LAKE WALES, Fla. — Angler Terry Scroggins has more than one reason to celebrate tonight. The 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler took the lead on Day 2 of the CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Tohopekaliga. The Palatka, Fla., favorite — in contention to be the points leader in the three-event Southern Open series — brought in one of the heaviest five-fish stringers of the day at 13 pounds, 11 ounces, bringing his total weight to 30-13.
And, Friday was Scroggins' 37th birthday. "I'm just wound up for tomorrow," said Scroggins. "I've led a day in each one of the Southern Opens and I'm ready to close the deal on one. I'm very excited about it."
Despite getting a late start because of a broken motor, Scroggins quickly got on the water and visited nearly 30 locations on Lake Kissimmee. "I got to my best place and there were other boats there," he said. "So, I started running and looking for new water."
Mark Rizk, 42, of Arab, Ala., jumped from 10th place to second Friday, weighing in the second heaviest sack at 16-13, while Mike Johnson of Talking Rock, Ga. brought in a five-fish stringer of 17-01. "I was culling by 9 a.m.," Rizk said. "I feel really good about this tournament. I've got a lot of places I haven't even gone to yet."
Rizk said Toho was similar to fishing his home waters of Lake Guntersville because they both have the same types of grass and cover. "I tend to do well in lakes with a lot of grass."
Meanwhile, Day 1 leader Rick Couch fell to third with a disappointing three-fish total of 5 pounds. Despite the small bag, the first-time BASS competitor is still in contention, only about 3 pounds out of the lead.
Russ Lane of Prattville, Ala., was in fourth with a total of 27-6 and Tom Hamlin, 50, of Lizella, Ga., fell from second to fifth with 26-14.
Local CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler Preston Clark, 41, of Palatka, Fla., jumped from 61st to 21st to make the Day 3 cut. Right before the tournament, Clark found out that in 2006, he will fish from a boat wrapped by his new sponsor, Tampa-based restaurant chain Beef O'Brady's. "I had three or four different deals I was working on, but this is the one I really wanted," said Clark. "I'm happy to be involved with such a great company and I'm really excited about it."
On the non-boater side, Josh Rowsky of Margate, Fla., took the Day 2 lead with a five-fish limit of 12-11 and total weight of 18-6. Rowsky also earned Purolator Big Bass honors with a 6-pound, 6-ounce largemouth he landed on his first cast.
On Day 3, only the top 50 boaters and non-boaters will return to fish. The top 25 boaters in the CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open points standings also advance to the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship on the Alabama River in Prattville, Ala. Dec. 1-4. That tournament will send its top five boaters back to Toho on Feb.24-26 to fish the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
Location and Field
CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open
Lake Wales, Fla.