ATHENS, Ala. – Albert Collins moved a step closer to competing in the Bassmaster Classic by taking the lead after two days of intense competition during the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship tournament, operated by American Bass Anglers and held Nov. 7-10.
Running out of Umphrey Pavilion Marina to fish the 114,500-acre Lake Sam Rayburn near Jasper, Texas, the Nacogdoches, Texas, angler brought in the largest single-day sack of the tournament so far at 24.53 pounds on Day 2 to take the lead. After two days, he brought in 10 keepers weighing a total of 44.49 pounds including a 6.20-pound kicker.
On Day 1, Collins held second with five bass at 19.96 pounds. On Day 2, Collins caught most of his fish on big crankbaits, Texas-rigged worms and lizards, but faced some mechanical challenges.
“It was rough and we ran a long distance,” Collins explained. “I blew my engine on the ride so I knew we were going to struggle getting back. It took a couple hours to get back to the south end of the lake. We caught most of our fish in about 90 minutes. I have a boat for Day 3 so I feel pretty confident that I can catch a good sack of fish.”
In second for the 175 boaters, David Curtis of Trinity, Texas, move up one place by landing two consecutive five-bass daily limits for a two-day total weighing 39.14 pounds. On Day 1, he brought in 19.01 pounds and added 20.13 on Day 2.
Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, started Day 3 in third place with 10 bass weighing 36.07 pounds including a 5.82-pound kicker. On Day 1, he held eighth place with 17.19 pounds before adding 18.88 pounds on the second day.
In fourth after two days, Jeffry L. Wade of Cabot, Ark., came in with two consecutive daily limits for 32.36 pounds including a 3.83-pound kicker. He caught 16.33 pounds on Day 1 and moved up six places with a 16.03-pound bag on Day 2.
Rounding out the top five current boater leaders, Nick J. Prvonozac of Warren, Ohio, landed 10 bass for 32.34 pounds in two days. On Day 1, he caught 18.63 pounds, but dropped one place with a 13.71-pound sack on Day 2.
Day 1 leader, Todd Driscoll of Jasper fell to sixth place with a two-day effort for 31.47 pounds after catching 8.33 pounds on Day 2 to go with his 23.14 pounds from Day 1.
Brian R. Brown of Kuttawa, Ky., still holds the lead in the big bass competition with a 10.51-pounder he landed on Day 1. He currently holds 16th place with a two-day total of eight bass weighing 25.17 pounds.
In the Co-Angler Division, Brian K. Modisette of Broaddus, Texas, maintained a slim lead with a two-day total of five bass going 16.68 pounds. On Day 1, he brought in three bass for 12.69 pounds with a 6.58-pound kicker.
“We fished points down south,” Modisette said. “We caught our fish early. I caught a couple fish and broke off one decent fish that was probably about a 4-pounder.”
On Day 2, Modisette landed two keepers for 3.99 pounds. He also suffered some mechanical troubles that cut into his fishing time.
“When we wanted to go to another area, the motor wouldn’t crank,” Modisette lamented. “We tried jumping it off with the trolling motor battery, but that didn’t work. We tripped the fuse on the trolling motor, so that didn’t work either. Later, we found out that it was a reset button and got the trolling motor running. Then, we switched the batteries out and got the outboard running so we could start back.”
Richard Michalski of West Port, Ky., stayed in second place among the co-anglers with a two-day total of five bass weighing 16.15 pounds. On Day 1, he brought in 10.85 pounds and added 5.30 pounds on Day 2.
Charlie A. Davis of Hope Hull, Ala. jumped from sixth place to third with two consecutive three-bass daily division limits for 15.78 pounds with a 4.26-pound kicker. He caught 9.24 pounds on Day 1 and 6.54 pounds on Day 2.
Moving up four places, Cody Burke of Greenbrier, Ark., brought in a two-day total of six bass at 14.96 pounds with daily limits weighing 8.25 and 6.71 pounds. Robin K. Phillips of Smithville, Tenn., dropped from third to fifth among the co-anglers with six bass and 14.90 pounds after catching weights of 10.31 and 4.59 pounds.
Travis Malphrus of Ridgeland, S.C., brought in the largest bass in the Co-Angler Division, a 7.24-pounder he caught on Day 1. Malphrus currently holds seventh place with five bass at 14.82 pounds.
The event features the best weekend anglers from about 25 states. The anglers qualify through divisional events in their states. The top 40 points leaders from each BWS division compete in one of four two-day regional championship events. Then, the top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers from each of the four regional events compete in the BWS national championship.
The champion boater will receive $100,000 and could win up to $105,000 with bonuses from Triton Boats, Mercury Marine and MotorGuide. In addition, the winning boater will earn a chance to compete in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, slated for Feb. 22-24 on Grand Lake of the Cherokees near Grove, Okla. The champion co-angler will take home $50,000 and could grab up to $52,500 including sponsor bonus money.
The action continues through Nov. 10. The public weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. each day. On the final day, only the top 25 boaters and co-anglers compete.
For more information on this tournament, call ABA at (256) 232-0406. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
About American Bass Anglers: The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path the world championship of bass fishing the Bassmaster Classic. American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.