TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was all business both on and off the water for Hank Weldon and Ben Weldon from the University of Alabama as they took the lead in the Woods & Water Alabama Invitational on Lake Tuscaloosa on Friday.
Despite the rigors of hosting the tournament, getting sponsors, and bringing Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle to emcee the weigh-in, the Weldon brothers managed to bring 18 pounds, 1 ounce to the scales over two days to easily lead the field.
Clent Davis and Chuck Holderfield from the University of Montevallo brought in a solid sack of bass weighing 9-5 Friday to give them a two-day total of 16-4, which is good enough for second place.
In third are the Day One leaders from the University of Alabama, Brent Frederick and Foster Bradley, with 16 pounds, 1 ounce over two days. Iowa State's Kyle Wood and Dan Huisman currently sit in fourth place with a total of 15-5. Fifth place belongs to another University of Alabama team, Warren Hoffman and Joe Humphries, who have 14-8.
Rounding out the six teams that will fish on Saturday's final day are the defending champions from the University of Alabama, Daniel Statum and Rusty Jones.
All of the weights will be zeroed for tomorrow's final day, which means that all teams are on an equal playing field.
Sitting just outside the cut in seventh place after Day One, the Weldon brothers set their sights on catching a solid bag to put them in the final.. Not only did they accomplish that, but they managed to bag the heaviest limit of the tournament thus far, anchored by a 5-2 largemouth.
Even the G-Man's jaw dropped when the Weldons' pulled that fish out of their bag.
"There was some screaming going on," said Ben Weldon, the younger of the two brothers, who caught the big bass. "It was nerve racking because we had to fight it for about a minute. Finally [the fish] came close to the net and my brother did a good job of swooping down and getting it in the boat."
After only putting two keepers in the well by 10:30 a.m. today, the sun finally shined on the Weldon brothers and they were able to finish out their limit and "just go practicing." They are even looking forward to a tough day Saturday with weekend boat traffic and sunshine in the forecast.
"We want it to be tough," said Hank Weldon, who ended up being the net man for his younger brother today. "We want the sun to be out because when the sun shines they bite better."
Saturday's weigh-in will be at the Woods & Water in Tuscaloosa at 5 p.m. ET