FORT MADISON, Iowa -- The tough fishing took its toll. With 177 total bass and seven limits brought to the scales, Day Two was a real grind-it-out affair. Some would call it a study in preparation, perseverance and positive thinking.
Nowhere was that more apparent than in the performance of the Iowa team. Yesterday they finished in second place, a short pound shy of Wisconsin. Today they finished in first, pushing Wisconsin 16 pounds back.
To a man, the anglers credited their success to communication, knowledge of the river (basically the Mississippi is their home water) and to the fact that that they set winning the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Divisional presented by Skeeter and Yamaha as a goal long before this season began.
“I think our success is based on teamwork,” state president Tom Bowler said shortly after the weights were announced. “We hold formal team meetings and freely share our information. If we have a guy struggling, we get with him and help him put something together. That’s the way we operate.
“Sure, it helps to know the river and we have two Bassmaster Classic qualifiers — Thad Takes (2004) and Terry Fitzpatrick (2009) — fishing with us but nothing replaces sharing information.
“Sometimes that’s not easy. Most of the guys are used to doing this as an individual sport. But, with a little encouragement we get over that. This is about the team. In the end everyone understands that it makes a big difference, more than anything else. I’m really proud of these guys.”
In the individual standings, Greg Heindselman of Illinois caught 21 pounds, 14 ounces and holds first over Ohio’s Brian McNeal by 1-5 heading into the final day.
“I found a little spot that runs from 15 feet deep all the way to dry land. As the water dropped, I’ve been able to follow them and get them to bite, although I have to fish slightly different spots every day.
“And the pressure hasn’t been too heavy. I’m afraid it could get bad tomorrow. I’m in launch position 30 tomorrow and I don’t have the fastest boat. That worries me because I’m thinking there’s only six or seven keepers left in that spot. I want to be the one to catch them.”
In the team standings, Ohio holds third place with Indiana, Michigan, South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois following.
The individual state leaders are: Greg Heindselman for Illinois; Matt McCoy for Indiana; Ron Cherkas for Iowa; Tom Kiefer for Michigan; Andrew Nitchals for Minnesota; Brian McNeal for Ohio; Todd Serfoss for South Dakota; and Brian Christianson for Wisconsin.
Gary Adkins (Wisconsin) brought a 3-13 brute to the scales to earn big bass honors for the day.