Arkansas pro Mike McClelland caught a limit of 13 pounds, 8 ounces to take over the lead on day two of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Lowrance on Table Rock Lake with 30-4.Targeting gravel flats, McClelland has mostly caught his fish cranking or on an articulated jig. Around the top five, a range of finesse and reactions are playing.
2. Hensley Powell – Whitwell, Tenn. — 29-5 (10)
Sitting less than a pound off the lead, Hensley Powell could only muster 12-9 on day two and fell out of his day one tie with McClelland.
Powell is targeting prespawn bass and following a pattern that he developed in practice. Powell didn’t divulge specifics, but he says he’s targeting specific spots along the prespawn migration. Powell says he’s fishing moving baits slowly and getting bit all day.
Despite his solid performance, he says he’s frustrated that days one and two have not produced the type of limits he was catching before the tournament. The cold front that arrived yesterday seems to have the fish in a state of flux, but Powell is hopeful that the barometric fluctuation associated with the stormy weather forecast for Saturday night will spur the big ones into biting.
“I probably culled 20 times today, but I only had one big bite and it got off,” Powell says. “In practice, I was averaging three to four big bites a day. I can catch keepers; it’s just hard to get a good one.
“I’m targeting staging areas and I’m not seeing anyone doing what I’m doing. I don’t see the big ones not being there; I just don’t think they’re biting right now. If they’ll bite tomorrow, I’ll have 19 pounds — I did it three days in a row in practice.”
3. Jeremy Lawyer — Sarcoxie, Mo. — 29-1 (10)
A mere four ounces separate third-place Jeremy Lawyer from second place, but the Missouri pro’s movement from 50th place to third was the day’s largest improvement. Lawyer caught 12 pounds on day one and added 17-1 today for a total of 29-1.
“I caught about the same amount of fish, but I just got two big bites today,” Lawyer says. “I caught a 5- and a 4 1/2-pounder and that makes up a lot of your weight. I caught one big one this morning and one big one this afternoon.”
Lawyer says he ran the wind today, bouncing from one windward point to another. He fished areas he had not fished on day one and caught all of his fish on moving baits.
“I was just flying by the seat of my pants,” Lawyer says. “Every time I thought I had it figured out, I’d go an hour without a bite. But I know the type of bank I want to look for, so I ruled out some of the ones they’re not going to be on.”
4. Graden Hansen — Lees Summit, Mo. — 28-13 (10)
Adding 15-12 to the 13-1 he caught on day one, Graden Hansen improved 26 places to take fourth with 28-13. Anchoring his day was a 7-pound, 3-ounce largemouth that stands as the tournament’s largest and transformed a check-cut kinda day into a final-round qualifier.
“It was just a lucky bite; I pulled up on a spot that I usually fish in the winter and fall,” Hansen says. “Two casts before, I had lost one, so I checked my hook and found I had a little bur. I changed my hook out and two cast later, I got that big one.
“I was looking at about 10 pounds without that fish.”
Hansen caught his big one on an umbrella rig when the afternoon wind produced a good reaction bite scenario. He caught his other four on a jig and a slow-rolled spinnerbait.
5. Stacey King — Reeds Spring, Mo. — 28-7 (10)
Gaining 32 spots from day one, Missouri legend Stacey King turned in a limit of 15-11 and earned his final-round berth with a fifth-place total of 28-7. Since day one, King has been catching his fish on points.
“There are a lot of prespawn fish moving up on points and I’ve been fishing swimbaits and tubes,” he says. “I got fortunate and caught a couple of really good fish today.
“I struggled and only caught six keepers today. I only had four in the last hour and I didn’t think I was going to get a limit, until I caught two good ones in that last hour.”
King says he caught his fish on a Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad swimbait on a 1/4- to 5/16-ounce head and a Bass Pro Shops Teaser Tube on a 1/4-ounce head. He fished the swimbait on windy points and the tube in calmer waters.