Steve Kennedy caught his second straight 17-pound bag today to open a massive lead at the Old Hickory PAA Tournament Series in Tennessee with 1 day to go. His 17.14 stringer gave him a 2-day total of 34.41 and a lead of more than 7 pounds over 2nd-place Tim Messer.
Messer weighed 13.51 for a 27.32 total. Keith Caka brought in a 12.16 sack to move up five places to 3rd. Day-1 leader Dean Rojas' 7.27-pound stringer was one fish shy of a limit and he dropped to 4th with 24.70.
Kennedy's lead wouldn't be nearly so large had he not caught three fish that weighed at least 3 pounds each in the final 15 minutes of the day.
"That's a concern for tomorrow because we have to be in an hour and a half earlier," he said. "I put in a lot more time today doing what I've been doing to catch the better ones, but I struggled, really. I'd get a bite every now and then, and then I wouldn't catch them."
His sack was topped by a fish that weighed slightly more than 4 pounds.
"That one actually bit me twice and I got lucky to catch him. I jerked it away from him the first time and that got him mad, and he came back and ate it. I could've poked him with the rod tip the second time."
The heavy traffic from multiple local tournaments that will take to the water tomorrow is also a concern.
"It could muddy the banks and there might be a lot of rocking and rolling, and that could hurt me. I think I've got other things I can do to catch fish, but I have no expectations of catching 17 pounds again."
Tomorrow's weather forecast for the Nashville area predicts clouds with showers in the afternoon – a stark contrast from the blue-sky conditions of the first 2 days.
"That could be great, or it could be the pits. I almost refused to do what I did today with the bluebird and an east wind because I knew they wouldn't eat it, but they did."
Here's how the Top 10 stacks up going into the final day:
1. Steve Kennedy: 34.41
2. Tim Messer: 27.32
3. Keith Caka: 25.21
4. Dean Rojas: 24.70
5. Mark Menendez: 24.21
6. (tie) James Niggemeyer: 24.09
6. (tie) Jordan Lee: 24.09
8. Gary Yamamoto: 24.08
9. Ish Monroe: 23.78
10. Jeff Baker: 23.60