happen.”
Kilduff, who is switching up between four different baits to land his catch, said that he hopes the congestion on the water will fade with only 10 boats remaining over the course of the next two days of competition.
“I really feel good about this tournament now,” said Kilduff. “I had a minimum of nine boats in my area this whole time. Hopefully I’ll have a little bit more room to work tomorrow.”
To further add to his spirits, Kilduff also won the day’s big bass award in the Pro Division after netting a 9-pound, 12-ounce largemouth. Kilduff won $600 for his efforts.
Best of the rest
Using a catch of 25 pounds in Thursday’s competition, Jon Strelic of Alpine, Calif., managed to leapfrog from 27th to third place heading into tomorrow’s semifinals. Strelic ultimately qualified for the top-10 cut with a total two-day weight of 41 pounds, 8 ounces.
Brent Lyon of Reno, Nev., used a two-day catch of 39 pounds, 2 ounces to grab fourth place, while Fred Rex of San Jose, Calif., qualified for the final round in fifth place with a catch of 38 pounds, 15 ounces.
Rounding out the top-10 pro qualifiers at the EverStart Clear Lake event:
6th: Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., 38-3 7th: Jerry Ballesteros of Burbank, Calif., 38-3 8th: Rus Snyders of San Mateo, Calif., 37-13 9th: Bernie Gaunt of West Sacramento, Calif., 36-3 10th: Jimmy Walker of Alpine, Calif., 34-10
Davison vaults into co-angler lead
On the strength of a two-day catch weighing 34 pounds, 2 ounces, Gary Davidson of Susanville, Calif., managed to jump from 13th place to the top qualifying position heading into Friday’s semifinals.
“Everything is going great right now,” said Davison. “I feel really confident. I’ve had good partners, the weather’s been great and the fishing has been great. How can you go wrong?”
Davison, who is only fishing the second EverStart event of his career, said that he has landed the majority of his catch to date fishing “confidence” baits.
“I’m probably going to do the same thing again tomorrow.”
Best of the rest
Kyle Clement of Anderson, Calif., used a two-day catch of 32 pounds, 4 ounces to grab the second qualifying spot in the Co-angler Division, while day-one leader Douglas Davis of New Castle, Colo., finished in third place with a total catch of 32 pounds.
Gary Key of Phoenix, Ariz., netted fourth place with a two-day catch of 31 pounds, 6 ounces, while Leroy Bertolero of El Macero, Calif., finished in fifth place with an identical catch.
Rounding out the top-10 co-angler qualifiers at the EverStart Clear Lake event:
6th: Darrell Hagood of Wilton, Calif., 30-7 7th: Greg Giacomazza of Spanish Fork, Utah, 29-0 8th: Kirk Beardsley of Huntington Beach, Calif., 28-14 9th: Mike Noga of Arcata, Calif., 27-8 10th: Ron Mace of Kennewick, Wash., 27-8
Meanwhile, Michael Kirk of Redding, Calif., won the day’s big bass award in the Co-angler Division after landing an 8-pound, 9-ounce largemouth. Kirk took home a check of $220 for his catch.
Day three of EverStart action on Clear Lake continues at Friday’s takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina, located at 2755 Mission Rancheria Road in Lakeport, Calif.