FLORENCE, Ala. — Whether it was a big decision or just better weather for fishing, four anglers adjusted to the conditions on Day Two of the Alabama Charge and have placed themselves in prime contention to be fishing Sunday.
Gary Klein was mired in 69th place with 11 pounds, 14 ounces after Day One. Friday he stuck with the same areas, but caught a tournament-best 20 pounds, 4 ounces and jumped to 13th.
"I really don't know what it was," Klein said. "I'm fishing a few key places of structure and fish are moving off the flats and coming to me. To have three fish over 4 pounds when you are catching rats all week is great."
The overcast skies that rolled in midday probably contributed to his better bag as well as an overall increase in weight from the rest of the field. The 47-cut weight of 13-6 more than doubled to 27-7 and once again every angler brought in a limit of five fish.
"Today was a gorgeous day for fishing," Klein said. "Yeah, the wind blew, but it would settled down for a time before picking back up. When the weather is like today, the fish bite a jig really well."
Another angler that capitalized on the bigger fish was Paul Elias. He faced a similar decision to Klein and chose to stay in an area he probably left too soon on Day One.
"There is a big school in there and they are really finicky," Elias said. "I don't know why because normally the fish out deep are more aggressive. The best decision I made today was to stay with those fish. Between 11:30 and 12:30 I caught two good ones."
Those two good ones boosted Elias' weight to 18 pounds, 2 ounces and he will enter Saturday in 20th place. The periods where the wind slicked off were key for him because he noticed that those were the times when the bass would come up chasing shad and he could catch them easier.
Whether it was wind or clouds, the fish were just bigger for Arkansas' Mark Davis. With a 17-pound bag, he jumped into eighth place in the standings heading into Day Three.
"Fishing was a lot like yesterday, I just caught a little better grade of fish," Davis said. "It was a real good fishing day with a storm system moving in. It's going to be a great day for fishing tomorrow too."
Davis has benefitted from fishing offshore and believes the fish will keep moving toward his area.
"The fish are definitely coming to me and it keeps getting better and better," Davis said. "I lost a great big fish on a crankbait today. A fish like that is a game-changer."
"I'm doing something totally different than the other guys," Kennedy said. "I'm out there fishing with a bunch of guys and they are catching smallmouth while I'm catching largemouth. I only wish I didn't leave there early yesterday."
Thinking he had 16 pounds in the livewell, Kennedy went practicing after that and didn't end up finding anything that helped. Instead, he weighed in only 15 pounds, 8 ounces and was farther behind than he anticipated.
Fortunately, things went his way on Day Two. He caught his biggest fish in the last 15 minutes of the day and also boated a big fish in an area he thought only had a 3-pounder.
"I was sitting there in an area where I saw a 3-pounder in practice and a big one came up and clobbered it," Kennedy said. "I also ran down to where another big one was and caught it. That cloud cover and wind came in the afternoon and the fishing really picked up."
His only concern is that he doesn't have enough fish left to keep him near the top of the leaderboard.
"Every time I've been here, I've run out of fish," Kennedy said.
All four anglers will have their chance to close the gap between themselves and the leader as Day Three gets underway Saturday at 7:10 a.m. at McFarland Park in Florence, Ala.