Alton Jones' team has proven over the first 2 days of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic that they can catch quality fish at Lake Fork when it's cloudy and windy. If they can do it for 1 more day under conditions that are expected to be sunny and breezy, they stand a good chance to win the first-of-its-kind, Professional Anglers Association-sanctioned event.
They caught 58-12 today for a 2-day total of 140-12, which gave them a 15-pound lead as the 40-team field was cut to the Top 5. Their haul today was more than 23 pounds lighter than on day 1, but it was still among the best that could be managed on a day that featured a constant 25-mph north wind that gusted to 35 at times.
Terry Scroggins' team moved up one spot to 2nd with 57-00 today, which gave them a 125-12 total. They switched
places with David Walker's squad, which weighed only 36-04 today for a 117-12 total.
Chad Morgenthaler's team completed an improbable charge into the Top 5 with 59-12 today and a 112-04 total. They had just 3-08 after the day-1 morning flight.
Randy Howell's team caught the second-biggest day-2 weight (62-00) and moved up 13 spots to complete the Top 5 with 108-08.
Here's how the rest of the Top 10 teams ended up (teams are listed by captain only):
6. Gary Klein: 103-04
7. (tie) Kelly Jordon: 101-12
7. (tie) Zell Rowland: 101-12
9. Mike Wurm: 100-00
10. (tie) Luke Clausen: 98-12
10. (tie) Charley Hartley: 98-12
A little more than 42 pounds separate the Top 5, but that's not insurmountable considering that teams can weigh 40 fish tomorrow. All anglers will fish both the morning and afternoon flights, and each can contribute five fish per session.
Flipping and offshore patterns were predominant for the second straight day, but sight-fishing could be a huge factor tomorrow if the forecast of sunny skies proves correct. Just about everybody thinks they'll have a better day – no matter what they're doing – if the wind lays down as expected.
The Morgenthaler and Howell teams were the only newcomers to the Top 5 today. They bumped out Gary Klein's squad, which caught 41-04 and dropped from 4th to 6th with a 103-04 total, and Luke Clausen's team, which caught 42-00 and fell from 5th to a tie for 10th with 98-12.
The winning team will be determined tomorrow by highest cumulative weight.
Jones' Team Seeks Hawgs
Jones' team fished both deep and shallow again. Russ Lane and Kyle Mabry caught another strong early bag (37-08), and Jones and Steve Daniel added 21 pounds in the afternoon.
"The only difference today was the wind made it much more difficult to fish," he said. "Hopefully it'll be easier tomorrow and we'll be able to spend more time in the places we really want to fish.
"We probably got as many bites as we did yesterday, but I lost a real key fish and we missed a couple of other bites. We were getting our opportunities, but the weather made the bite a little bit funny."
Collectively, they were five fish short of the maximum today.
"We're fishing for big bites and we're not stuck on that number. We're concentrating on one big bite at a time, and then we try to figure out how to get the next one."
Some sight-fishing will be on their agenda for tomorrow.
"I found a 6-pounder (on a bed) this afternoon, and there's more where she is."
2nd: Scroggins Back in School
Scroggins and Chris Daves struggled to get bites this morning from the big school of fish the captain found in practice, but James Niggemeyer and Frank Ippoliti put a thumping on them this afternoon.
The second-flight duo caught about 40 pounds after the early pairing had managed only about 17.
"The fish on that ledge didn't bite this morning," Scroggins said. "We had cloudy, low-light conditions and it was very windy. It was still cloudy this afternoon, but I think enough light finally started coming through to get them turned on."
Scroggins and Daves weighed only three fish today, but one was a 7-12 and another was about 6. Niggemeyer and Ippoliti bagged the maximum 10 and had a solid 4-pound average.
"Of the 125 pounds we've caught, 120 of it has come off that spot. It's really playing well for us."
He thinks it'll be even more productive if it's calm and sunny tomorrow.
"Those fish are down about 12 to 20 feet, so high skies should make it a whole lot better. And there's still a lot of them there."
4th: Big Morning for Morgenthaler
Chad Morgenthaler's team has been on fire since the start of the day-2 afternoon session. Their momentum carried through to this morning.
Morgenthaler and Mike Hawkes have fished the first flight both days, and David Dudley and Daryl Burkhardt have handled the second-flight duties.
"Mike and I whacked them right off this morning," he said. "We've got one place that's just phenomenal for the first hour, and we try to capitalize as quick as we can. Today we got two (5-pounders) and two 4s out of there."
Flipping is the team's primary pattern. He thinks it could get them 40 fish tomorrow if the weather cooperates.
"We get to fish the whole 8 hours, and anything's possible on that pond. If you get into the right school of fish and catch two or three giants, then it's on.
"I think we'll stroke them with the sun."
5th: Big Move for Howell's Squad
The Howell team's day was all about numbers as they weighed 19 fish – just one under the maximum – to compile 62 pounds and move up 18 spots.
"We got to a lot of the water we couldn't get to yesterday because of the wind," he said. "After yesterday, I kind of thought we were too far behind, but I didn't know (the weights) would drop off like they did."
He's fished with Mike O'Shea both days, and Bud Pruitt has been paired with Chip Hawkins. They've caught fish with a variety of techniques.
"We're fishing mostly shallow – 5 feet or less – and we're catching mostly spawning fish and fry-guarders. We're still learning as we go and we'll just keep running and fishing new stuff."
6th: Klein's Team Falls Short
Klein's team fished the same way it did on day 1, but the spot where Chad Brauer and Sandy Melvin did a lot of their damage a day earlier was unfishable.
That duo, which fished the afternoon flight, caught only about 19 pounds today after a 44-08 sack on day 1.
"They got six bites and they caught all six, but that was down from 14 bites yesterday," Klein said. "They were able to move around a lot yesterday, but today their best bank had 3-foot waves on it."
Klein and Clay Dyer weighed six fish for 21 pounds this morning. That was about 4 pounds more than on day 1.
"I let the team down yesterday when I only weighed three fish (and missed a couple of big ones). It's disappointing not to qualify for the finals, but we did the best we could and that's the way it ended up."
> Edwin Evers' team caught 19 fish for 65-00 – the best total for the day. They moved up from 29th place to 14th.
> Takahiro Omori's squad caught only three fish for 12-00 today and plunged from 7th place to finish 31st.
Here's the Weather Channel's forecast for the final tournament day.
> Sun, April 15 – Sunny – 69°/43°
- Wind: From the NW at 12 mph
Day 2 Standings
1. Alton Jones, Russ Lane, Steve Daniel, Kyle Mabry (Team 4) -- 140-12
2. Terry Scroggins, Chris Daves, Frank Ippoliti, James Niggemeyer (Team 40) -- 125-12
3. David Walker, Dan Morehead, Joe Thomas, Johnny Lesesne (Team 20) -- 117-12
4. Chad Morgenthaler, Mike Hawkes, David Dudley, Darryl Burkhardt (Team 28) -- 112-04
5. Randy Howell, Mike O'Shea, Bud Pruitt, Chip Hawkins (Team 17) -- 108-08
The following anglers did not make the cut and will not be fishing tomorrow.
6. Gary Klein, Chad Brauer, Sandy Melvin, Clay Dyer (Team 36) -- 103-04 -- $36,000
7. Kelly Jordon, Ray Scheide, Woo Daves, Ben Matsubu (Team 32) -- 101-12 -- $32,000
7. Zell Rowland, Mark Davis, Wes Thomas, Chris Bielert (Team 26) -- 101-12 -- $28,000
9. Mike Wurm, Mark Tyler, Pete Gluszek, Travis Loyd (Team 16) -- 100-00 -- $24,000
10. Luke Clausen, Shaw Grigsby, Sean Hoernke, Tim Dungan (Team 27) -- 98-12 -- $20,000
10. Charlie Hartley, Tom Mann Jr., Doug Garrett, Robert Collett (Team 3) -- 98-12 -- $14,000
12. Larry Nixon, Paul Elias, Randy Yarnall, Dalton Bobo (Team 13) -- 98-08 -- $14,000
13. Jeff Reynolds, Bobby Lane, Keith Williams, Jason Reyes (Team 25) -- 96-12 -- $14,000
14. Edwin Evers, Ron Shuffield, Brooks Rogers, Tommy Stiles (Team 30) -- 96-00 -- $14,000
15. Jay Yelas, Randy Blaukat, Jimmy Mason, Shawn Hagler (Team 11) -- 93-12 -- $14,000
16. Andy Morgan, Bradley Stringer, Danny Correia, Mark Burgess (Team 18) -- 93-08 -- $14,000
17. Peter Thliveros, Scott Suggs, Tim Carroll, Randy Alexander (Team 7) -- 91-12 -- $14,000
18. Denny Brauer, Matt Herren, Jon Bondy, Sam Swett (Team 33) -- 91-08 -- $14,000
19. Dean Rojas, Yuzuke Miyazaki, Elton Luce Jr., Chuck Economou (Team 15) -- 88-00 -- $14,000
20. Kevin VanDam, Matt Reed, Dave Lefebre, Theron Caldwell (Team 24) -- 85-04 -- $14,000
21. Tommy Biffle, Clark Wendlandt, David Fritts, Randy Dearman (Team 22) -- 81-12 -- $8,000
22. Chris Baumgardner, Terry Segraves, Ray Sedgwick, Mark Rose (Team 14) -- 80-04 -- $8,000
22. Jeff Kriet, Jimmy Mize, Darren Schwenkbeck, Tony DaDante (Team 19) -- 80-04 -- $8,000
24. Mike Iaconelli, Mark Menendez, Dave Mansue, Frank Lannom (Team 2) -- 80-00 -- $8,000
25. Morizo Shimizu, Cliff Pace, Brad Wall, Rick Ash (Team 10) -- 79-12 -- $8,000
26. Todd Faircloth, Anthony Gagliardi, Jeff Connella, Vince Hurtado (Team 21) -- 74-12 -- $8,000
27. Art Ferguson III, David Wharton, Jonathan Newton, Cody Bird (Team 37) -- 74-08 -- $8,000
28. Bernie Schultz, Terry Butcher, Marcel Veenstra, Mark Rizk (Team 23) -- 74-00 -- $8,000
29. Lee Bailey Jr., Terry Baksay, Roger Boler, Charlie Ingram (Team 9) -- 70-12 -- $8,000
30. John Crews Jr., Kevin Short, John Sappington, O. T. Fears III (Team 34) -- 69-04 -- $8,000
31. Takahiro Omori, Charlie Weyer, Glen Chappelear, Gerry Gostenik (Team 29) -- 66-00 -- $8,000
31. Aaron Martens, Pete Ponds, Todd Auten, Glen Delong II (Team 12) -- 66-00 -- $8,000
33. Kevin Wirth, Frank Scalish, Kurt Dove, Rich Tauber (Team 6) -- 65-12 -- $8,000
34. Mike McCelland, Rick Morris, Dave Smith, Micah Sepko (Team 5) -- 60-00 -- $8,000
35. Dave Wolak, Gary Yamamoto, Les Phelps, Mary DeVincenti (Team 1) -- 56-04 -- $8,000
36. Brent Chapman, Paul Hirosky, Jack Wade, Harold Allen (Team 8) -- 55-08 -- $8,000
37. Guy Eaker, Ish Monroe, Tommy Martin, Tim Loper (Team 35) -- 54-04 -- $8,000
38. Brian Snowden, Curt Lytle, Luke Estel, Tony Chachere (Team 31) -- 49-04 -- $8,000
39. Jason Quinn, Ken Cook, Kevin Lasyone, Homer Humphreys (Team 39) -- 44-00 -- $8,000
40. Tim Horton, Mark Tucker, Jerry Williams, Brian Penso (Team 38) -- 42-14 -- $8,000