GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Midwest trio of anglers heading up the leaderboard following Day One kept their spot in the coveted top 12, but it was three high rising anglers from out west who had people talking as moving day of the Bassmaster American concluded.
While Edwin Evers, Brian Snowden and Mike McClelland cruised into Saturday's action on Lake Townsend, Dean Rojas, Ishama Monroe and Fred Roumbanis shook up the place with jumps into the top 12 from 43rd, 27th and 30th place, respectively.
The western guys — as well as Arizonan John Murray (qualified in second with 33-9) all used different tactics to make their presence known on a lake thousands of miles from their home.
California pro Monroe noted that the biggest difference for his vault was fairly simple. He went flipping on High Rock's myriad shoreline cover.
"I stayed on my fish a lot longer than yesterday instead of pulling off of them," said Monroe, who qualified in seventh place with a two-day total of 28-15.
Just as simple will be the game plan for the mysterious Lake Townsend. Monroe was waved off from high-tailing it to the water supply impoundment north of Greensboro by BASS officials so that he could take part in the top 12 meeting.
"I'm just going to go fishing. That's about all you can do," said Monroe.
Dean Rojas made the biggest move of the day, sliding comfortably into the six hole from 43rd on the strength of a piggish Day Two bag of 21-9. He said it was a matter of execution and his confidence in a couple of his own topwater creations in recovering from a dreadful Day One in which he weighed only three fish for a total of 8-1 pounds.
"I had the same bites as yesterday, I just put them in the boat today," said Rojas. "I caught a couple on a popper I'm designing and the big one was on my frog. I swung for the fences today and hit a home run."
California angler Fred Roumbanis used a deep, unorthodox pattern to match his Day One total of four fish, but Friday's catch (16-11) had the right heft to qualify in 10th place with 28-4, including a 6-6 kicker to take the daily Purolator Big Bass prize.
"I didn't have a keeper bite until noon. I think they were pulling water yesterday or something because it was much better yesterday," said Roumbanis. "I was fishing 10-25 feet deep and swimming a worm along a main river channel."
The remaining field includes Brian Snowden (1st, 40-3), Edwin Evers (3rd, 33-7), Mike McClelland (4th, 30-5), Gerald Swindle (5th, 29-11), Lee Bailey (8th, 28-7), Ray Sedgwick (9th, 28-6), Russ Lane (11th, 28-3) and Mark Tucker (12th, 28-0).
In addition to moving to new water, the anglers weights will be zeroed going into Saturday. They will cut to six for the final on Sunday, essentially making the American a two-day tournament for $250,000