BAINBRIDGE, Ga. -- "Tough." That word has best described the fishing on Lake Seminole at the 2010 finale of the Bassmaster Southern Opens presented by Bass Pro Shops.
But, as always, some competitors managed to outsmart the bass, including Derek Allen, who brought his second five-bass limit to the scales in two days and took the lead among the professional anglers.
Allen, who owns a fence company in Louisiana, was in fifth place after the first day of competition with 17 pounds, 10 ounces. His second round catch weighed just 11-11 (for a total of 29-5), but it was enough for a four-ounce lead over Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins.
The affable Allen caught his bass on a SPRO Bronzeye Frog65 fished on 65-pound-test braided line in the heaviest cover he could find. "I use a frog with a black belly to create a better silhouette for the fish," Allen said, "but I like the top of the frog to be another color so I can see it more easily on the surface."
Missed fish are the bane of frog anglers everywhere, and Allen was no exception. His four-ounce lead might have been much larger had he landed a big bass that struck his topwater bait. "She got me mired in the vegetation, and I just couldn't get her out," he said. "I felt her shaking her head and pulling for at least 30 seconds, but I couldn't budge her or get through the jungle to get to her.
I'm thinking of going to 80-pound braid tomorrow, but there's just so much pressure you can apply before something has to give." Allen also offered some advice for other anglers who fish heavy vegetation. "After you catch one out of the thick stuff, you really need to let it cool off for a while," he said. There might be five or 10 more bass in there, but they generally won't bite right after you pull one out of there. You need to fish another area and come back later.
Terry Scroggins moved from eighth into second place on Day Two despite only bringing four bass to the scales. Fortunately for the Florida pro, two of those weighed better than five pounds each and his catch totaled 14-11, good enough for 29-1 over two days. Scroggins was pitching and flipping soft plastics to heavy vegetation for his bass.
Jonathon VanDam (26-1), Derek Remitz (26-0) and Cliff Prince (25-13) round out the top five. Kyle Fox, the Day One leader, had just three small bass and fell to ninth place. Apart from the battle for a Bassmaster Open trophy and more than $35,000 in prize money, two berths in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic and seven invitations to the Bassmaster Elite Series are at stake tomorrow as the top 30 professionals take to the water with their co-anglers.
Andy Montgomery of South Carolina and Bobby Lane of Florida lead the Southern Open points standings coming into this event, but their positions are precarious. Montgomery is having a solid tournament and is currently in 14th place. He'll be fishing in the final round on Saturday. Lane finished 39th and will be heading home; he has already earned a spot in the Classic through the Elite Series.
Picking up Lane's slack is Randall Tharp, an Alabama pro who is third in the season standings and 10th so far at Seminole. If he can hang on for one more day, he may claim his first Classic berth. On the amateur side, Georgia's Fred Hood took a big lead into Day Two. His two bass today weighed just 3-6, but he still holds a five-pound advantage over his closest challenger.
Co-anglers are competing for a top prize of a Skeeter-Yamaha boat and motor package. Check out the latest in the action on Bassmaster.com, including live, interactive video with the winner after Saturday's final weigh-in.