RICHMOND, Va. -- Kelly Pratt of Williamsburg, Va., is one day away from earning a berth in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.
Pratt extended his lead on Day Two of the 2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open at the James River despite catching less than he did on Day One. He brought 13-13 to the scales for a total of 30-3. Once again he drew on his nearly 40 years of experience on the James to retain his lead.
“We caught ‘em pretty steady all day, and I culled probably 7 times. I missed a 4- and a 3-pounder, so that’s why I only had what I had,” he said.
Despite predictions that bad weather would hurt his bite, Pratt said the opposite was true. He divulged more about his pattern today and said that he was flipping a small finesse worm to wood. Tomorrow he said he’ll fish lily pads with a frog until the tide gets right for his flipping bite, then he’ll fish wood. He said that all of his fish have been “real, real shallow.”
He didn’t deal with any boat pressure today, a fact that baffled his co-angler.
“My co-angler asked where everyone was, and I said they don’t know (the bass are) here, that’s why they’re over there!” Pratt said..
When asked if he’s confident about repeating his performance, Pratt smirked and said, “yeah.”
“If the sun will shine tomorrow, it’ll be a real good day. I left a bunch of fish today, too. I haven’t even tried ‘em yet,” he said.
Gregory Cooper sacked the day’s second-heaviest stringer and made a move into the second spot. His 14-15 bag gives him a two-day total of 28-9, within striking distance of Pratt. Cooper started the day in ninth place.
In third place is Elite Series pro Mike Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J., who sacked 14-7, giving him 26-4. In fourth is Chris Daves of Spring Grove, Va., who caught 12-3 for a total of 26-0. In fifth is Michael Hicks of Mineral, Va., with 25-12. He caught 11-11 Friday.
On the co-angler side, Michael Rinaldi of North Haledon, N.J., made his way to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a 3-fish limit that weighed 6-13, giving him a total of 13-1.
Nearly two pounds behind him is Kevin Davenport who caught 6-4 and has a total of 11-5. In third place is Robert Winward of Wilmington, Dela., who caught 7-14 for a total of 10-10. Jon Jezierski added 4-7 to his Day One catch for 10-5, and in fifth place is Ryan Cooper with 10-2.
Both fields were cut to the Top 12 for Saturday, when the weigh-in will be at the Bass Pro Shops in Ashland, Va., 11550 Lakeridge Parkway.
The pro winner will receive a berth in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, a cash prize as well as a fully-rigged Triton/Mercury bass boat, while the winning co-angler will also win a fully-rigged Triton/Mercury.