Friday morning inside Pelican Bay. Picture by co-angler Jim Phillips.
Ken Iyobe left Pelahatchie Creek and went to a small marina on the west side of the lake and landed his 4th keeper of the day. It was similar in size as his others, which have been 2 to 3 pounds. As he idled away he said he wanted a 5-pounder to round out his day. He would be hard to beat if he had a 5-pounder in his bag with his other solid fish.
Found the Day 2 leader Ken Iyobe and he currently has three fish in the box. He added the first two around the launch site. One was a 2 pounder and one was a 3 pounder. Iyobe spent the first 3 hours and 30 minutes on rock near takeoff and he has now moved to Pelahatchie Creek where he added keeper number three. This was another 3-pounder and it put his weight up to 3 fish for 8 pounds or so.
“I need 15 pounds today,” Iyobe said. “Two more fish, I need two more fish.”
He had a slim lead of 14 ounces over 2nd place, 2-13 over 3rd, 3-5 over 4th and 3-9 over 5th.
He has a slight lead and comfort space, but with 7 and 8 pounders being weighed everyday, I’d expect one of the Top 12 anglers to catch a big one before the day ends. It’s just getting good as the wind has calmed down and the sun is heating the water back up.
We are hanging with him for a while to see if he catches those two fish he needs and can reach the 15-pound mark he thinks he needs to win.
I’m leaving the Four Trees area and heading to takeoff where Ken Iyobe has focused his efforts. So far the best I’ve heard is three fish and those reports were from 4th place Blake Betz and 6th place Luke Palmer. We will see what Iyobe has and report back. Yesterday under the tough conditions, he had two fish at 11 a.m., but salvaged and eventually weighed a limit of 13 pounds.
I started the final day in an area called “Four Trees” as there were rumors that numerous Top 12 guys would be there. Those rumors were true because I have seen six anglers so far.
2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th and 6th are in this area I believe. A few are just far enough away that I can’t tell who they are, but I’ve seen Stephen Browning catch a keeper although it was a line-burner. Blake Betz has three so far for roughly 8 pounds and I watched him reach in the water for a big one, but it came off. Second place Bradley Burns has lost two fish and doesn’t have a keeper. Burns just pulled out to head up lake a little farther.
Drew Benton is here as well and I believe Allan Nail and Luke Palmer are across the bay as well.
Crowded area, but it’s the most protected area given the wind direction the last few days.
The Top 12 pro’s and co-anglers headed out for the final day of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Ross Barnett. On the pro side, Ken Iyobe leads by 14 ounces with a two-day total of 31-1. On the co-angler side Justin Leet has a 1-pound, 14-ounce lead with a two-day total of 22-11.
Tight weights will keep the final weigh-in interesting!
Sixth place Mark Hicks started the day with 17 pounds even. He currently has a 2-pounder in the box, but was sounding blue as he told me he lost a 5-pounder earlier. With post-frontal conditions today seems like it will be tougher for the field. Every bite will count so losing one will hurt. If someone can catch a good bag of fish today they will vault up the leaderboard.
Hicks is fishing in the crowd of people in the takeoff marina and seems to be fishing much slower than everyone around him. Great for fishing thoroughly, but as the clock ticks he may start to speed up.
The front has slowed the bite for Greg Vance and Bubba Gilmore. They are hoping for things to pick up. It’s still early!
Reports from up the river at Ross Barnett are bleak for second place Caleb Sumrall at the moment. He has one small keeper that can be characterized as a line-burner. His barely 14-inch bass has him on the board, but with the wind on the main lake has to have impacted his day or at least navigating to his area. One keeper is better than none, but Sumrall was confident he could catch them like he did Day 1.
Clark Reehm, Day 1 leader, is still looking for his first keeper of the day. He’s caught four non-keepers and lost his only keeper he had hooked up. His co-angler Cedric Jackson has a keeper in the box.
It’s pretty crowded where Reehm is and he doesn’t have the luxury of letting spots rest when he fishes another area. He also has an issue on his bait arsenal. He has a limited supply of the bait he’s been catching them on and has even borrowed some from buddies that are fishing this week.
Reehm is still looking for number one, but with 20-plus pounds on Day 1 he doesn’t need all that much to make the final day cut.