> Day 4: 5, 17-03 (20, 70-06) Photo by: B.A.S.S. / Seigo Saito Ashley figured he’d hold his ground in 2nd with the bag he caught Sunday, but he gave up two spots in the standings.
“I thought I had 16 or 17 pounds and thought I’d stay where I was, but those boys caught ‘em,” he said. “Hats off to them. It just goes to shows with the Elite Series, you can’t count them out.”
After not generating much confidence during a practice that saw him spend a bunch of time offshore, he was more than happy with his first top-5 since his Classic win at Lake Hartwell in 2015.
“I’m happy with it,” he said. “I went into the tournament on the first day and had no idea what bait start with or where I’d throw it.”
As the event progressed, he developed a one-two punch of morning topwater and spinnerbaits around bream beds before slow-rolling a football jig in some deeper water around logs and laydowns.
“I did everything I could,” he added. “I fished off shore all practice and that’s why I didn’t have a good practice. They’re not out there that great. I hung in there on day 1 and kept myself in contention and just kept my options open with an open mind.” Read more
> Day 3: 5, 16-07 (15, 53-03) Photo by: B.A.S.S. / Seigo Saito This is Ashley’s third career top-12 finish at Toledo Bend and he’ll be looking to notch his fifth career tour-level victory on Sunday. His previous best finish at Toledo Bend was 5th in 2014. He also finished 9th in 2012.
Today, he capitalized on a shad spawn to fill out an early limit, then culled most of them as the day wore on.
“My best fish seem to bite a little better later in the day,” he said. “I actually caught four fish early on a spinnerbait, but they were all small. I don’t know what those big ones are doing early.” Read more
And so do Coulee Region mosquitoes — especially after dark.
While in search of one, the native of Donalds, S.C., discovered the other, and not by choice. Ashley, a 36-year-old who is in La Crosse to compete in the four-day Plano Bassmaster Elite Series event on the Mississippi River, which starts this morning, found himself beached in the headwaters area of Lake Onalaska as Labor Day wound down.
About 7:30 p.m. Monday, Ashley was preparing to return to his launch area after a day of pre-fishing. Pre-fishing, for non-angling folks, is a practice day where the competitors pick out different spots, try different lures, and form a game plan of sorts before the big-buck tournament begins.
How big? A $638,000 purse will be distributed to the top 50 anglers in the La Crosse event, which is the 10th of 11 regular-season tournaments in the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series. The winner of the La Crosse event pockets a cool $100,000.
Tournament headquarters is at Veteran’s Freedom Park near the Clinton Street boat landing, with daily weigh-ins at 3:15 p.m.
Ashley was feeling pretty good about the spots he had fished, the weight of fish he had caught and released, and his strategy for Tuesday, which was another day of pre-fishing.
Then everything changed. Read More