RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — Judging from their insurgence on Day Two, it looks like it takes roughly six days for a rookie to hit his stride on the Elite Series.
Four rookies are faring well in the Toyota Trucks Diamond Drive on Lake Dardanelle, led by Greg Vinson and his 21 pound, 14 ounce bag on Friday.
"I did a lot of running around yesterday and it was probably the wrong thing to do," Vinson said.
The wrong thing was something Vinson had become all too familiar with five days into the Elite Series season.
"I was disappointed in myself because I haven't been able to locate fish on Amistad or the first part of this tournament," he said. "That was hurting my confidence more than anything.
"The biggest thing is just settling down and focusing on the pattern. Don't worry about the guys around you. They've got to catch them just like you do."
Rookie Chad Griffin, who caught 17-11 on Friday, tracked his getting comfortable down to the hour. He said a fog-shortened Day One might have been better had he been given the opportunity to settle in.
"Yesterday, I did everything way too fast," he said. "A day like today calms you down a bunch. Amistad was real hard on me. I was a little star struck out there.
"This tournament, I tried to slow myself down. Yesterday, if I would have had a full day, I could have done what I did today."
One rookie, Billy Mccaghren, was able to settle down because he was fishing 45 minutes from his home in Mayflower, Ark. He said his knowledge of Dardanelle came in real handy when his Day One spot that had him in 10th place came up empty early on Friday.
"It helps being local because I'm not as swift as a lot of these guys when it comes to making adjustments," he said. "I could relax today because I know I'm in areas that have fish. When I make a move, I'm not looking for a new spot. I know where I'm going."
Mccaghren finished with 12-6 on Day Two and sits in 14thplace going into the weekend.
Perhaps the rookie that put it best, Brent Broderick, was the one who had the worst tournament. Two days of fishing Dardanelle left him with three fish that went for 4-15 and left him third from the bottom.
"There's a system that these guys get into and that system has to be perfect," Broderick said. "I'm still working that out."