Pierce holds lead; S.C. climbs to top

LUCAS, Ky. -- Anthony Roy proved a prophet for Two Day of the Southern Divisional Championship presented by Yamaha and Skeeter.

The president of the Kentucky B.A.S.S. Federation Nation predicted that the bite would improve as the water stabilized in Barren River Lake, and that is exactly what happened.

Bass were both bigger and more abundant for anglers from seven states who fished under blue skies with light winds. They checked in 11 limits, compared to four on Wednesday, and 182 bass, compared to 136.

Additionally, Florida's Bob Grosso and South Carolina's Jeff Green boasted limits of more than 20 pounds, with Green's anchored by the big bass of the day, 7-5.

In team standings, South Carolina climbed from second to first at 142-7, as Ryan West also brought in a limit, with Bryan Gunter contributing four keepers. Alabama jumped from fifth to a close second, led by Jamie Horton who had another good day. The angler from Centreville caught four bass that weighed 12-5, after a 13-8 limit on Wednesday.

Tennessee, which had been second, dropped to fifth, although Mark Pierce continued to catch fish and leads South Carolina's Green for individual honors. Pierce's four-bass bag of 10-14 has him 2 pounds, 9 ounces ahead.

"I think that I can do it again tomorrow," the Tennessee fisherman said. "One more bite would have made a big difference for me today, but it didn't happen."

Alabama's Horton also lamented not being able to boat a limit.

"I got five bites yesterday and five today," he said. "If I get four tomorrow, I'll be happy."

Unlike most of the competitors, who won't reveal how they're catching fish, Horton said that his big bass, a 6-pounder, came on a jig with a "fast" retrieve.

Kentucky's Matt Robertson, meanwhile, caught a 4-10 smallmouth as part of his 15-2 bag but still trails teammate Heath Martin for his state's individual honors. Both anglers brought in limits.

"Smallmouth are just starting to come on in here," said Roy, although he didn't predict that more of the bronzebacks would be weighed in on Friday, when rain and storms are predicted to move in.

Ahead of that front, though, fishing overall should improve even more, he said.

"We had a bluebird sky today, and some of the guys still struggled," he said. "But the fish are in the bushes and with the water warming and ahead of that front, I think that we'll see bigger bags on Friday."

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