Everyone needs a backup plan. Bradley Hallman sure was glad he had one on Friday.
At around 1 p.m. Hallman only had one small fish swimming in his livewell. Fortunately, he’d been sitting on an ace in the hole – a secondary pattern that just so happens to get better later in the day. That pattern got him right in a hurry, as he quickly sacked up another 18 pounds, 11 ounces of spotted bass to extend his lead at the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Lanier. His 42-2 total is a little over 7 pounds more than second-place angler David Williams.
“I’ve got two deals; well, maybe three, but two main deals,” says the Norman, Okla., pro. “They’re totally different deals.”
Hallman started out on his first pattern Friday – running dozens of deeper structures – because he knows despite being high risk, it’s also high reward. The high rewards showcased themselves on day one when he crushed 23-11, but the risk reared its head on day two, as Hallman only connected with one fish all morning.
He wasn’t the only pro to struggle, however. Weights were down across the field, as many pros said the bluebird skies and post-frontal conditions had completely moved their fish or at the very least changed how they were biting.
Hallman managed to catch two small keepers shortly after 1 p.m., but then he decided to try his second deal. He’d sampled it on day one, quickly catching a 4-pounder and leaving. Today he leaned on it a bit more to help extend his lead.
As for what his second pattern is, Hallman is extremely tight-lipped about it.
“I don’t even want to say,” Hallman says. “It’s so easy to copy. Guys are going to find out tomorrow after the FLW Live coverage, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”
Update – 8:10 p.m. ET
Pro Aaron Britt of Yuba City, Calif., was disqualified from the tournament after he was found to be in violation of FLW Tour Rule No. 6. The rule states that tournament waters will go off-limits to pros 13 days prior to the first practice day in all tournaments. During the off-limits period, practice and competition days, pros may not solicit and/or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except pros confirmed in the tournament and through publicly available sources.
As a result of Britt's disqualification, Rob Jordan has moved up from 31st to 30th and with fish on day three.
Top 10 pros
1. Bradley Hallman – Norman, Okla. – 42-2 (10)
2. David Williams – Maiden, N.C. – 34-13 (10)
3. Zack Birge – Blanchard, Okla. – 34-9 (10)
4. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 34-6 (10)
5. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 33-5 (10)
6. Joseph Webster – Fulton, Miss. – 32-13 (10)
7. Braxton Setzer – Montgomery, Ala. – 32-7 (10)
8. James Watson – Lampe, Mo. – 32-6 (10)
9. Carl Jocumsen – Frisco, Texas – 32-5 (10)
10. Kyle Weisenburger – Ottawa, Ohio – 32-4 (10)