LA CROSSE, Wis. – The leaderboard on the Upper Mississippi Pools 7, 8, and 9 changed a lot in part to the river changing itself at the High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship on Thursday. Water levels, along with a hectic waterway with competitors and barges both making their way up and downstream. Moving up the leaderboard on Day 2 were Carter Pjesky and J.D. McBroom of Kaneland, Illinois, who slapped a three-fish limit of 13 pounds, 3 ounces on the scales. Their two-day total reached 23-1 and gives them a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead over Minnesota’s Zachary Piescher and Cole Semier of the Cambridge-Isanti Blue Jackets.
“(Today) started pretty slow,” Pjesky said. “We had some smaller fish (early) that we knew we needed to upgrade if we wanted to have a shot at even making the Top 10. We ended up connecting with some of those quality fish and that’s what you need out here.”
Pjesky and McBroom had left some fish from Day 1 that they knew were of those better quality and opted to return to them on Day 2 to fish them more thoroughly.
“We had one spot we didn’t fish completely and thoroughly yesterday,” Pjesky said. “But we went back and fished it completely today and I think that’s what helped.”
While the fish on their main spot are primarily largemouth around vegetation, the pair noted that an element of current is playing a major factor in the strength of the spot that is producing over a 4-pound average.
“Those fish are definitely current-related,” McBroom said. “Those big largemouth don’t need a ton of current. But they do like a little current, so you have got to find those areas with the right amount of current where they set up and feed.”
The pair from Kaneland feel fairly confident they have a shot at victory tomorrow, knowing that their area likely still holds some quality fish in it, and they still have areas they haven’t touched if it doesn’t.
“We haven’t fished all of our key areas,” McBroom said. “We tried to save some fish for the next few days.
Pjesky was also conscious that Pools 7, 8, and 9 are popular locally and local pressure could play a factor in their decision-making on the Final Day.
“I think there should be a couple more good ones in there,” Pjesky said. “We know there’s a tournament down there Saturday. So, we hope no one is in there practicing. But we definitely think there’s a couple good ones left in there.”
“I think we will just go in there and do the same thing, and see where we end up,” McBroom said.