BASS record in jeopardy at Amistad

DEL RIO, Texas — After Steve Kennedy weighed-in a five-bass limit totaling 36 pounds, 10 ounces Thursday, he was asked if he could do it again Friday.

"I'd never done it before, I don't know why I'd expect to do it again," said Kennedy, who was the Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Rookie of the Year in 2006.

 With Friday's dawn at the Battle on the Border the same as the day before, overcast skies and southerly wind, Kennedy hedged a bit.

"With the conditions we've got today, I'm expecting 30 pounds again," said Kennedy, who is from Auburn, Ala.

 Kennedy is on a pace to catch more than 140 pounds, which would shatter the previous BASS record for a four-day, five-fish per day tournament of 115-15, set by Preston Clark last year at Santee Cooper in South Carolina.

 "I don't expect to catch 36 pounds a day," Kennedy said, "but 120 (over four days) is definitely in reach."

 Kennedy used a Fred Roumbanis-created soft plastic swim bait to catch most of his fish early Thursday. He had 30 pounds in the boat after hitting his first two spots on Lake Amistad. Kennedy said it marked the first day he'd used a swim bait in a tournament. Today will definitely be his second.

 "I'm trying to hammer my fish, because I assume by the weekend we're going to be looking at them," Kennedy said.

 In other words, with big bass moving to spawning beds on an hourly basis as Amistad warms, the pros left after today's cut from 108 to 50 will be concentrating on spawning beds, not the fish staging in pre-spawn areas, where Kennedy caught them Thursday.

 Scott Campbell, a 24-year-old Elite Series rookie who weighed-in 36-0 Thursday, put it another way.

 "It's supposed to get real calm this afternoon," Campbell said. "When that sun comes out, you better be looking at beds or you're going to get your ass kicked."

 Both Campbell and Kennedy said they saw no spawning beds in practice and found one big bass on a spawning bed Thursday. And they both expect to see a lot more spawning beds in Amistad's clear water today.

 Thursday was an indication of how quickly the bass are moving. Campbell initially was catching two-pound females in textbook pre-spawn areas during practice, but the big fish moved into those areas.

 "That was really my saving grace," said Campbell. "It wasn't something I knew was going to happen yesterday.

 "I think those monster fish were in 30 to 40 feet of water during practice. It was still winter as far as they were concerned, with the water temperatures down that deep."

 Campbell admitted having a hard time getting to sleep last night. From the 6:50 a.m. takeoff until the 3 p.m. weigh-in, Campbell went from a rookie trying not to look bad in his first Elite Series event to a title contender with his second-place Day 1 total of 36 pounds. It was topped by the big bass of the day, which weighed 12 pounds, 7 ounces.

 "I was satisfied with what I had (20 pounds) after 45 minutes," Campbell said. "I about fell over with nervousness after catching that big fish (at 1 p.m.).

 "It took me awhile to get down last night. I had a lot on my mind. But once I did, I slept like a rock."

 They key Friday will be adapting to the changes as more and more big fish move from pre-spawn areas to visible spawning beds. Both Kennedy and Campbell seemed to have a handle on that Friday morning.

 Friday afternoon at the Diablo East Marina weigh-in, everyone will find out just how well the Elite Series pros were able to adapt to change.

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