Brian Nelli of Florida has amassed 193 inches of Caddo Lake bass over the first 2 days of the 2022 Hobie Bass Open Series Tournament of Champions anchored by Power-Pole. In so doing, he has opened a lead of more than 10 inches over Virginia’s Nolan Minor heading into Sunday’s final round.
“My bite was consistent today,” said Nelli. His bite has been the picture of consistency as Nelli posted an opening round total of 96.75 inches and followed that up with 96.25 today.
“I’m feeling confident going into tomorrow,” concluded Nelli.
Minor climbed from 6th to 2nd today with 90 inches and a 2-day total of 182.75.
“It’s exciting,” said Minor. “I’m pretty nervous because there’s a lot of money up for grabs. I’d love to go home with that money. I’m a young adult who needs money. I’ve been fortunate to do well enough in tournaments to pay for my travel and entry fees. So, yeah, the money would help me a lot.”
Minor said he’s “Terrible at grass fishing. I hate it.” So, what is he doing this week? Fishing grass. “The rest of the lake is so tough. I settled in the only part of the lake I don’t think they’ve sprayed.
“The lake is actually fishing really tough. Water temperature has dropped 12 degrees since Thursday. I don’t think anybody is having the time of their life out there this week. Except Brian Nelli.”
Minor would know. He’s sharing water with the leader.
“It’s a 100-yard stretch of grass line. I think a lot of people know about it because they were schooling there every day in practice.
“We both showed up there yesterday morning and we talked it out. I let Nelli have the better stuff first each morning. It’s fun to watch because he gets right in a hurry.
“It’s crazy to be able to catch that many fish in that one area both days.”
Minor said he won’t die on that grass line if it doesn’t produce tomorrow. He and brother, Ewing Minor, share information and help each other when they can. “I put him onto this part of the lake because I felt like it’s the only part that’s fishing well. Today he found some fish so tomorrow, if this spot doesn’t work out or it’s just not happening, the payback is (Ewing) is going to let me fish that new area with him.”
Brady Storrs fell off the lead pace today, but considering how things could have gone, he’s pleased with his performance. He’s currently 3rd with 181.50 inches. Note: Rus Snyders also has 181.50, but due to tiebreaker procedures, Storrs is officially in 3rd; Snyders in 4th for the time being.
“I know that it could have gone really bad really easy because I caught my 5th fish at like, 2:20 or something,” noted Storrs. “I’m happy.”
Storrs said small adjustments saved his day, perhaps his tournament. “My spot was pretty dry this morning. I ended up grinding it out. I had one fish in the morning, and fished around, caught a couple of good ones, and I just had to finish my limit out with some little ones.
“I didn’t really find another spot. I’ve just got some areas that I was able to pull a couple out of today. I’m going back to the same spot I’ve fished for the past 2 days, and I’ll try to, maybe, get on a little different rotation. There are quite a few kayakers in there. There are definitely some little areas (within the area) that other people are overlooking.”
“That’s something I’ve had to work on over my career in multi-day tournaments, if you find an area that has fish in it, people start getting choked down to one little area and they beat it to death. That’s really what I had to work to not do today – sit in one area. I bounced around and fished new water that I hadn’t fished in practice or the tournament and just kept moving.”
Storrs is looking to close out the TOC on a strong note. “I think I can catch five. Obviously, it was a struggle for a lot more people today than it was yesterday. I think tomorrow’s going to be tougher yet. There are a lot of fish around the area, and I think they’re all going to congregate around a smaller portion of it – some deeper water in there – with the super cold night we’re about to have so, I like my chances for catching five for sure.
“Today was definitely a grind but I’m sure glad I was able to squeak out a limit there at the end because I set myself up in case Brian or Nolan stumble like I did today. If I have a good day again tomorrow, I could catch up with hem in a hurry on this lake.”
Justin Patrick of Tennessee is 5th with a total of 178.75 inches.
The TOC will pay a total guaranteed purse of $100,000 to the Top 10 contestants. After Day 2, Ewing Minor of Virginia is in 10th place with 173.50 inches.
Air temperatures at take off tomorrow are expected to hover around the freezing mark. North winds and bluebird skies should dominate the region, slowing the bite and making Nelli’s lead even more insurmountable, but 49 of the best kayak anglers in the country will give it their best shot.
The field caught 247 bass today, down a bit from the 308 total catch in Friday’s opening round.
On Friday there were 40 limits caught and nobody zeroed.
Today there were 34 limits, 2 zeroes.
Brady Storrs’ 23.50 inch, Day 1 bass still stands as the biggest of the tournament.
The BOS Angler of the Year race is heating up as Nolan Minor and Rus Snyders are both in the Top 5 in AOY points and also in the Top 5 in this event.