Fred Roumbanis took a major risk Friday, running 50 miles out of his way to catch one fish, but it paid off to the tune of $10,000 after he made the top-47 cut.
The 5-pounder he caught there was his only bite in the area, but it elevated his bag from mediocre to 14 pounds, 14 ounces and he squeaked in with ounces to spare in 44th place.
"I caught that fish in practice on a frog," Roumbanis said. "I hooked it in the head without even setting the hook. When I got there today, I told the guy in the boat with me that right when I get to the bush, I'm going to get bit. I worked it over that bush and she came up and got it."
It was a gamble to make that long run, but without that one big fish, Roumbanis would be on his way to Guntersville instead of trying to move up the standings and earn valuable TTBAOY points.
Wind was a major factor for most of the morning and it hampered Greg Hackney's precise positioning. After landing over 18 pounds on Day One, Friday saw Hackney struggle and he was surprised he managed to bring in the 14 pounds, 3 ounces he had.
"I couldn't even fish my first spot because the wind was crushing it," Hackney said. "If the weather gets really bad tomorrow, I'll abandon it. You can't fish like you need to with the wind up."
Another factor in the tougher fishing was the lack of current. Hackney noted the fish were biting differently on Day Two.
"They had been crushing anything you threw in there all week long," Hackney said. "Today, I'd hop a jig and they'd pop it and bite the trailer off."
The overcast weather might help the fishing tomorrow, but forecasts predict 10 to 20 mile-per-hour winds, which could force some anglers to change their strategy.
Plenty of big largemouth have crossed the scales with two day of competition in the books, but Kevin Wirth roused the Florence, Ala., crowd with the day's biggest smallmouth, a 5-pound, 11-ouncer that helped Wirth jump to 16th with 31 pounds, 11 ounces.
A key decision by Wirth helped put the chunky bronzeback in the livewell. With a limit already in the boat, Wirth made a pass through the area and never got a bite. He left to try other areas, but decided to come back and check on the spot again.
"I pulled back up and on my first cast caught a 3 ¼-pounder," Wirth said. "Then I stood up and made another cast and hooked that big one. She cleared the water about three feet. I'm just glad to have her because I needed her."
Indeed, that fish gave Wirth a legitimate shot at making his first top-12 cut of the year as he sits only 9 ounces behind.
"They're bad dudes." -- Randy Howell, on his lively bag of smallmouth he caught on Day Two
"I'm catching a lot of 3-pounders, but can't seem to catch a good one." -- Dave Wolak
"I'm hoping it rains like crazy or the bottom drops out." -- Tommy Biffle
"I made about a 50-mile run to catch that one fish, and guess what? I caught it." -- Fred Roumbanis
"The fish zigged and I zagged." -- Alton Jones
"You've got to adapt or these guys will leave you behind." -- Denny Brauer
"I hope the rain comes and the live bait fishermen stay home and watch television." -- Randy Howell
"Where I was fishing it's bone dry...fish down there are riding around on four-wheelers." -- Gerald Swindle
"These are wild fish...they like like to jump and do acrobatic stuff. It's makes me mad." -- Mark Davis
"I'd love to see some weather tommorrow, as long as it's not too bad to fish." -- Steve Kennedy
"I had one of the worst performances of my career yesterday. My Marshal kept count today and I caught 54 fish." -- Davy Hite
"Yesterday I drove the suck bus straight into the dirt. This really is a frustrating sport…it really is." -- Marty Stone