By David A. Brown
FOLSOM, Calif. — Marty Lawrence sure doesn’t look like someone making his first trip to Folsom Lake. Despite his unfamiliarity, the pro from Mesa, Ariz. has fished himself to the top of the Total Weight standings with a 30.06-pound 2-day total that has him well positioned for the final round of the APEX Pro Tour Championship on Folsom Lake presented by Bridgford Foods and Visit Folsom.
On Day 1, Lawrence placed third with 15.75 and also lead the Most Scorable Bass standings with 10. He secured his Championship Sunday berth by adding 14.31 pounds today.
Returning to the South Fork Arm, Lawrence basically repeated his Day-1 routine and targeted several points with rock piles along a mile-long stretch.
“Day 1 clued me into a certain structure I’d see on the bank — the black lava rock,” Lawrence said. “I caught a couple doing that, so I just stuck with it.”
Lawrence caught his fish on 2.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fat swimbaits in Tennessee Shad on 1/4-ounce tungsten ball head jigs and a 3/8-ounce Keitech finesse football jig with a Yamamoto Fat Baby Craw trailer.
“I was sitting downwind of the points, so I’d cast over the points and drag it back,” Lawrence said. “I’d just let the bait sit and soak 30 seconds and then just pick up and they’d be there.”
During particularly calm periods, Lawrence would throw a wacky-rigged 4-inch Senko. Small cuts inside the points were his targets for the finesse rig.
Lawrence fished with Dobyns rods, Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum reels, Sunline braid and BPS XPS fluorocarbon. His limit comprised one largemouth and four spotted bass.
John Pearl of Upper Lake, Calif. took second place in the Overall Weight division 24.46 pounds. Adding 14.20 to the 12.26 he weighed on Day 1, Pearl said that adjusting to fish behavior was essential to his success.
“I slowed way down today,” Pearl said. “Yesterday, I was throwing reaction baits and the fish would follow but not eat it. Today, they weren’t up chasing.”
Fishing main lake rock piles in front of sandy banks in 20 feet or less, Pearl caught his fish on 2.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fat swimbaits on a 1/8-ounce Dirty Jigs Matt Stefan Guppy Swimbait Jig Head. The lighter jig head forced him to fish slowly.
For dragging main lake points, Pearl used a Texas-rigged Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver, with a 1/8-ounce weight. Anytime he encountered bait schools, Pearl threw the Keitech.
“Timing was important,” Pearl said. “I caught a lot of fish first thing in the morning and around 11 it died. Then around 2, the bite picked up again and I caught two big ones.
“I caught a 4-pounder and as soon as I got done submitting that one (on TourneyX), I stood up and made one more cast and caught a 3 3/4 at 3:05. Those were the whole day right there.”
William Ponting of Temecula, Calif. topped the Most Scorable Bass standings with 19. He had 4 on Day 1 and added 15 in the second round.
Explaining the dramatic increase in his productivity, Ponting said: “At 1 o’clock on Day 1, I had no fish, so I pulled up on a spot and started dragging a finesse rig. I went back and did the same thing today. “
Ponting fished at the mouth of the El Dorado Arm and targeted small rock clusters. Recognizing that marker buoys were anchored on rocky spots, he started targeting these navigational aids.
A slow dragging technique proved most productive. Generally, Ponting would cast past the rocks, drag up to the structure and fish would bite right as his bait approached.
“There were times, the bait wasn’t even moving and they’d eat it,” Ponting said.
Ponting caught his fish on a 1/4 Z-Man ShroomZ head with a Z-Man Finesse TRD in green pumpkin. He lauded his 6-pound Sunline fluorocarbon for strength and stealth.
Nick Cloutier of Oakley, Calif. placed second in the Most Scorable Bass standings with 18. He caught eight on Day 1 and 10 on Day 2.
Fishing the Granite Bay area, Cloutier focused on tapering points with large boulders in 20-35 feet. Fishing a diverse selection of baits, he found his success required a glacial pace.
“I was creeping everything painfully slow on the bottom,” Cloutier said. “I think they have so much bait around them, they just didn’t want to move very fast.”
Cloutier caught most of his fish on an Alabama rig with 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fat swimbaits on 1/4-ounce Owner InShore Slam heads. He also caught fish on a neko-rigged 5-inch Yamamoto Senko with a 1/8-ounce nail weight, a 1st Gen Topspin with a 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fat swimbait and a 1/2-ounce Bass Union Football jig with a Yamamoto Twin Tail Grub.
“The end of the day was the best,” Cloutier said. “We got some cloud cover and the reaction bite picked up.”
After two days of full-field competition, the top-10 anglers advance to Sunday’s Championship round. The final field will comprise the top-5 anglers with the Most Scorable Bass and the top-5 anglers with the highest Total Weight. Total Weights and Scorable Bass count from days 1 and 2 are accumulated. In the final round, weights and Scorable Bass count are zeroed.
Sunday’s takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. Pacific at Brown’s Ravine Recreation Area. The weigh-in will be held at the same location at 3 p.m.