YUMA, Arizona --- Washington proved the best of 11 teams under adverse fishing conditions, as it climbed from second to first on Day Two of the BASS Federation Nation Western Divisional, and put more than 20 pounds between itself and second-place California.
Oregon, meanwhile, slipped from first to fourth, behind Montana, as the bite wasn't as good as most thought it would be because fish still seem to be in transition from shoreline spawning areas of spring to current breaks of summer on this Colorado River fishery just 40 miles from the border with Mexico.
"We thought that we would have a week of 100-degree days before the tournament and that would set us up for some 20- and 30 pound sacks," said Kip Pollay, president of the Arizona Federation Nation. "But that's not what happened. It's only this week that we're getting those 100-degree days."
With both numbers and quality not as expected, Oregon's David Mays is making the most of his limited bites. Although he has caught just seven keepers in two days, his 20-7 weight has him the individual leader going into Friday's finale.
He expressed cautious optimism, saying, "I still have some water that I haven't hit yet."
Washington's Joey Nania, meanwhile, has managed two limits and is just 9 ounces off the pace at 19-14.
"I just put my head down and grinded it out," he said. "On the first day, I caught my first fish at 9 o'clock and had a limit by 10:30. Today, I caught my first fish at 9 and didn't get my limit until there was just 5 minutes to go before I had to come in."
California's Brian Day was hopeful that fishing would improve for Day Three, when more than 120 anglers will be fishing for the right to represent their states in the National Championship.
"I caught only three keepers yesterday, but I got a limit today," he said. "Tomorrow, I think that I might take a ride, go 40 miles, and see if I can catch some good smallies."
Two of Day's teammates, Nick Wood, with 18-15, and James Smalley, with 18-11, are close behind Mays and Nania. Washington's David Brinkerhoff is fifth with 18-6, New Mexico's Fritz Staver sixth with 18-4, and Idaho's Bill Golightly seventh with 18-0.
Following Washington, California, Montana, and Oregon in team standings are New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona.