DEL RIO, Texas — With his father as a fellow competitor, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jami Fralick of Martin, S.D., shot from fifth place into the lead with 43 pounds, 6 ounces, at the Bassmaster Central Open's season finale Friday on Lake Amistad.
The field was cut to the top 30 for Saturday's final day of competition, when the winner will take home $6,000 in cash and a Triton/Mercury rig valued at $50,000.
In addition to the event title and prize, on the line at Lake Amistad are three berths for the 2008 Bassmaster Classic and five entries into next year's Bassmaster Elite Series. The winners of those coveted prizes will be determined when the Central Open's season-long points race ends Saturday.
Fralick's Friday limit of 22 pounds, 6 ounces was enough to vault over Corey Waldrop, a 19-year-old pro from Fort Worth, Texas, by more than 3 pounds — and to stay in front of his father, Monty Fralick (also of Martin, S.D.), in seventh place with 34-10.
Waldrop held tight to the same position he secured the first day — second place — by posting a two-day total of 39 pounds, 14 ounces. Trent Huckaby of Fort Stockton, Texas, also held steady at his first-day standing of third place by putting together a two-day weight of 38 pounds, 6 ounces.
Robert Byrd of Dallas, Texas, shot from 12th into fourth place with 37 pounds, 6 ounces. In fifth was Doug Garrett of Cabot, Ark., with 35-2.
Leader Fralick said his limits both days came by working a football jig in isolated clumps of grass in water 12 to 18 feet deep, or by throwing a weedless swimbait on the flats.
"The main reason I'm fishing this one Open event is that my dad competes in the Opens," said Fralick, who qualified for the 2008 Elite Series based on his performance this season. "Besides wanting to fish Amistad — one of the best lakes in the country — I wanted to fish with him again. Since I'm fishing the Elites now, I don't get a chance to spend much time with him."
Waldrop said he had to scramble for his limit, which he didn't have until late morning.
"I'm second again," he said, slightly disappointed in his performance and lamenting the loss of what he estimated to be an 8-pounder. "The bite today was not what it was yesterday."
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dave Wolak, 31, of Warrior Run, Pa., who was second in the Central Open standings before Amistad, put himself in a strong position Friday to win the season-long points race, a coup that would secure the Classic berth he didn't get through the Elite Series.
Although Wolak ended the second day at Amistad in 18th place, it's enough to keep him close to the top in the points standings.
I didn't make the Classic this year through the Elite Series, so I'm really hoping to make it through this level," said Wolak. "I had a bad day today, and I'm just excited I get to fish tomorrow."
The points leader going into the event, Brian Clark of Haltom City, Texas, stumbled Friday and ended in 89th place, not near to making the cut to compete on Saturday.
Clark Reehm of Russellville, Ark., who entered the tournament in third place, held on for the cut by ending up in 22nd place, which might be enough to keep him in contention for a Classic berth.
In the co-angler division, Johnny Denny of Lancaster, Ky., moved up from 87th to first place with a Friday bag of 23 pounds, 14 ounces, for a two-day weight of 28-14. In second was Thursday leader Eric Shelley of Longmont, Colo., with 26-13. In third was Gary Carr of San Angelo, Texas, with 26-11.
Like the pro field, the co-angler field was cut to the top 30 for Saturday's competition. Co-anglers are vying for a first prize of $2,000 cash and a $32,000 Triton/Mercury boat rig.
Saturday's launch is set for 8:15 a.m. ET at Lake Amistad's Diablo East Marina, where the weigh-in will begin at 4:25 p.m. ET. As with the first two days, ESPNOutdoors.com will cover the weigh-in live with streaming video and a real-time leaderboard beginning at 4:25 p.m. ET.