Yankton, S.D.— Defending Central Divisional champion Jamie Laiche moved into position today to win this year's BASS Federation Nation event at Lewis & Clark Reservoir.
The 32-year-old Ascension Area Anglers club member caught a 10-pound, 8-ounce limit of bass to jump from third place into the lead with a two-day total of 22-2. The Louisiana angler had to make some adjustments, especially after today's takeoff was delayed for two hours as a severe thunderstorm passed over the lake.
"I had to slow way down while I was fishing and then I had to run and gun and hit a bunch of spots where I had gotten bites at in practice," said Laiche, a 2008 Bassmaster Classic qualifier who is fishing in his third divisional.
"Basically starting out late hurt my bite and a lot of other people's bites but I made the adjustments and went trash fishing. I was throwing anything from crankbaits to spinnerbaits to Rat-L-Traps."
Laiche started his day pitching Texas-rigged creature baits in his primary area, which he said received heavy fishing pressure. "What I try to do is fish slower and work my bait out a lot farther than everybody else," he said.
Relying on the same tactics that produce for him back home, Laiche is targeting mostly shallow fish. "You put it in front of one and it is going to hit it," he said. "I'm not sure if I can do it again tomorrow. I am on some quality fish. Hopefully it will pay off."
BASS Federation Nations from eight states are battling for the top prize of the tournament, a $30,000 Skeeter ZX180 bass boat/Yamaha outboard rig. Oklahoma leads with an accumulative weight of 152 pounds, 12 ounces while Louisiana is in second place with 151-5.
The Central Divisional anglers also have a chance to advance to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship. The top finisher on each state team earns a berth to this international championship for amateur bass anglers.
Anglers from the 12-man Louisiana squad have to overtake tournament leader Laiche to qualify for the championship. Leading the other states are Kerry Kruep (Kansas), Greg Cooper (Missouri), Dale Roden (Oklahoma), Duke Gunnell (Arkansas), Skipper Smith (Mississippi), Jim Kelly (Nebraska) and Bryan Schmidt (Texas).
Winners in the individual and team competitions will be determined tomorrow when the final weigh-in for the Central Divisional begins at 2 p.m. CDT at the Midway unit of the Lewis & Clark Recreation Area.