Richard Howes, who began the day in 29th place, caught a 20-02 sack on day 2 of the Kissimmee Chain Bassmaster Southern Open and rocketed into the lead with 1-day remaining. Daniel Lanier, who held a 9-pound lead after the first day, weighed just two fish for 2-11 and dropped to 6th.
“I’m flipping and pitching isolated cover with soft plastics,” Howes said. “Most of my fish are coming from 5 to 7 feet deep.
“I only made one pass through my key area today, so I think I have a real chance at another 20 pounds.”
He has a 14-ounce lead over Tracy Adams, who's seeking to claim his third Bassmaster Classic berth via the Opens. Adams won last year's Southern event at Norman and will compete in the Classic later this month at Oklahoma's Grand Lake.
The Top 10 in the standings are all within 5 pounds of Howes, and the other two who'll fish tomorrow are just a few more ounces back. Those deficits can easily be erased with a single bite – specimens exceeding 8 1/2 pounds have been weighed on both days thus far.
Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who'll return to the water for the final day:
1. Richard Howes: 32-08
2. Tracy Adams: 31-10
3. Brandon Lester: 31-09
4. Trevor Fitzgerald: 31-05
5. David Walker: 30-13
6. Daniel Lanier: 30-06
7. Derek Remitz: 29-04
8. Jordan Card: 28-12
9. Glenn Browne: 27-13
10. Todd Auten: 27-11
11. Chad Morgenthaler: 27-05
12. Bradley Jones: 27-04