Fresh off a runner-up finish on Lake of the Ozarks in the Plains Division opener, Andy Newcomb is now in the driver’s seat for the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. event on Grand Lake – which is presented by Fenwick. After catching 17 pounds, 13 ounces on Day 1, Newcomb climbed from ninth to first with a 19-5 bag on a much tougher Day 2 to give him 37-2 overall and a 1-5 lead over Oklahoma’s Chris Jones.
Light wind and clear skies throughout much of Day 2 led to an off bite on Grand, despite many pros thinking today would be better than yesterday. So, the fact that Newcomb’s weight improved today was impressive and a bit of a surprise to him, too.
“I’m kind of surprised, really,” Newcomb says of his week so far. “I got down here Monday and had a broken trolling motor, so I got a half day of practice and it was bad. Tuesday was a little better and Wednesday was good.
“Yesterday I caught ‘em about like I thought I could, and I didn’t know how many times I could do that. Today, I kind of stumbled onto something and made hay in a very short time.”
With such a stark contrast between the weather on both days of the event, plus the fact the lake has been falling, you’d expect pros to have to make adjustments each day. That’s been the case for Newcomb.
“I knew pretty immediately today it was different,” Newcomb says. “I struggled for a long time today and I don’t know how much of it is weather or how much is pressure. This lake fishes small and pressure gets to ‘em. Tomorrow is going to be a crapshoot. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but we’ll see when I get out there.”
Newcomb has history on Grand and can adapt with the best of them. Besides looking for his first Toyota Series win, Newcomb also has his sights set on some other goals.
“I set high goals and I told my wife even before I decided I was going to fish [the entire Plains Division] that I wanted to win AOY,” he says. “I want to qualify for the [Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit]. I don’t really half-ass anything and I try to win every event. However the points shake out, they shake out. I’m never going to just go fishing (for points). I’m going to try to win.”
1. Andy Newcomb – 37 – 02 (10)
2. Chris M Jones – 35 – 13 (10)
3. Joey Cantrell – 35 – 08 (10)
4. Eric Olliverson – 35 – 04 (10)
5. Kyle Minke – 35 – 03 (10)
6. Toby Hartsell – 34 – 09 (10)
7. Brent Algeo – 34 – 04 (10)
8. TJ Martin – 33 – 14 (10)
9. Kyle Weisenburger – 33 – 14 (10)
10. James Watson – 33 – 13 (10)
With just a 5-ounce lead to start Saturday’s championship round, Derek Felton will be on the hunt for his first MLF win. Felton weighed 11-13 on Day 1 to get the ball rolling. Today, he dropped 16-10 on the scale to slide up the leaderboard and now has his first Top 10 outside of Missouri. Tomorrow, he’ll fish with Newcomb who’s co-angler caught four worth 11-10 on Day 2, so he’ll certainly be around the right quality to make a win a reality.