MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. — Brock Mosley caught five bass Friday that weighed 25 pounds, 8 ounces, pushing his two-day total to 45-13 and taking the lead in the Advance Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair.
A near miss earlier this season seems to have been just the motivation he needed.
"I finished second to Kevin VanDam at the St. Lawrence River (in July)," said Mosley, a second-year Elite Series pro from Collinsville, Miss. "When you beat everybody except Kevin, that's pretty good. But coming so close really did motivate me for the rest of the season."
After placing second at St. Lawrence, Mosley placed 42nd and earned a $10,000 check in the next Elite Series event on Lake Champlain. During Thursday's opening round, he caught 20-5 and landed in 13th place at Lake St. Clair.
Then on Friday, everything went right.
"It was a slow day, but every bite I got was a good one," Mosley said. "Everything just went my way, and I was blessed to have what I have."
Mosley said he caught a good limit early and then just went "goofing around" to avoid putting too much pressure on fish he knows he'll need the rest of the week. While goofing around, he got a nice surprise.
"I was still fishing the same way I had been, but I was really out there just wasting time," he said. "I caught another 5 1/2-pounder while I was doing that. That was a surprise. I really wasn't expecting to cull a 4-pounder, but that's the kind of day it was."
After catching 21-13 in the first round, Alabama angler Matt Lee had another great Friday, landing five bass that weighed 23-3. With a two-day total of 45-0, he's well within striking distance of his first victory in his 50th career B.A.S.S. event.
Things happened quickly for Lee after takeoff.
"I started in a different place that I didn't get to fish (Thursday), and I had 20 pounds by 8:30," Lee said. "I only got one bite on my best spot from (Thursday), and I lost that fish. I never caught a fish there in two hours and 15 minutes."
Lee finally gave up on his first-round spot and managed to cull a couple of fish in other places. Then he went back to the place where he started Friday morning.
"At 3 o'clock, I caught a 4 3/4-pounder right back in that spot where I started," Lee said. "That culled out a 3 1/4."
Opening-round leader Bradley Roy caught 21-9 Friday and fell two spots to third place with 44-12.
"Things started earlier for me today," Roy said. "The first day, it took me a long time to get a bite. Today, right off the bat, I started catching them."
Then he had what he described as a "bad lull" between 9 a.m. and noon. But he managed to figure the fish out for the afternoon.
"I readjusted, got on some new areas and started catching them again," he said. "I'm hoping if those fish have left or I've caught them all out of that area from the first day that I've expanded a little bit. Maybe I can keep pushing on out to some new areas to catch 21 or 22 pounds a day to win this thing."
Idaho pro Brandon Palaniuk caught 22-6 and moved into 20th place with 40-3. That helped him regain the lead in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race with 820 points. Oklahoma's Jason Christie is second with 791, followed by Tennessee's Jacob Wheeler with 785.
After catching only 17-13 Thursday, Palaniuk said he has no intention of playing it safe to protect his AOY lead.
"If you let up, these guys will pass you in a heartbeat," he said. "I still don't even know what the point gap is. I know I'm leading because you guys keep telling me. But I haven't looked at the standings in three years."
Palaniuk held the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week after Day 1 with a 6-8 smallmouth. But North Carolina angler Shane Lineberger passed him Friday with a 6-10.
The Top 50 remaining anglers will advance to Saturday's semifinal round — and after Saturday, only the Top 12 will advance to Championship Sunday.
Daily takeoffs will begin at 6:30 a.m. ET at Lake St. Clair Metropark. Weigh-ins will be held back at the park at 3:15 p.m.
When the tournament is done, the Top 50 anglers in the AOY standings will advance to the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Minnesota's Mille Lacs Lake next month.
The event is hosted by Macomb County, Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Detroit Sports Commission.