SchlapperCaptures Kicker Bass To Take Day 2 Lead
  1. MANY, La. — With the help of an 8-6 largemouth, Pat Schlapper caught 28 pounds, 5 ounces on Day 2 of the Gamakatsu Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend to jump into the lead with a two-day total of 55-9

 The pro from Eleva, Wis., holds a 3-ounce advantage over Day 1 leader Kyoya Fujita, who is second with a two-day mark of 55-6. Tennessee’s Robert Gee is third with 51-10.

 “There were some really fun moments today,” Schlapper said. “It was tougher than yesterday, honestly. I didn’t get that many bites, and the bass are either leaving or getting picked off. I still had three really good bites.”

 After finding a rhythm late in the day Thursday, the three-time Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors qualifier returned to one of his most productive areas and targeted roaming bass in 15 to 30 feet of water. He used the same bait he caught the majority of his bass on yesterday with the help of his Garmin LiveScope.

 Despite the increase in boat pressure in the area, Schlapper immediately started catching bass and filled out his limit around 9:30 a.m. before landing his biggest bass of the day.

“I saw the bass on LiveScope, but it looked too big. I made a good cast and it came up on it, bit it and I missed it,” Schlapper said. “I cast up there again; the way it came up I thought it was a bass. Then, the way it fought, I knew it was a bass. I was lucky I (that) missed it the first time and then (it) ate it again. It was awesome.”

 Late in the day, he returned to that same area and caught another kicker bass, a largemouth that weighed just under 8 pounds.

 “I had a good bag fairly early, but then it was a long time before I caught anything else,” he said. “I came back at the end of the day when everyone was gone and caught another that was almost 8.”

Schlapper, however, is a bit concerned about how the rest of the tournament will play out in his primary area. With the weekend starting, boat pressure will likely only increase. He has also noticed the water temperature rising, which could mean the bass will move toward the bank and away from his area.

 “There aren’t many bass left there. There were a lot of spectators and other competitors really messing with them,” he said. “If another wave kind of moves through, we might be alright. If not, it might be tough. There’s a chance I can throw (it) in front of five big ones tomorrow. I think there is less of a chance than there was today and the day before.

“But I’m sticking with it.”

 After landing the Rapala CrushCity Monster Bag of the Tournament on Day 1 at 31-3, Fujita landed 24-3 to drop into second place. The Japanese pro returned to his primary spot from Day 1 and, while he filled out a limit in the first three hours, he struggled to generate big bites until the afternoon. His biggest bass, logged as a 6-0 on BassTrakk, came after 1 p.m. He caught all of his bass on a Jackall Drift Fry around standing timber in 30 feet of water.

Boat pressure was the main reason for the tougher bite, he said.

 “Yesterday in the morning, it was fish, fish, fish, and then in the afternoon, there was fishing pressure and no bites,” Fujita said with the help of a translator. “Today was tough.”

 Despite the increased pressure, Fujita still saw plenty of bass on his LiveScope. He plans on returning to the same area in the morning and will evaluate how many other boats are around. If he isn’t liking what he sees, he will move to a different spot on the lake.

 Gee added 22-10 to his 29-0 Day 1 bag to increase his two-day total to 51-10. While he lost a 4-pounder early in the day, the Knoxville, Tenn., rookie filled a limit quickly but struggled to find quality.

“I started where I could get a limit early,” he said. “It seemed like the bigger ones were leaving. I didn’t catch any really big ones, and everywhere I went it seemed like fish were leaving me. I feel like they are making a push up shallow with this full moon coming tomorrow night.”

Late in the day, Gee moved to his big-bass spot from yesterday and caught his two biggest of the day.

 “I understood what I was doing wrong, so I went in closer to where the bass wanted to be going,” Gee said. “I was still in a basin, so I was in 35 feet of water instead of 50 feet.”

 So far this week, Gee has caught the majority of his bass on a Crock-O-Gator Slide Shad and has changed the jighead size based on the depth he’s fishing and the wind speed. Forward-facing sonar has played a big role in his success.

 With the bass leaving his areas, Gee feels like he will need to start making a move to the shallows. He didn’t have much success fishing shallow in practice, but he has an idea where his deep bass may move to in the coming days. 

 “I’m just going to have to adjust and fish new water,” he said.

Canadian pro Chris Johnston caught a 9-3 largemouth on Day 2 to claim the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Day. South Carolina’s Bryan New currently holds the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Tournament, a 9-8 largemouth he caught on Day 1.

 The Top 50 anglers will launch from Cypress Bend Park beginning at 7 a.m. CT and return for weigh-in at 3 p.m. The Top 10 will advance to Championship Sunday to compete for the blue trophy and $100,000 top prize. All anglers are earning points toward the Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.

 Bassmaster LIVE will be available on FS1 on Saturday morning beginning at 8 a.m. ET through 11:30 a.m. before moving to for the afternoon session.

 Those wanting to attend will be able to enjoy the “B.A.S.S. on the ’Bend” festival on Saturday and Sunday at Cypress Bend Park before weigh-in. The festival will feature live music and many local vendors.

The event is being hosted by Toledo Bend Lake Country and the Louisiana Office of Tourism.

 2024 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2024 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro ShopsDakota Lithium, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2024 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Lew's, Lowrance, Marathon, Triton Boats, VMC

 About B.A.S.S.B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting-edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

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