(Mar. 07, 2014 – Smith Lake)…
The cold, wet, miserable weather that brutalized the fishermen yesterday at Smith Lake was nowhere to be seen today at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open presented by Allstate. After the fog lifted this morning, the lake and the anglers were bathed in bright, warm sunshine.
Many anglers that struggled yesterday blamed the bone-chilling weather for their slow start. Those that did well yesterday wished for more nasty weather.
A few of the fishermen that did well yesterday believed they would fare even better today if the sun came out of hiding. One of them was local angler David Kilgore of Jasper, Ala., the leader after Day 1.
“The sun helped me a lot today,” Kilgore said. “It was just what I wanted.”
Kilgore’s day started slowly. It took him until 10 o’clock to boat his first limit. As the sun got higher, Kilgore tuned into what the bass were doing. From then on he landed another 30 bass. His 17-pound, 15-ounce, limit today brings his two-day total to 37 pounds, 14 ounces.
“I’m super psyched for tomorrow,” Kilgore said. “I’ll sleep well tonight.”
If Kilgore holds off the rest of the Top 12 on tomorrow’s final day, he will collect $6,741, a Nitro Z-9 powered by a Mercury 225 ProXS and an invitation to fish the 2015 Bassmaster Classic if he fishes all three tournaments in the Southern Opens series.
Kilgore leads his friend Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., who is second with 34 pounds, 9 ounces.
Although the two anglers are sharing information, Kilgore is catching mainly largemouth bass while Auten has weighed only spotted bass. Auten says they are doing entirely different things to catch their bass.
Jordan Wiggins of Cullman, Ala., made the biggest move today, leaping from 14th to third place with a limit that weighed 19 pounds, 9 ounces, the second heaviest of the tournament.
“I fished the same way I did yesterday, but I had to switch areas,” Wiggins said. “I left them still biting at noon.”
Wiggins’ limit consisted of four spotted bass and one largemouth of more than 4 pounds, which was his biggest fish.
South Carolina’s Michael Murphy also played leapfrog. His 18-pound, 9-ounce limit of largemouth and spotted bass jumped him from 10th to fourth place. The heaviest bass in his bag was a gorgeous 5-pound, 5-ounce spotted bass that he caught early in the day.
Connecticut angler Stephen Longobardi stubbornly refuses to give up the lead in the co-angler division. His three-bass limit of 7 pounds, 13 ounces brings his total to 17 pounds, 4 ounces. The keys to the Skeeter TZX170 powered by a Yamaha F115LA outboard are nearly in his grasp. He can’t let up, however. There are six other co-anglers within about 3 pounds of him. That’s too close for comfort.
Anglers will take off Saturday at 6 a.m. CT from Lewis Smith Lake Dam, 640 Powerhouse Rd., Jasper, AL 35504. The Saturday weigh-in will be held at 3:30 p.m. CT at Bass Pro Shops, 5000 Bass Pro Blvd., Leeds, AL 35094.
The event host is the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, Ala.
2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Presenting Sponsor: Allstate
2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Boat U.S., Booyah, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Plano, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.