Suzuki Pro Angler Dean Rojas places at Santee Cooper
29 Feb, 2024

Suzuki Pro Angler Dean Rojas places at Santee Cooper

Rojas leads charge into Knockout Round

Image for Rojas leads charge into Knockout RoundDean Rojas was the top angler in Group B with a two-day total of 28 bass weighing 76 pounds, 1 ounce. Photo by Phoenix Moore. Angler: Dean Rojas.



Santee Cooper, known as a big bass factory, especially in the spring, had lived up to its reputation all week. But on Championship Sunday, something changed and the fishing was noticeably tougher. But the one angler who managed to find, or maybe will, a consistent bite was Wheeler. His final day total of 47-4 was 5-pounds better than veteran angler,  Dean Rojas, who finished in second place.

Early on during Group B’s second day on the water at  Suzuki Stage Two Presented by FenwickDean Rojas struggled to recapture his Day 1 success. Rojas had stacked 16 bass weighing 48 pounds, 14 ounces on SCORETRACKER® during his first day on the Santee Cooper lakes, but he went more than two hours Friday morning without boating a scorable fish.

Once Rojas relocated a population of bass, though, the action heated up in a hurry. He got on the board with a 5-pounder, then caught another 11 fish, bringing his two-day total to 76-1. He finished atop the leaderboard for Group B, a mere 10 ounces ahead of  Brent Ehrler.

Rojas’ day summed up the action across lakes Marion and Moultrie. A morning that started slow ended with two bass over 9 pounds and 20 over 6 hitting the scales. Despite many of the top anglers using the afternoon to scout new water, the field combined to catch 249 scorable bass for 824-14 – easily the biggest totals of any day so far.

Rojas will lead a strong Top 10 from Group B into Saturday’s Knockout Round. The top four finishers all eclipsed 74 pounds across two days, a mark no Group A anglers hit. And that doesn’t include  Jacob Wheeler, the six-time BPT winner who practiced all day after stacking up 53-7 (still the best day of the event) on Wednesday. They’ll face off with the Top 10 anglers from Group A on Saturday.

Complete results  can be found here.

Rojas in reconnaissance mode

Dean Rojas has a few options in mind for the upcoming Knockout Round. Photo by Phoenix Moore

Having put plenty of distance between himself and the cut line on Wednesday, Rojas, too, used his second day of competition to explore new water on the massive 170,000-acre playing field that is Santee Cooper. He never returned to the area where he caught his Day 1 bag, instead scouting a few other spots where he’d gotten bit during practice.

“The stuff I fished today was just secondary stuff that I had,” he said. “It’s not my main stuff. I caught ‘em really good the first day, so there was no sense in working on those fish anymore.”

Rojas is doing something a bit different than the majority of anglers, not spending as much time around the fishery’s many cypress trees. He didn’t want to detail his tactics but said he’s focusing on areas where bass are moving up to stage.

“There’s probably a few that are up there (spawning), and there’s some that are coming,” Rojas said. “It’s still the very first beginnings of it.”

While he found plenty of fish, Rojas didn’t catch the same quality on Friday, boating just one bass bigger than 3 pounds. As a result, he plans to return to his Day 1 area during what figures to be an explosive Knockout Round.

Still, he sees the day as a success, having eliminated some water and added more to his arsenal should he have to veer from Plan A.

“I have lots of options,” he said. “I feel very comfortable. The stuff that I fished today I can fish again tomorrow, and the stuff that I didn’t fish today, I can still go back again tomorrow.”

As for what it will take to make the Championship Round, Rojas speculated that the cut will fall around 45 pounds – although he admitted that could be way off. Santee Cooper has proven fickle this week, with lots of anglers putting together impressive bags but few doing so on consecutive days. The only safe bet seems to be that whoever does unlock the bite will have a chance to land some big ones.

“I have no idea,” Rojas said. “I’m going to try and catch every single bass I can tomorrow.”


Suzuki Marine USA Offering Triple Rebates Now Through End of March
8 Mar, 2024

Suzuki Marine USA Offering Triple Rebates Now Through End of March

Suzuki Marine USA unveils STEALTH LINE  and more at an active 2024 Miami International Boat Show
27 Feb, 2024

Suzuki Marine USA unveils STEALTH LINE and more at an active 2024 Miami International Boat Show