WHEELING, W. Va. — Virginia's Jeff Freeman extended his lead today with the only limit crossing the scales during the second day of the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional.
"The only difference (today) was the lake level probably dropped a foot to 1 ½ feet," Freeman said. "I'd sort of been saving this place, and I caught 16 keepers today."
His 5-pound, 2-ounce limit pushed his total to 11-14, giving him an almost 3-pound lead over West Virginia's Steve Marks (9-0) in the overall individual competition.
In third was Pennsylvania's Tim Dolon (8-8), followed by New Jersey's Scott Weiland (8-2) and West Virginia's Rick Hamer (7-15).
Freeman said he didn't change lures or tactics today, continuing to work finesse lures around visible structure in the Ohio River. However, he did have to move deeper than the 3-foot water levels he focused on during the first day of fishing.
"I fished around the 5- to 6-foot mark today because when the water backed out, the fish pulled out just a limit bit," Freeman explained.
Despite the fact that his was the sole limit and only four other anglers managed to catch four weigh fish, Freeman said he felt confident going into the final day of competition.
"I really feel I can catch a limit right easy tomorrow," he said. "That's bad to say on a place like this, but I think I've got them figured out.
"I'm going to try to catch a limit on what I've been throwing, and then I'm going to upgrade my bait a little bigger and try to seal the deal."
In addition to the individual title, anglers from the six state teams are vying to earn top team finishes. Each team winner earns a trip to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation National Championship to be held on Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes in October.
Joining Freeman as second-day team leaders were Delaware's Don Denault (6-13), Maryland's Jim Mathews (6-11), New Jersey's Weiland, Pennsylvania's Dolon and West Virginia's Marks.
The state teams also are competing for a $30,000 Skeeter/Yamaha boat package by tallying the most weight over the three-day competition. In that competition, West Virginia jumped from fifth to first with a total of 53-13.
The Virginia team held firm in second with 52 pounds, while Pennsylvania moved from last to third with 47-8. First-day leader New Jersey tumbled to fourth with a total of 47-2, Delaware (44-2) fell one position to fifth and Maryland was in sixth with 39-4.
The B.A.S.S. Mid-Atlantic CastingKids Divisional also was held today, with six youngsters competing in two divisions for the right to compete at the CastingKids National Championship held in conjunction with the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation National Championship.
John Duarte of Maryland survived a castoff to claim the 11- to 14-year-old division victory with 170 points. Delaware's Amber Roberts took the 7- to 10-year-old age group with 110 points.
The B.A.S.S Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional wraps up tomorrow, with launch beginning at 6:15 a.m. at the Wheeling Island boat launch. Weigh-in begins at 3:15 p.m. at Cabela's.
All events are free and open to the public.