SHREVEPORT - BOSSIER CITY, La. -- Using as many as four different lures and techniques and describing his strategy as "covering as much water as I can," Missouri pro Chad Brauer brought a whopping 18 pounds, 12 ounces to the scales today to take a commanding lead in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on the Red River.
Combined with his first day's catch of 16-15, Brauer enters the final day of competition with a total of 35 pounds, 11 ounces. That's more than five pounds heavier than Texas pro Craig Schuff, who holds second with 30-6. Jared Miller of Cookson, Okla., brought in 18 pounds today to jump from 37th to third with 26-7. James Biggs of Bedford, Texas holds fourth with 26-1, while Day One leader Russell Parrish brought in only two bass and fell to fifth with 23-3.
"My strategy is fishing as much water as I can, and using whatever lure I think will work best," noted Brauer. "I'm fishing water from the bank out to about 10 feet, and I have a variety of cover. I'm not catching a lot of fish -- I had just 8 bites in my spot today -- but they're good ones."
Schuff, winner of the first Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open at Lake Amistad, admitted he has been forced into using an unusual lure and presentation for the type of water he's fishing due to the amount of pressure it has received.
"The bass on this river have been hit hard for the past several weeks, especially about two weeks ago when the weather and water conditions were much better," he explained. "I'm only fishing an area 150 yards long and going through it repeatedly. I hope the fish don't get tired of seeing what I'm throwing."
Miller, who's fishing close to Schuff but using different lures, actually had a better day and admitted losing several key bass today. Still, he thinks it will be difficult to make up the four pounds he needs to overtake Schuff.
"The water is extremely warm," he said, "and the bass simply don't want to bite. The fishing is very difficult, and I'm using two totally different presentations just to mix things up."
Only the top 30 pros and non-boaters qualified to fish Saturday, with Texas lure maker Mark Pack claiming the final qualifying spot with a two-day weight of 15-8.
Among the non-boaters, Thomas Tysdal of Lawton, Okla., took over the lead with a total weight of 14-6. After failing to weigh in a fish yesterday, he brought two to the scales today, including an 11 pound, 5 ounce giant. The big fish hit a Spro popping frog in a foot of water.
After launching at Red River South Marina at 6 a.m., the final weigh in will be at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City at 3 p.m. CST. The public is invited.