SOUTH HILL, Va. – The day-two weather conditions at the Lake Gaston Stren Series event were 180-degrees opposite of day one. Yesterday’s summer-like heat and humidity sent temperatures to the 90-degree mark. But with today’s wind and drizzle, the day-time high barely reached 70. Welcome fall!
Such rainy, drizzly conditions seemed to the make largemouth bass bite better as the catch rates went up considerably on both the pro and co-angler side.
On day one, 94 pros checked in 16 limits, 216 bass weighing a total of 447 pounds. Today, 26 limits, 269 bass weighing a total of 560 pounds, and 4 ounces crossed the stage.
The bite certainly improved for Joel Richardson of Kernersville, N.C., who followed his 12-pound, 1-ounce effort yesterday with 13 pounds, 9 ounces today to take the tournament lead with a two-day total of 25 pounds, 10 ounces.
But for Richardson, the better bite had a lot more to do with moving water than rainy conditions.
“At noon I did not have a fish,” Richardson said. “And I made a move to a current-oriented spot just about the time the current kicked on. Normally it takes about 2 hours for the water to really start moving after they turn the water on. Well, they must have turned on all the gates at once today because in about 15 minutes the water went from sitting still to absolutely ripping and the bite came alive.”
“In a matter of minutes – between my partner and me – we caught 9 keepers,” he continued. “The fish are everywhere in this place, but they’re scattered out. And when they kicked that current on, they all come to this one place so I’m hoping for some current tomorrow.”
Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., moved up to second place after day two with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 10 ounces.
Lefebre is covering water with just two lures. Yesterday he used a Tabu jig, swimming it through the grass and today, with the rain, he put a buzzbait in the mix.
“I’m covering a ton of water but I am keying on a certain kind of bank – and it all has to do with how the bank falls off into deep water – but I can’t really tell if it’s right until I get right up and look at it,” he added. “I have yet to repeat any water in two days, but tomorrow I’m going return to some of my good water from day one that I fished over pretty fast.”
As for possibly winning this Stren event, Lefebre said: “It would certainly help take away some of the sting from last week.”
Lefebre missed winning the FLW Series Eastern Division Angler of the Year title last week at Clarks Hill by just two points.
Baumgardner has got quality fish going, but has yet to cap a limit either day. Each day he has weighed in four bass for just over 11 pounds.
“I’m running the banks with a Horny Toad and a buzzbait,” Baumgardner said. “I just can’t get that fifth one in the boat. I’ve had the bites…I had a big one come up on that Toad twice today and missed him both times.”
Andy Francis of South Boston, Va., moved into the fourth place position today thanks to a 13-pound, 1-ounce limit which pushed him to a two-day total of 22 pounds even.
Francis is catching some smaller fish from the grass, but noted that his better fish are coming by cranking out deep.
Day-one leader Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., slipped to fifth today with a 7-pound limit, giving him a two-day total of 21 pounds, 6 ounces.
Powroznik favors the sun for his technique of sight-fishing pods of bass swimming down the bank and it was `dark-thirty’ all day due to the heavy cloud cover today.
“That sun not only helps see the bass, but more than anything I think it helps put the bait up shallow and that never happened today; there was not near as much bait shallow as yesterday.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the Stren Series Northern on Lake Gaston after day two:
6th: Billy Bledsoe of Fayetteville, N.C., two-day total of 20-6
7th: Ivan Morris of Virginia Beach, Va., two-day total of 20-5
8th: Chris Novack of Mansfield Center, Conn., two-day total of 19-15
9th: Chad Hicks of Rockville, Va., two-day total of 19-13
10th: Joseph Sancho of New Windsor, N.Y., two-day total of 19-0
Sean Stepp of Stafford, Va., caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day two weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces.
Gandee leads co-anglers
Charles Gandee of Efland, N.C., took over the lead in the Co-angler Division today with a big back-deck limit of 13 pounds, 12 ounces, which gave him a two-day total of 20 pounds, 14 ounces.
Gandee now leads the co-anglers by nearly 6 pounds.
His limit was anchored by a 4-pound, 11-ounce bass that bit a Texas-rigged worm on the outside of the grass.
Moo Bae of West Friendship, Md., is in second place with a two-day total of 14 pounds, 15 ounces.
Bae caught his fish on a Senko today,
Lady co-angler Trudy Noechel of Lost Creek, W.V., caught a limit weighing 10 pounds, 3 ounces today to move into third place with a two-day total of 13 pounds, 1 ounce.
Phil Jarmon of Apex, N.C., is in fourth place with a two-day total of 11 pounds, 10 ounces.
George Yund of Albany, N.Y., rounds out the top-five co-anglers with a two-day total of 10 pounds, 10 ounces.
Reagan Henry of Texarkana, Texas, caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the Stren Series event on Lake Gaston after day two:
6th: Mark Cummings of Pembroke, N.C., two-day total of 10-4
7th: Kevin Hoogenboom of Twinsburg, Ohio, two-day total of 9-3
8th: Jerry Hayden of Charlotte, N.C., two-day total of 9-2
9th: Keith Redd of Virgilina, Va., two-day total of 8-13
10th: A.J. Zitzmann of Montreal, Q.C., two-day total of 8-12
Day three of the Stren Series Northern Division event will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. on Lake Gaston from Americamps Lake Gaston Resort located at 9 Lakeside Lane in Bracey, Va.