The cold, wet, miserable weather that brutalized the fishermen Thursday at Smith Lake was nowhere to be seen Friday at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #2 presented by Allstate.
After the fog lifted Friday morning, the lake and the anglers were bathed in bright, warm sunshine.
Many anglers that struggled Thursday blamed the bone-chilling weather for their slow start. Those that did well Thursday wished for more nasty weather.
A few of the fishermen that did well Thursday believed they would fare even better Friday if the sun came out of hiding.
One of them was local angler David Kilgore of Jasper, Ala., the leader after Day 1.
“The sun helped me a lot today,” Kilgore said. “It was just what I wanted.”
Kilgore’s day started slowly. It took him until 10 o’clock to boat his first limit. As the sun got higher, Kilgore tuned into what the bass were doing.
From then on he landed another 30 bass. His 17-pound, 15-ounce, limit Friday brought his two-day total to 37-pounds, 14 ounces.
“I’m super psyched for tomorrow,” Kilgore said. “I’ll sleep well tonight.”
If Kilgore holds off the rest of the top 12 on Saturday's final day, he will collect $6,741, a Nitro Z9 powered by a Mercury 225 Pro XS and an invitation to fish the 2015 Bassmaster Classic if he fishes all three tournaments in the Southern Open series.
Kilgore sits ahead of his friend Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., who is second with 34-pounds, 9 ounces.
Although the two anglers are sharing information, Kilgore is catching mainly largemouth bass while Auten has weighed only spotted bass.
Auten says they are doing entirely different things to catch their bass.
Jordan Wiggins of Cullman, Ala., made the biggest move Friday, leaping from 14th to third place with a limit that weighed 19 pounds, 9 ounces, the second heaviest of the tournament.
“I fished the same way I did yesterday, but I had to switch areas,” Wiggins said.
“I left them still biting at noon.”
Wiggins’ limit consisted of four spotted bass and one largemouth of more than 4 pounds, which was his biggest fish.
South Carolina’s Michael Murphy also played leapfrog. His 18-pound, 9-ounce, limit of largemouth and spotted bass jumped him from 10th to fourth place. The heaviest bass in his bag was a gorgeous 5-pound, 5-ounce, spotted bass that he caught early in the day.
Connecticut angler Stephen Longobardi stubbornly refused to give up the lead in the co-angler division.
His three-bass limit of 7 pounds, 3 ounces, brought his total to 17 pounds, 4 ounces. The keys to the Skeeter TZX170 powered by a Yamaha F115LA outboard are nearly in his grasp.
He can’t let up, however. There are six other co-anglers within about 3 pounds of him.
That’s too close for comfort.