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Wendlandt finishes third

Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, finished the event in his best position of the week, third, with a four-day total of 62-12 worth $40,000.

Wendlandt rallied with a 16-15 catch today.

His two main patterns all week were “walking” a big spinnerbait along rocky bluff banks and cranking square-billed crankbaits alongside floating boat docks.

“The key for me was using really big baits,” Wendlandt said. “I think the fish here were eating those big gizzard shad, and I wanted a really big profile in the water.”

Along the bluffs, Wendlandt used a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait with a big No. 6 Colorado blade, and around the docks he used a Lucky Craft BDS 4 crankbait and a Brian’s Bees B3 square-lipped crankbait.

He used 15-pound-test Ande monofilament and a Pflueger 6-to-3 ratio reel for both techniques.

“I wanted to keep the baits way up high near the surface so they bulged the surface, and the faster reel helped with that.”

Of the two techniques, the dock pattern ended up being the more dominant pattern, especially in the afternoon.

“I’d catch a limit on the spinnerbait early and then go to the docks for quality in the afternoon.

Wendlandt winds up third

Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt of Leaer, Texas finished in third place with a two-day total of 10 pounds, 1 ounce for $75,000.

Wendlandt alternated between two patterns all week.

In the mornings he fished shallow around bream beds with a Brian’s Bees Prop B 3 and then he moved out deeper in the afternoons to fish grass edges in 10 to 12 feet of water with a 10-inch Gambler worm topped with a ¾-ounce tungsten weight.

“My better quality fish came from the grass on the big worm,” Wendlandt said. “The topwater pattern worked on and off and was real situational – I had to have a little breeze on the bream beds to make it work.”

Surman fourth

Castrol pro Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., finished fourth with a two-day total of 9 pounds, 14 ounces worth $60,000.

Surman also fished two patterns, which were similar to Wendlandt’s.

In fact, Wendlandt lent Surman the Prop B 3 topwaters he was using.

“I only used the topwater for about an hour each morning and then that bite died,” Surman said. “Then I’d moved out and fish the grass with a 10-inch Gambler red bug worm. One worm was rigged with a ¼-ounce weight and the other was rigged with a ¾-ounce weight.

“I used the ¾-ounce worm to pitch into the thicker grass on top of the humps in 10 to 14 feet of water and I used the lighter weighted worm to fish the outsides of the grass in 14 to 18 feet. For me, the outside of the grass was a little better, but I did catch a couple of my better fish up in the thicker stuff on top.”

Thrift fifth

2007 Gain Rookie of the Year Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., finished in fifth place with a two-day total of 9 pounds, 12 ounces for $50,000.

Thrift also alternated between shallow and deep patterns during the week.

Interestingly, he too settled on the Brian’s Bees Prop 3 for his shallow water bite.

His deep grass lure of choice was a Zoom Ultravibe speed worm in green pumpkin with a ¼-ounce weight.