On an August morning that certainly had the feel of fall, the sleepy little town of Orr was quiet spare the low growl of outboards idling to the dock of Oveson’s Lodge on Pelican Lake.
All 50 anglers were very aware of what was at stake as they navigated through the looming smoke from neighboring wildfires. Only 25 anglers would be invited to fish the Championship next week on the fabled Mille Lacs for a chance to win a brand-new Skeeter Boat. That thought weighed heavy on many who sat on or near the cut line in points knowing they had to perform on this tricky and treacherous fishery.
Although most of the field had never fished Pelican before, practice had shown them glimpses of the potential this body of water had. Both smallmouth and largemouth were abundant and grow very large leading some to wonder if this could be the day the all-time weight record fell.
Amongst those off to a hot start in morning were Brad Leifermann, Kyle Schutta, George Liddle, and Adam Rasmussen amongst others. It didn’t take long for Adam Rasmussen to gain separation on the field.
Rotating between a handful of small areas and utilizing his Humminbird MEGA 360 to identify rocks in scattered cabbage and make precise casts with a Chatterbait and Ned rig. He amassed over 50 pounds of bass in just an hour and a half and then DOUBLED IT in the next thirty minutes to give him 100 pounds of bass by 9:00 a.m.
Adam was amongst those anglers in a win or go home situation for the Championship, after struggling at the first two events of the season he needed the automatic bid that a victory would provide to ensure a spot at Mille Lacs.
Behind him the battle for Angler of the Year raged on as Kyle Schutta held the early advantage by the slimmest of margins over Matt Peters who was doing everything possible just to try and stay in the top ten throughout the day. Also in the top ten, two Bagley pros Tony Hatten and multi-time Champions Tour winner Noah Schultz who both found a crankbait bite and used their Balsa B2’s to keep them in great position throughout the day.
As the half ended, Adam Rasmussen had his sights set on breaking the all-time weight record in the first four hours but fell just one pound short and happily settled for 51 fish for 130-07 which gave him a nearly 70-pound advantage over second place Shane Raveling who was followed closely by Kyle Schutta. Matt Thompson who is notorious for his big bass prowess managed to catch two fish that were 5 pounds and 7 ounces that gave a double up on big bass for the first half, along with five other bass over 4 pounds. Through one half of fishing, he averaged over three and a half pounds per bass caught.
Just a few short minutes into half number two Adam Rasmussen rewrote the record books by surpassing Tim Schroeder’s previous mark of 131-07, but he was far from done. Rasmussen continued his rout of the rest of the field as Matt Thompson continued to climb to the top with big fish after big fish. His deep cranking pattern produced half the fish of most of his competitors, yet he made headway thanks to unbelievable average size he found. He locked up big bass of the day with a 5-12 and his big five for the tournament went nearly 27 pounds alone. Noah Schultz picked his way through the top five and fought back and forth with Thompson as they both eclipsed the century mark for the day.
Kyle Schutta’s sixth place finish gave him a one-point lead over Noah Schultz in the race for AOY as previous points leader Matt Peters fell to third place for the year overall. Dave Larson and Jason Howland claimed the last two spots in the Championship on Mille Lacs and will have the opportunity to fish for a brand-new Skeeter Boat.
But amongst all the chaos going below him, all eyes were on Adam Rasmussen who managed to catch an astounding 98 bass for 247 pounds and 10 ounces. To put his day into perspective he caught 66 more fish than second place angler Matt Thompson and his margin victory was larger than the previous all-time weight record itself. Not to diminish the days that second place Matt Thompson and third place Noah Schultz had as both angler’s weights would have been enough to win either previous Champions Tour event this season.
It was day that will forever hold a spot in Champions Tour history, and Adam Rasmussen now holds a record that should stand for years to come and has all the momentum in the world carrying to the Championship on Mille Lacs next week.
Check out the Classic Bass website for more photos, videos, and results from a wild day on Pelican.