EUFAULA, Okla. — Preston Frazell was too polite to mention it when he weighed the 7-pound, 1-ounce kicker largemouth that gave him the Day 2 lead in the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional on Lake Eufaula, but his co-angler Teb Jones fessed up when he weighed in moments later — Frazell had caught the biggun from the back of the boat, on one of Jones’ spots.
“I’m heartbroken,” Jones said, likely only half-kidding. “He caught that fish behind me.”
Frazell, a Kansas B.A.S.S. Nation angler from Cleveland, Okla., then walked back onstage and thanked Jones for putting him on a good spot. In the B.A.S.S. Nation Divisional format, each anger — whether he’s the boater or co-angler — gets half the day to pick fishing spots and run the trolling motor. Frazell was the boater today.
“I do want to thank Teb,” he told Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation tournament director. “The biggun was off of his place. I hope I can go do it again tomorrow.”
“But not off his place, right?” Stewart joked. “He’s giving you the evil eye over there!”
Frazell might not need Jones’ spot. He’s got spots pretty similar to it elsewhere on the lake.
“It’s similar — the same type of structure,” he said after weighing in, understandably stopping short of providing additional details. “And that bite really keyed me into a deal.”
It could be a pretty big deal. Big enough to maybe unsaddle the horse he rode in on.
“Depending on how the day is going tomorrow, I might pull a 180 and totally change up and try to go catch some big ones,” he said.
Frazell caught 9-15 on Day 1 to put himself in 12th place. His 17-pound, 13-ounce Day 2 limit put him one pound ahead of Day 1 leader Josh Wray of Arkansas. Wray fell to second after following up his Day 1 limit of 14-13 with a Day 2 limit of 11-15.
“It got a little tougher for me today,” Wray said. “I had to work for those five.”
Wray never was able to cull up after getting his limit, as he did on Day 1. Still, he’s not ready to hit the panic button. “I saved a couple of good spots,” he said.
The wind blew less on Day 2 and there was more cloud cover. “That actually made it better, because it positioned them better,” Frazell said. “The bite kind of fizzled when the sun came out this afternoon.”
Frazell said he “bounced around a lot and hit little, specific areas,” and that timing was key. He also made better decisions and executed better on Day 2.
“I made some bad decisions yesterday,” he said. And he broke off one fish and missed another. Today he fished more cleanly. “It was really just a blessed day.”
If no bass trumps Frazell’s 7-pound, 1-ouncer tomorrow, he’ll win Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament, a prize worth $500.
In third place after Day 2 on Eufaula is Missouri competitor Mark Wiese Jr. with 25-2. Rounding out the Top 5 are Trevor Rogge of Texas with 24-4 and Albert Collins, also of Texas, with 22-5. Collins was a favorite coming into the tournament because he qualified for and competed in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.
The top angler from each state at the end of competition will advance to the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, Nov. 6-8, on Louisiana’s Ouachita River. The anglers who win their divisions there advance to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
Frazell, Wray, Wiese and Rogge lead the Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas teams, respectively. The other team leaders are Louisiana’s David Cavell, Mississippi’s Teb Jones, Nebraska’s Lee Wubbels and Oklahoma’s Robert DeGraffenreid.
Oklahoma leads in the state competition again after Day 2, with 69 bass for 161 pounds, 10 ounces. Kansas is in second place, only a little behind with 156 pounds. Louisiana is in third with 137-13. The winning team will take home a Skeeter/Yamaha boat package worth $40,000.
Competition resumes Friday with a 6 a.m. CT launch time at Southpoint Ramp at Eufaula Cove. The weigh-in is at the South Point Pavilion beginning at 2 p.m. Stay tuned to Bassmaster.com for more coverage.