Horne stays on top at Central Open

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Thomas Allen

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — When Harvey Horne received a text message Thursday evening notifying him he would be paired with co-angler Jeff Wallace of West Monroe, La., he knew Friday was going to be a good day at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River.

“We have known each other since kindergarten,” Horne said. “We played football and baseball and other stuff together.”

Horne said he and Wallace “kind of lost touch” when they grew older, and Friday was the first time they had ever fished together. The day went well for Horne, as he caught a 17-pound, 7-ounce limit to retain first place in the pro division with a two-day mark of 33-15.

“We absolutely had a ball,” said Horne, who resides in Bella Vista, Ark. “We got to have fun today and from what I have been hearing, a lot of people aren’t having fun. On a day like today when you go have fun catching some great fish and hanging out with a great person like him, it’s a good time.”

The part-time bait shop employee stuck to the game plan that produced a 16-8 limit Thursday. “I went to the same areas and Jeff caught his limit pretty quick,” said Horne, who completed his limit around 10 a.m. “There are still more fish in the area and more are coming to me, so that is what I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Horne noticed there were fewer boats in his area Friday. “I am in really good shape as far as that goes,” he said. “I just have to stick with it and catch five big ones tomorrow.”

After two days of sunshine and wind, wet weather is predicted for Saturday’s final round — and Horne said he is unsure how the weather will affect one of his spots. But he has another area he believes should be “pretty solid” because it is protected from the wind and the water is “different” than anywhere else he has fished. He would not divulge how the water was different.

Justin Margraves of Diana, Texas, moved into second place in the pro division with 31-5 by catching an 18-2 limit Friday. The 35-year-old Lake Fork guide also noticed more bass are moving into his area to spawn.  

“I went to the exact same areas and fished the exact same baits as yesterday, but happened to get a couple of better bites today,” he said.

Margraves said he is running about 80 miles round-trip each day. “I am fortunate I’ve only got a couple of guys around me, and I am fishing a big area,” he said.

David Gillham of Heath, Texas, is in third place in the pro division with 30-9, followed by Dustin Reneau, of Mckinney, Texas with 29-13 and Derek Hudnall of Baton Rouge, La, with 29-11.

Texas angler Joe Lee caught a three-bass limit weighing to 7-6 to take over the lead in the co-angler division with a two-day total of 17-7. The 54-year-old industrial water purification salesman has been fishing a favorite technique both days. “I love flipping and we flipped a lot the last two days,” he said. “That is how I caught most of my fish.” 

Hudnall has taken over the lead in the pro division for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with a 6-3 largemouth. The leader in the co-angler division is Colton Wood of Panhandle, Texas, with a 5-9 largemouth.

The Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event. Saturday’s launch will be held at Three Forks Harbor at 5201 Three Forks Road. The weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops, 101 Bass Pro Drive, in Broken Arrow and will begin at 3:30 p.m. CT.