Rising Water Woes with MDJ

Mother Nature and Lake Eufaula in central Oklahoma have been throwing Bass Pro Tour competitors plenty of curveballs for Millertech Stage Four presented by REDCON1. Round after round of severe weather has passed through the area during practice and the start of the tournament, bringing plenty of rain along with the storm systems.


Lake Eufaula is known for its off-colored water in stable conditions but this week the massive body of water, which is the largest in Oklahoma, has risen over four feet. And while higher water means lots of flooded cover to cast at, the influx of muddy water has come extremely quickly, which Mark Daniels Jr. believes is largely to blame for the tough fishing experienced so far this week.


“It’s been crazy out here man,” MDJ said shaking his head. “High water is not a bad thing, but water raising multiple feet in just a day or two makes fishing challenging in my experience. Especially when you factor in that a lot of these Eufaula bass are setting up to spawn right now.


“Bass want a stable place to make their bed and lay their eggs, so they aren’t as likely to move up with the rising water. That means if a fish was setup in two feet of water, she’s now down there in six plus feet of dirty water and they are just extremely tough to fish for in that scenario. And we’re seeing that on the SCORETRACKER right now.”


MDJ and most of the BPT field believe catch rates on Eufaula will improve as the water stabilizes, but they are having to grind through the Qualifying Rounds in hopes to survive and move on to the weekend.


During his first day on the water, the Team Toyota pro tried multiple different patterns and exhausted every area he found in practice, but ultimately it proved to be an extremely tough day of fishing. MDJ caught three scoreable bass, anchored by a 5-pound 12-ounce largemouth that kept him in contention of the money and elimination lines.


The California native who now resides in Alabama believes staying positive and cycling through multiple patterns, techniques, and lures in areas he has confidence in is his best chance in the current conditions on Eufaula.

“On Tuesday I spent the first period chasing the shad spawn with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Then I flipped bushes for a couple of hours. Both proved futile. I mean I didn’t catch a twelve-incher,” MDJ admitted. “About halfway through the second period I started running boat docks and caught a few, including the big girl, and thank God for that fish. She saved my day.


“While my day sounds like a trainwreck, and it mostly was, I am convinced keeping multiple patterns honest is the best way to deal with these conditions. Spring rains and big weather events make things difficult for lots of weekend anglers around the country. When that happens just keep your head down and don’t get tunnel vision. The bass are still there, you just gotta adapt with them.”


Anytime you are fishing, especially when the bite is fickle, you are only one decision away from turning a tough day around and like MDJ proved on Lake Eufaula, only one cast away from a big fish that can change your mood in a hurry.

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