OSHKOSH, Wisc. — Ohio's Brad Wall bragged after the first day of the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Divisional that filling limits on Lake Winnebago would be no problem, but by mid morning today (Aug. 13) Wall was beginning to think he had cursed himself.
"I shouldn't have said anything," the first-day leader said. "My partner (Indiana's Chip Swindell) had his limit by 9 a.m. He had his limit before I had a fish in the livewell.
"I knew I had a good lead, but 12 or 13 pounds was starting to look good."
However, the fish turned on as early morning cloud cover began breaking up, and Wall quickly built a 15-pound, 8-ounce stringer to maintain the lead position in the three-day event.
"When the sun came out, they started biting, and I finished out my limit in 45 minutes," he explained.
That limit pushed his total to 32-15, which extended his lead to almost 8 ½ pounds. His nearest competitor was Minnesota's Rick Billings, whose second-day sack brought his total to 24-8.
Wall said he had to move around more than the first day, probing eight or nine of his offshore rock piles to boat his five-fish bag.
"I actually went to my closer hole, which I was saving for tomorrow," he said.
The angler said he was still confident he could wrap up the tournament on the final day.
"It was tough to execute today, so I'm just going to see what (tomorrow) holds," Wall said. "The fish were there: It's just a matter of if they bite."
This event features multiple tournament, with competitors from eight states are vying for individual and team honors.
Each angler is vying for the overall win, but the top angler from each state team will move to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation National Championship.
In addition to Wall, team leaders included Illinois' Tom Ondras, Indians team member Brian Hensley, Robert Smith of Iowa, Michigan's Peter Tuls, Minnesota's Billings, South Dakota team member Shane Oltjenbruns and Wisonsin's Jim Barczak.
The teams also are competing for a ZX180 bass boat/Yamaha outboard rig valued at $30,000.
Wall's catch anchored his state team's lead in the team competition. Ohio's 12-man team sat less than 1 pound ahead of the field with a two-day total of 184-3, despite team member Brian Runyon having his catch disqualified.
Tournament Director Jon Stewart DQ'd Runyon's limit after determining Runyon had violated Rule 16, which states that bass cannot be "mangled, mashed, mauled or otherwise altered."
Minnesota was in second with 184-12, Wisconsin was in third with 179-15, and Indiana was in fourth with 164 pounds. Fifth-place Michigan had a total of 162-1, while South Dakota was in sixth with 128-12, Iowa had 126-8 and Illinois was in last with 112-1.
The tournament wraps up tomorrow (Aug. 14). The launch and weigh-in will be held at the Menominee Park on Millers Bay at 2 p.m.