TAVARES, Fla. — Bryan Hudgins of Orange Park, Fla., netted the biggest bag in two days of fishing with 30 pounds, 15 ounces, bringing his two-day total to a whopping 53 pounds, 13 ounces. This puts him more than six pounds ahead of day-one leader John Kremer of Sanford, Fla.
At stake for the pros is a top prize of $45,000 and valuable points toward qualifying for the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series season and the 2010 Bassmaster Classic. Co-anglers will compete in the Opens for the top prize of a boat/motor package valued at $32,000. The final day of competition on Saturday, Jan. 31, the field will be cut down to the top 30 anglers in both divisions.
Fans are invited to the Open's final day takeoff and weigh-in Saturday at Wooton Park, located at 200 South Rockingham Avenue in Tavares. Anglers will launch at 7 a.m. ET and the final weigh-in is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public. Fishing fans can also follow the action on Bassmaster.com with live, streaming video of the weigh-ins, photo galleries and more.
Hudgins' day started off strong and remained consistent to take the lead in the season-opening Bassmaster event of the 2009 season.
"I got a six- and a seven-pounder this morning just fishing around covering water, but when the sun came up I started bed fishing," said Hudgins. "They were all in the same area, I just started flipping."
He caught his limit on what was supposed to be a slow day, but isn't as hopeful for tomorrow as a cold front is being predicted for the sunshine state.
"You just don't know until you get out there and try them," he said.
If Hudgins can bring 29-pounds, 8-ounces or better to the scales tomorrow, he will have broken the all-time three day record Byron Velvick set back in 2000 at Clear Lake, Calif., where he weighed in 83-pounds, 5-ounces.
While one fish can swing a bag of 10 pounds or more, these anglers have the best shot at catching Hudgins. John Kremer of Sanford, Fla., dropped to second place with 47-10, his bag 12 pounds lighter than day one. Sitting in third is Scott Ashmore of Broken Arrow, Okla. with 46 pounds, 1 ounce, fourth is Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., with 40 pounds, 2 ounces and in fifth is Greg Vinson of Wetumpka, Ala., who added nine pounds to his 25-9 from yesterday to get 34-13.
Kremer plans to stick to what has worked for him the last two days and flip a junebug Culprit worm to cattails and other vegetation. He is less than optimistic about facing the predicted 30-degree temperatures at launch on Saturday.
"It was tougher today than yesterday, so tomorrow I imagine it'll be even tougher," said Kremer. "I fished slow today, so tomorrow I'm going to have to really slow down."
Bobby Lane is astonished that weights are as heavy as they are.
"I can't believe I got 20 pounds the last two days in a row and I'm still over 13 pounds out of the lead," he said.
In the co-angler division, Florida angler Marlon Crowder of Tampa maintained his day one lead by adding 5 pounds, 10 ounces today for a 25 pound, 11 ounce total. Crowder maintains almost a 6-pound lead over Randy Haden of Jacksonville, Fla., who totals 19 pounds, 13 ounces for second place. Aaron Gengler of Lakeland, Fla., sits in third with 19 pounds, 6 ounces.