Back in 2016, Bradley Hallman went into the final day of the FLW Tour kickoff on Lake Okeechobee with a 13 ½-pound lead. His main pattern seemed to be fading, and he ended up catching only two bass the final day. Yet, it didn’t matter. His lead was too great for anyone to overcome.
Fast forward to the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Lanier, and once again Hallman has a sizable lead. It’s not double digits, but his 55-pound, 3-ounce total is still 5 ½ pounds more than fellow Oklahoman Zack Birge. And once again, his patterns seem to be fading – he had to switch to a completely new pattern today – and his weights keep dropping, as he only brought in 13-1 today. Yet, he’s hoping he can hang on once again.
“I’m trying everything,” says Hallman. “Neither of my two patterns happened today. So I completely changed to a new deal to catch most my weight.”
Hallman has basically changed patterns every day, though he knew he had the first two going into the tournament.
He started today with his key pattern from Thursday, running dozens of deep structure spots, but it didn’t pan out and he ditched it after only an hour, saying he knew it wouldn’t go if it didn’t go early.
The Friday pattern of going after “fence pandas” – tossing a swimbait along the outside walls (fences) of marinas – only produced one 3-pound bite today. That left him to scramble around skipping a shaky head under shallow docks and walkways to fill out the rest of his limit.
While he’s happy to still be in the lead, he admits he really doesn’t know what he’s going to do tomorrow, as all three of his patterns require sun. Tomorrow’s forecast is solid rain.
“I don’t know how to catch these fish when it’s cloudy,” says Hallman. “I did get a couple good bites late when I ran back up closer to takeoff, but I don’t know if I can win up here. The fish seem skinnier. I think if I’m going to win I have to go to the lower end.
“I’m really going to have to think tonight about what to do.”
Top 10 pros
1. Bradley Hallman – Norman, Okla. – 55-3 (15)
2. Zack Birge – Blanchard, Okla. – 49-10 (15)
3. Jeff Gustafson – Keewatin, Ont. – 48-10 (15)
4. Jason Johnson – Gainesville, Ga. – 48-9 (15)
5. Joseph Webster – Fulton, Miss. – 47-10 (15)
6. Braxton Setzer – Montgomery, Ala. – 47-5 (15)
7. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Calif. – 46-14 (15)
8. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 46-13 (15)
9. David Williams – Maiden, N.C. – 46-6 (15)
10. Jordan Osborne – Longview, Texas – 46-4 (15)