OACOMA, S.D. -- An “active pod” of smallmouth bass yielded 27 pounds, 13 ounces for Monty Fralick and his non-boater partner Ron Eicher today during the B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional at Francis Case Lake.
Fralick of Martin, S.D., caught the heaviest limit of the tournament weighing 17 pounds, 5 ounces to take over the divisional lead with 19-3 while Eicher boated a 10-8 limit. The big catch helped Fralick, the father of Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jami Fralick, jump from 42nd place into the top spot.
“There are a bunch of us fishing the same kind of stuff and I am just trying to hit an active pod,” the 60-year-old Fralick said. “I just have to be ready to capitalize when they are active and that is what happened today. The fish came up and I got 10 good ones and five of them were the ones I weighed in.
“That is the third big pod I have ran into since practice started, but I didn’t run into any of them yesterday,” the Bon Homme Bass Club member said. “These fish are moving around and they are feeding a lot of the time, so there is just a school of them that are active. The key is to find some weed clumps that are probably as big as a house.”
Although he is more familiar with the southern end of the lake, Fralick is fishing the northern end of Francis Case because he found the big schools of smallmouth there in practice. “I have ran into these big pods a couple of times and you can get healthy in a hurry if you get one,” Fralick said.
Fralick got into one of those schools at around 8:30 this morning. He recalls the action only lasted for about half an hour and then he spent the rest of the day searching for places to try tomorrow. “I am still looking,” he said.
Fralick can qualify for his second B.A.S.S. Nation Championship (BNC) berth if he finishes as the top angler on his South Dakota team. Other state leaders trying to make the BNC include Eicher of Indiana; David Junk, Illinois; Dan Parker, Iowa; Jeff Bostic, Michigan; Bob Downey, Minnesota; Stan Dodson, Ohio; and Jason Sosebee, Wisconsin.
Minnesota leads the team competition with 98 pounds, 13 ounces followed by the host South Dakota team with 83 pounds.
The Northern Divisional contenders will launch for the final competition day at about 6:45 a.m. tomorrow at Cedar Shore Resort.