Rainy day challenges anglers

SHREVEPORT, La. — Low gray clouds and intermittent rain greeted anglers Friday, the second morning of the Bassmaster Central Open on the Red River, and a cranky, uncooperative boat nearly added a gray cloud to the eventual tournament leader's day.

Despite his boat breaking down in the morning, local resident Marvin Ettredge took the lead after Day 2 of the three-day tournament, weighing in a bag of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, for a total of 31-8.

On the co-angler side, Keith Morris, of Nacogdoches, Texas, took the lead with a weight of 10 pounds, 2 ounces, for a two-day total of 19-10.

"Being in your home waters is usually a curse but I was able to put it together," Ettredge said. "The fish are biting for me and they're good fish. And I'm happy right now."

The weather was the opposite of Thursday's hot, sunny and humid conditions. Friday brought cool, cloudy skies with sporadic rain that challenged the anglers on perhaps the most important day of the tournament.

Only the top 30 anglers in each division after Friday would advance to Saturday's final round and have a chance to win it all, putting more pressure on the field.

Ettredge's second-day lead was impressive, considering the problem with his boat. He was able to make it to the weigh-in site when a fellow angler stopped and picked him up. For a while though it looked as though his day and tournament hopes were gone.

"I thought 'Oh, no, here I am … I got a good bag,' " Ettredge said. "I got down, but then a guy stopped and helped me out. I owe him a lot of gratitude."

With the lead, Ettredge said he plans to stick with his routine Saturday.

"Oh, yeah, I'm going right back to the same place," Ettredge said. "I had two big fish that broke off, I've had a 20-pound bag each day. I just haven't been able to put it together."

Ryan Brown of LaPlace, La., moved up to second with a weight of 15 pound, 6 ounces. His overall weight after two days is at 30-11.

"That gives me a lot of momentum," Brown said. "Being that I can go out two days in a row and get almost the identical weight, I only had an ounce difference from yesterday."

And while most anglers fought the rainy, cloud conditions, Brown hopes for the same for Saturday's final round.

"15 pounds a day is great here," Brown said. "It stayed cloudy all day, the bite was good, I was able to cull. That's all I can hope for again are some clouds."

On the pros side, Danny Smith is in third, Thursday's leader Brian Clark is fourth and Jacky Hawthorne rounds out the top five.

Dennis Mitchell is second in the non-boater standings.