For a guy who’s put together two solid days of fishing to occupy the top spot in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake hosted by the Henry County Alliance, Curtis Richardson doesn’t exude a lot of confidence.
It’s understandable. On day two of the championship, the 31-year-old Ontario angler had six bites all day, and managed a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces. So Richardson isn’t exactly covered up with aggressive fish. He’s also fishing in an area near New Johnsonville, Tenn., that’s going to get covered up with boats Saturday, and he has Billy Schroeder stalking him – that in itself is enough to make a body worry.
In fact, counting his 24-13 stringer from day one, Richardson has a total of 46-12, or about a 1¼ pounds ahead of Schroeder. Both anglers moved up in the standings after first-round leader Bobby Padgett faltered with a second-round stringer of 17-2. The trio is among the top 10 finalists who will compete for the title and the $100,000 prize ($120,000 if Ranger Cup-qualified) that goes with it in Saturday’s final round.
Richardson doesn’t know if he can maintain the pace he’s set, but, then again, he didn’t know how well he could compete on Kentucky Lake in the first place, having never laid eyes on the lake before he earned his spot in the All-American.
“I might wind up going to some of the places I found in pre-practice,” says Richardson, one of The Bass Federation representatives in the All-American. “I found about 50 schools, though I was doing so well down at New Johnsonville I never really took the time to check them out. I might have to tomorrow [in Saturday’s championship round].”
Friday, Richardson rotated among four spots – two of them key to his daily grind and the source of most of his keepers thus far in the tournament. He’s fishing “a moving bait,” but won’t reveal what it is yet. If his pattern is similar to those of most of the other tournament leaders, it’s a swimbait, a crankbait or one of the gargantuan spoons the locals call “hubcaps.”
“I had my two biggest fish today [Friday] by about 9:30, then caught another one at 11, and the rest after that,” recalls Richardson, who aspires to being a professional tournament angler. “It was very slow and I had to go to a drop-shot to get my last two keepers. I’m fishing a shell bed in about 15 feet of water and another stretch of ledge that’s in about 22 feet of water that has a little ditch through it at about 25 feet deep.”
The self-employed Canadian businessman says the howling wind that scoured the lake south to north Friday made fishing problematic. He couldn’t set up on his spots as well, nor hold the boat in place as well as day one, when there was only a slight breeze.
“My biggest problem is going to be the local fishing pressure,” opines Richardson. “I was told that there’s a 100-boat tournament going out of New Johnsonville on Saturday, and those guys were out practicing today. I had a bunch come in on me and just watch. They know where I’m fishing and what I’m fishing with. All I can do is run down there first thing and hope that it’s not covered up. If it is, I’m either going to have to get in there with them and rub boats, or run some new water.”
Treadwell Paces Non-Boaters
Saturday was The Bass Federation day at the All-American, or so it seemed as a pair of TBF anglers took the lead in both divisions: Curtis Richardson as a boater and Will Treadwell as a non-boater. Both reached the All-American via the TBF National Championship.
Treadwell went from fifth to first in the non-boater standings on the strength of a 20-pound, 2-ounce limit, the biggest sack so far in the non-boater ranks. Treadwell, of Burford, Ga., qualified for the TBF championship that led to the All-American by winning the BOAT/US College Championship as a member of the University of Georgia team.
“Mainly I’m using one of the magnum spoons and a big worm,” says Treadwell. “I’m really ripping the spoon before letting it fall. That seems to make a big difference between getting bit or not.”
Saturday’s championship weigh-in of the top 10 begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Walmart in Paris, Tenn. The weigh-in also can be viewed live on flwfishing.com