BRANSON, Mo. — Randy Sullivan avoided making another emergency run and made a move instead into first place at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Table Rock Lake.
The Breckenridge, Texas, angler weighed in a five-bass limit of 17 pounds, 6 ounces to take over the pro division lead with 32-11 overall.
"Yesterday was kind of interesting," the 24-year-old Lake Fork guide said. "I actually made about a 55-mile run, and my trolling motor cable broke 10 minutes into fishing." So he drove his boat all the way back to the takeoff site, where the Mercury service crew repaired the troller motor. He then made the run back to his spot on the James arm, where he caught a 15-5 limit in about three hours of fishing.
"Today I thought I was going to have a full day to fish, and it was going to be awesome," Sullivan said. The morning bite was slow for him, though, as he caught only a couple of small keepers.
However, his co-angler partner, Larry Foster, was catching bass, so Sullivan knew he was in the right area. "He started out putting it to me pretty good, and he ended up letting me use the right bait," Sullivan said.
Although Sullivan was using the same type of lure, Foster was using a different color. "The color was everything there," said Sullivan, who completed his limit after switching to Foster's color.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike McClelland took a trip down memory lane to move into second place with 30-15. "It's really crazy sometimes how (fishing familiar places) will actually work for you," he said. "What's crazy about the 'history' I am fishing here is it is history from back when I was 13 or 14 years old.
"My grandmother and grandfather developed a piece of property on the lake, and I spent countless hours fishing in a little 14-foot aluminum V-bottom in the same creek I have been in and a couple of creeks close to that one," McClelland said. "So when you understand the layout of the creek like that one, it makes it real easy to start patterning fish." The Bella Vista, Ark., pro has been catching his bass each day on a Cabela's 3.4 Swimmer, Spro McStick stickbait and Spro Rock Crawler crankbait.
The rest of the Top 5 pro division anglers include Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., third place, 30-8; Ernie Stumpf III, Frisco, Texas, fourth, 28-13; and Drew Sloan, Scurry, Texas, fifth, 27-15.
Fishing with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brian Snowden helped Mike Jones of Fayetteville, Ark., retain first place in the co-angler division with a total of six bass weighing 17-7. "Brian was great," Jones said.
"When we got in the boat this morning, he told me he was going to do all he could to help me get my three fish, and he did it. He was rooting for me all day long."
Stumpf leads in the pro division of the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with his 6-1 largemouth. The leader in the co-angler division of the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award is Brian Murphy of Sulphur, La. with a 5-3 largemouth.
The host for this event is ExploreBranson.com. Saturday's launch will be held at Table Rock State Park Marina at 6:30 a.m. CT. The final weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 1 Bass Pro Shop Drive in Branson and will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m.