Randy Howell said he "has to try his muddy-water area first to see if it settled at all. In the best case scenario it did. If not, I'll make a move." Yesterday he junk-fished his way to 20+ pounds, but his two best fish came out of one area.
Fred Roumbanis committed a substantial portion of the day yesterday to one area, and he'll start there but plans to bounce around more today. He has an area where he caught a 9-pounder in practice a bit up the lake and he hopes to match — or exceed — his big fish catch from yesterday.
Yesterday Randall Tharp told me he'd come to practice with six baits tied on and started the tournament with those same six baits at the ready. Today he had a lucky seven rods on the deck. He's added a bait on a gut hunch and hopes that'll help him eke out a few extra big bites.
I see more empty front decks than yesterday, particularly from some of the leaders. They don't want to tip their hand. Tommy Biffle tells me he keeps his rods in his boat locker so his lines and baits don't get stiff during the first cold boat run. Good one, Biffle. Coby Carden and Randy Howell also have clean decks. However, Casey Ashley and Fred Roumbanis have their rods and baits on full display.
If any of the competitors don't already have enough tackle, there's more available here in Guntersville — might cost 'em a pretty penny, though.
Local favorite David Kilgore reported losing three fish yesterday that would've helped him tremendously. A 4-pounder was his fault, but a 5 and "one bigger than the 8-01" he weighed in were just bad luck. He plans to keep doing the same things that provoked bites yesterday. "I will make no adjustments at all," he said. "I put new hooks on and I'm ready to go."
It sounds like many of the leaders are making long runs, but Casey Ashley is staying fairly close. He only had one other contestant in his area yesterday, and that angler did poorly, so Ashley hopes he'll cede it to him. Along with focusing on the same location, he'll rely on the same presentation. "I'm fishing so shallow there aren't many baits you can throw," he explained.
Things have changed. More than half the field has been eliminated from contention and the savvy fan's attention turns elsewhere.
It's an hour before takeoff on Day Two of the 2014 Classic at Lake Guntersville. Brent Chapman and Greg Vinson are the first pros to arrive at the dock. They have some catching up to do and they're taking the challenge seriously. Rock and country music boom over the water. The announcer tells us that over 3,000 fans watched the pros head out yesterday morning. Gotta love it.