BRANSON, Mo. — Jeff Kriet lost some ground to the leader on Day 2 of the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite Series tournament. But he sure didn't lose any confidence.
"I can still win this," said Kriet, who is in 15th place, 4 pounds, 13 ounces behind Mark Davis' first-place total of 33-11. "I haven't had my big day yet."
Cliff Prince showed just how much a big day means this week at Table Rock Lake. Prince went from 97th place Thursday to 12th place Friday by catching a five-bass limit weighing 19-10.
"I fished totally different," Prince said. "Different water, different structure, different bait."
Prince caught a limit both days. But his five bass caught Thursday in the White River on a crankbait weighed only 9-6. The limit he caught Friday from the James River on a jerkbait gave him the biggest bag of the tournament so far. And it gave Prince, Kriet and everyone else who made the Top 50 enough confidence to know they're very much in the hunt for the tournament title — everyone.
"It's definitely still wide open," said Kelly Jordon, who is 42nd, 8 ½ pounds behind Davis. "You don't even need a big fish. You could get five 4- or 5-pounders and be right there. And everyone knows this lake has plenty of those."
Timmy Horton also made a major move up the standings Friday, going from 58th place to ninth on the strength of his 18-6 bag. Horton, like many others, sifted through a whole bunch of small bass before reaching 18-6. He's a prime example of how you don't even need a big bass kicker — a 7- or 8-pounder — to make a big move.
"I probably caught close to a hundred (bass)," Horton said. "My big bass weighed 4 ½ pounds, but I had nothing less than 3 ½ pounds."
Davis was in second place on Day 1 with 18-8. He moved into first place Friday even though he weighed-in 15-3.
"I'm just catching a lot of fish," Davis said. "You'll start to doubt yourself at times. But usually the law of averages will cure you. I finally did catch a 4-pounder today."
Davis said he's getting 60 to 80 bites a day. He thinks he might be doing something slightly different than everyone else.
"It's a bait and technique both," he said. "There are probably some guys doing this, but maybe not exactly the same way I am."
Chris Lane moved up from third to second place Friday and was overjoyed. The Florida native said he's never even cashed a check on one of the clear, highland lakes, like Table Rock.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic," said Lane. "I'm not getting a lot of bites, like some of these guys. I'm just putting my head down and going fishing."
Lane said he's using a red Luck-E-Strike crankbait, adding, "Bigger fish like red baits where I'm from."
Saturday's weather could drastically reduce the number of fish being caught in this event. Wind is definitely your friend on Table Rock, as it has been all week, whether on warm days or cold ones, like Friday. But the wind is forecast to be less than 10 miles per hour Saturday.
"That's a game-changer," said Aaron Martens, the Day 1 leader who dropped to third — 11 ounces behind Davis. "I'll definitely make some drastic changes if that happens."
As Cliff Prince proved on Friday with that remarkable move from 97th to 12th place in the standings, anything can happen at Table Rock Lake this week.