The fourth day of the Still Cold Open finally saw some great weather for the fishermen participating in the tournament series. Day 4 of 5 had some sun and clouds, little to no wind, and temperatures up to the low 30's. The fish responded accordingly. There were a total of five 6 fish limits brought in for verification the most of any tournament yet and there were also fewer zero's then previous tournaments. The fish were biting and if you happen to be in the right spot to capitalize it paid good dividends.
The top three teams to finish Saturdays tournament were all newcomers to the top of the field, some being close before and having earned enough points to qualify in the top 20, others gaining a much needed automatic qualification. The team of Hot Handz (John and Sandra Mitchell) scored highest of the day bringing in a total of 6 fish for 117 inches, the second highest total all year. The big limit was anchored by a 27 inch stud of an Arctic Char!
Hot Handz has been a consistent competitor earning points in every competition day however the first place 100 points surely jumped them up the board of the overall standings. The fish was so big, it knocked off half of Johns clothes and one glove. Great fish!!!
Finishing the day in second place and also earning an automatic qualification was the team of Little Rocks (Danny Schmitz and Caleb Hughes). There six fish for 104 inches was anchored by a 21 inch char. A good mix of char and rainbows allowed them to gain a limit and a much needed ticket to the March 12th Championship Showdown after a few weeks of low points.
Third place for the day were the Mooney Boys (Ed Mooney Sr/Jr) who also got a limit of six fish for 103 inches. Mooney Boys have been consistent throughout the series earning quality points in each event.
Becky Black scored her first fish of the tournament to help her team Frosty Bottoms and partner Lynette Warren stay inside the top 20 cut line. Although the fish only gained them 25 points that was enough to finish the week inside the current cutoff. Her fish was a magnificent 25 inch Arctic Char. If you are only going to catch one, that is the one to catch!!
Heading into the last qualifying day, Fish Reflections holds a 15 point lead advantage in the overall standings and should be a lock for the points champion given there isn't some type of monumental break down on the final day. Jim McCormick and Josh Hughes consistency just about guarantees them the top spot. The top 3 points leaders through 5 tournaments will have a separate prize pool from championship day. As it stands now, the top 3 spots in overall points will come down to 4 teams, Fish Reflections, Double Action 2.0, AK Hardwater, and Mooney Boys the particular order will be decided on day 5 given no team drops a zero on the final day.
Other notables after day 4.
The team of Alaska Light Gear Squad, who came charging out of the gate to win on Day 1 have fizzled significantly and have become borderline non contenders.
The team of Angler Management must be thankful for their automatic bid because they too have slipped into the few to no fish black hole.
The team of Hardwater Outlawz looks like a bunch of visiting in laws on Big Lake lately with a double zero in consecutive weeks. Just barely inside the cut-line they are in desperate need of a fish.
There are legitimately 10 teams on the bubble above and below the cut-line that makes it impossible to guess who will make it in. Only fishing will tell. Till next time, get out and practice and find some new waters.