Clewiston, Fla. — Tournament leader George Crain was on his way to a good night’s sleep when thoughts of his next day of fishing on Lake Okeechobee started racing through his head.
“I got a pretty good sleep until about 11:30 p.m.,” said Crain. “It was great, but then I started thinking about a few lures I might try and things like that.”
The retired fireman from Cropwell, Ala., leads the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Southern Divisional with 24 pounds, 13 ounces, but Georgia’s Waine Pittman is right on his heels with 24-08.
Even though he considered trying some other lures, Crain decided to stick with his game plan this morning. “There are plenty of fish; hopefully it will allow us to slow down and maybe we can pick out some more,” said Crain, who will take about a 30-minute run to his first stop after the take-off.
After yesterday’s gusting winds battered the competitors, today’s forecast of 5- to 10-mph breezes will be a welcomed relief. “Hopefully it will be a better bite for everybody,” said Crain. “The wind is going to lie down. Yesterday I was sort of scared of the wind and now I am sort of wishing it was back so that nothing would be different. We’ll just go fishing and see what happens.”
What happened yesterday was that Crain had to contend with only four or five other boats in his area but he expects more traffic today. “The wind helped keep us isolated because it was so bad,” he said. “We had water coming over the back of the boat on about every third wave. A lot of people don’t really want to put up with that. I was real fortunate that the boy from Georgia (his co-angler Paul Tyre) was an avid fisherman and it didn’t bother him.”
Crain’s big catch helped Alabama move into first place in the team competition, but he is getting some ribbing from his teammates. “They think I am sandbagging,” Crain said. “I told them if I come in with 7 pounds today then I guess I am okay. I was just as surprised as they were that the fish I had were as big as they were.”
“We have a pretty tight group. I think everybody is on (to fish),” said Crain, who notes teammate Chuck Thurlow is in third place with 20-14. “We are both doing something similar and I think everybody else is pretty much on board.”
Watch today’s weigh-in at 3 p.m. ET at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina to see if Crain and his Alabama teammates can hold onto their leads.