MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — Leave it to a former CITGO Bassmaster Classic winner to champion significantly tough conditions. Fighting through a near three-hour fog delay and extremely poor fishing weather, 2004 Bassmaster Classic champ Takahiro Omori seized the lead at the CITGO Bassmaster Central Open on Norfork Lake with his Day 2 catch of 9 pounds, 14 ounces. He leads Oklahoman and Day 1 leader Brad Hallman by a mere 13 ounces.
The dense fog in the morning delayed launch nearly three hours- decreasing fishing time on the water- before giving way to permanent sunshine. Conditions were tough, when only two anglers caught a five-fish limit. And, although short of a limit, Omori's (19-11) four bass were enough on a day that he described as "rough".
"I'm fishing a typical fall pattern searching for largemouths only," the 35-year old Texan said. "I have two places to fish, so I hope my areas are productive tomorrow. I am anxious to get out there and fish."
Omori is keying in on shallow water, roughly 5 feet deep, in search of strictly largemouths. He played it close to the vest on other details, promising more after the final day of the tournament.
In second place is Hallman, who is also fishing very shallow. His Day 2 catch of 5 pounds, 1 ounce, was enough to keep him within striking distance of Omori. Despite relinquishing the lead, he was pleased with the results after two days.
"I'm happy with the way I fished today even though I slipped a place," Hallman said. "I plan to just put the trolling motor down and fish new areas tomorrow. I'm excited to be in this contending position."
With the weather expected to be similar to the first two days on Norfork, anglers can expect more of the same tough conditions. The stingy fishery only yielded one bag upwards of 10 pounds on Friday- Missouri's Doc Seger caught a 10-10 limit.
The majority of Seger's bag was caught in the last hour of competition. Seger's secret to success was a local jig that he received a few days before the competition.
"I got this jig from a local guy and he called it Zeke's Hairy Bug Jig," Seger said. "I threw that thing in the last hour and I caught four keepers. You can be sure that I go back to that same area and throw that secret jig."
Seger currently sits in sixth place, but remained optimistic about his chances tomorrow. Not only will Seger have to beat the stingy waters of Lake Norfork again to take home the $50,000 top prize, he will have to fend off Omori.
"I'm pretty confident that I will bring in a big stringer tomorrow," Seger said. "I can't wait to get out there tomorrow. I think I have just enough to win this thing."
Trailing Omori and Hallman in third is Louisiana's Craig Dowling (18-9). Dowling was the only other angler besides Seger to catch a limit. Rounding out the top five are Ohio's Tim Dungan (14-13) and Alabama's Brannon Jones (14-3).
On the non-boater side, Dwight Dickerson sits in first with a two-day catch of 9-14. Following Dickerson is Texan Rusty Harvey (9-2), Louisiana's Stan Williams (8-5), Canada's Mike Desforges (8-4) and Texan Harry Durham (7-6).
Location and Field
Mountain Home, Ark.