BOLIVAR, Mo. – Three new teams took on Stockton Lake for the second match of the General Tire Team Series Costa Qualifier Presented by Toyota. The first day ended with Team Fox Rent a Car (made up of Adrian Avena, Mark Daniels Jr. and Randy Howell,) leading on SCORETRACKER® after catching 34 bass for 59 pounds even. Captain Avena’s team will take a slim 1-3 lead over Team Knighten Industries — Jesse Wiggins, Dave Lefebre and Matt Lee — into Day 2.
It’s no secret that Avena and Daniels have a strong connection off the water. The two anglers room together on the road during the Bass Pro Tour and have quite the rapport. However, it was Howell and Daniels’ connection that led to the team taking the lead on Day 1.
“Randy was able to get on a pattern early on in the day that Mark was really able to capitalize on,” Avena said. “Randy saw that cranking transition rock was the move, and Mark really picked up on that in the second period.”
Howell brought in 10 bass for 17-7, but it was Daniels who capitalized the most, catching 18 bass for 32-3. Avena, who caught six bass for 9-6, was impressed to hear Howell and Daniels’ communication over the headsets they were issued.
“Anything that was a little steeper that had some wind on it was what was really working for those two guys,” Avena said. “Mark was out a little more on the main lake and Randy was focused more on the secondary points. It was a pattern that you could run throughout the lake and it was definitely the best bite going on.”
As the day came to a close, Daniels had the most individual weight on SCORETRACKER® by nearly 12 pounds over Lefebre, in large part thanks to his 6-4 largemouth Missouri giant he caught on a squarebill crankbait in the final period. It was also Daniels’ final fish of the day, a 1-15 largemouth that gave his team the lead heading into the final day of competition.
Team Fox Rent a Car’s plan for Day 2 is to lean heavily into what was learned by Howell and Daniels and hopefully ride that wave to a victory.
“Our plan going into the second day is to just stay focused on what we’re doing because it seems to really be working,” Avena said. “I really feel like we can utilize what we learned and apply it to any lake in this area. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and trying to get this win locked up.”
You can catch Day 2 of Match 2 of the Costa Qualifier at the following times on Outdoor Channel: March 4 (2-4 p.m. ET), March 5 (4-6 p.m. ET) and March 10 (9-11 a.m. ET)