Bennett out in front at Lake Murray

Bass fishing’s most prestigious title, $1 million cash prize up for grabs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug. 15, 2008) – Team Duracell pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces to capture the lead on day two of the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol on Lake Murray. With a total opening-round catch of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 4 ounces, Bennett now holds a 14-ounce lead in the tournament featuring 77 pros and 77 co-anglers from across the United States, Japan and Korea.

“This is a little shocking,” said Bennett, who has earned more than $435,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. “I had one fish at 9 a.m. and finally gave up everything I was doing and started over. Then I got into the right little stretch and put three good ones in the boat and had my limit by noon. Then I just drove around the lake looking for stuff to fish the next two days.”

Bennett said he caught his three good fish in a spot he described as “shallower.” He said most of his spots dry up when he catches one fish off of them.

“I found a few areas that look like places I need to fish,” Bennett said. “I don’t know if they’ve been hit at all.

“I dialed into a little bit of a pattern today,” Bennett added. “I’m trying to keep an open mind. They were a little different than how I caught them yesterday. Yesterday I caught a couple deep and today I caught a couple semi-deep and a couple shallow.”

Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., trails Bennett in the No. 2 spot with nine bass weighing 26-6.

“I’m just junk fishing,” said Rose, who has won more than $703,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. “I can tell you I won’t be fishing a shaky-head (rig).”

Rose said the shaky-head rig accounted for two small fish Friday. Rose said he caught most of his fish shallow and shared his spot with some other competitors.

“I felt like I could scratch and claw a few,” Rose said. “I could just feel that it wasn’t going to take much to make the cut.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros are Team National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. (10 bass, 26-01); Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark. (10 bass, 25-10); Brian Travis of Conover, N.C. (nine bass, 23-01); Team Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C. (10 bass, 23-00); Team Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Penn. (10 bass, 23-00); Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore. (10 bass, 22-12); Team Berkley pro Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich. (nine bass, 22-11) and Team Chevy pro Dion Hibdon of
Stover, Mo. (10 bass, 22-01).

*****from Jim Modlin, covering Golf and Fishing for*****