EUFAULA, Ala. — He may not have realized it, but Rob Digh was partly responsible for a spike in the decibel level at the Day 2 weigh-ins for the B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional on Lake Eufaula.
The noise fluctuation came with the announcement that North Carolina had moved atop the team competition, thanks largely to Digh moving atop the overall tournament standings with a total weight of 38 pounds, 1 ounce.
The North Carolina fans erupted with joy when the final tallies showed their team’s two-day total weight at 310 pounds, 10 ounces. Digh contributed a large chunk of that weight with his second-round limit that weighed 22-13, the event’s heaviest bag.
Essential to his success, Digh noted, was a longer period of activity.
“The fish started biting better early today because the weather was much warmer,” Digh said. “Yesterday, the fish didn’t start biting until lunchtime, and we’re coming in at 2 o’clock, so we just ran out of time.
“I was doing the same thing I did yesterday; the fish just bit better today. The clouds helped some, but the main thing was the warmth.”
Digh was understandably guarded with his details, but he did say he caught all of his fish on moving baits. Fishing 40 miles from the takeoff site at Lakepoint Marina, he targeted wood and grass.
“I changed colors some, but I was using one particular bait,” said Digh. “I changed colors based on water clarity because the water is starting to clear up.”
Noting that he caught fish all day, Digh said he boated 30 bass.
“I said yesterday that there are some 25- to 30-pound sacks out there,” he said. “This is not 25, but it’s close. I caught a lot of fish today. I don’t know if I can duplicate that tomorrow, but I think I can get close.”
Overall, the Day 2 weights were slightly better than those of Day 1. Notably, the only other bag heavier than 20 pounds belonged to Alabama High School anglers Zeke Gossett and Hayden Bartee, who caught a limit that weighed 20-6. Their bag included a chunky largemouth that went 5-8.
The average fish was a little more than 2 1/2 pounds. The Top 10 had 28 pounds or more, but the vast majority of competitors brought in 14 to 24 pounds for their total weight. Only 46 anglers boasted limits.
The cloudy skies and warming weather of Day 2 were welcome changes from the bluebird postfrontal conditions that plagued Day 1. The afternoon saw partly sunny skies, and anglers reported water temperatures rising into the mid-60s.
The weather forecast for Day 3 calls for rain throughout most of the fishing hours.
Eddie Plemons, Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation president, said that could be just the thing to trigger a big day of productivity.
“The rain is bad for the fans, but it’s good for the fishermen,” Plemons said.
Digh not only leads the overall tournament; he also is tops on the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation state team, which has three anglers in the Top 10 and a 1-pound, 8-ounce lead for the state competition. North Carolina has 310 pounds, 10 ounces, followed by Georgia with 309-2, and South Carolina with 284.
If Digh maintains his lead for North Carolina, he’ll be invited to the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, Nov. 6-8 on Louisiana’s Ouachita River. Other state leaders as of Day 2 are Coby Carden, Alabama; Chad Prough, Florida; Joe Eubanks, Georgia; Michael Boggs, Kentucky; Danny Allen, South Carolina; and Raleigh Todd, Tennessee.
Digh won $250 Thursday from Livingston Lures, which awarded that amount daily for the biggest bag weighed in on Day 2.
Jack Smith’s 7-pound bass from Day 1 is currently in the lead for Carhartt Big Bass honors, a $500 prize awarded to the biggest bass of the tournament. Today’s biggest bass, a 6-13 caught by Michael Boggs of Kentucky, didn’t top it.
Competition resumes Friday at 6 a.m. CT for the launch at Lakepoint Marina. The weigh-in will be broadcast live at 2 p.m. CT on Bassmaster.com.