John Cox increased his lead Friday at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on the Harris Chain by sticking to his sight-fishing ways. But behind him are a few anglers that are starting to dial in more of an offshore bite for fish that have left the honeymoon suite and are headed for the all-you-can-eat buffet. Over the next couple of days it will be interesting to see if the offshore postspawn program has enough gas to close in on Cox.
Here’s a better look at the pros also in the hunt.
2. Shane LeHew – Catawba, N.C. – 38-13
Shane LeHew backed up his 23-15 catch from day one with 14-14 catch today to hold on to his second-place spot.
LeHew caught a bonus big fish off pad stems and then filled his limit with four bedding fish from a canal.
“I’m pretty sure that big one on the pad stem was bedding,” LeHew says. “I couldn’t see it, but I missed it on the first cast, pitched back in there and caught her on the second cast. And as for my sight-fishing canal, I think I dusted the rest of those off today, so I’m basically out of sight-fish. With fewer boats on the water tomorrow, I’m going back to make sure no new ones moved in and then I’m just going fishing.”
3. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 36-13
Here’s a shocker: Bryan Thrift is inching his way forward through the top five…again.
Thrift is fishing on Lake Griffin this week, mostly because he finished second at the Costa FLW Series event on Seminole last week and was late getting here on Sunday for the first day of practice. So as he drove down to the Chain, he stopped on the first lake he came to, which was Griffin.
“I put in there at 1:00 on Sunday and spent the afternoon there,” Thrift says. “I caught some 2- to 3-pounders and I just felt comfortable up there. Once I practiced down [on Harris] a day, I decided I really liked Griffin better and I went back the last day of practice to see if I could dial it in a little better.”
Thrift says he is not looking or fishing for spawners, but is winding for fish he believes are done spawning.
And now for the scary part: Thrift adds that he does not really feel dialed in on Griffin…yet.
4. Joshua Weaver – Macon, Ga. – 36-9
Joshua Weaver posted the biggest limit on day two – 22-0 – to rocket into fourth place, which could be a sign of things to come.
Weaver is casting and winding more on the outsides for fish that are probably done with the spawn, and today he says a little breeze may have helped upgrade his weight.
“I can’t stand sitting still and fishing slow,” Weaver says. “I’m a winder – if I can find them winding something, that’s what I’m going to do.
“We had more wind today and I’m pretty sure that’s what helped me more than anything,” he continues. “Yesterday, I had a lot of fish just nip at the bait. Today they were eating it – without a doubt. I reeled a 6- or 7-pounder all the way to the boat and right before it got to the net it opened its mouth and I watched the whole bait come out – that fish was never even hooked – it was just clamped down on the line so hard and wouldn’t let go.”
5. Bradley Dortch – Atmore, Ala. – 36-6
Bradley Dortch is another pro who seems to have dialed up a healthy post-spawn bite today, sacking the second-biggest limit worth 21-2 to jump into fifth place.
“At 1:00 today I only had three little keepers,” Dortch says. “I made a little move out offshore and loaded the boat. I went out there and started winding and dragging on offshore grass and it was on.”