Bass fishingâ€™s most prestigious title, $1 million cash prize up for grabs
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug. 15, 2008) â€“ 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.
â€œThis is a little shocking,â€ said Bennett, who has earned more than $435,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. â€œI 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.â€
Bennett said he caught his three good fish in a spot he described as â€œshallower.â€ He said most of his spots dry up when he catches one fish off of them.
â€œI found a few areas that look like places I need to fish,â€ Bennett said. â€œI donâ€™t know if theyâ€™ve been hit at all.
â€œI dialed into a little bit of a pattern today,â€ Bennett added. â€œIâ€™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.â€
Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., trails Bennett in the No. 2 spot with nine bass weighing 26-6.
â€œIâ€™m just junk fishing,â€ said Rose, who has won more than $703,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. â€œI can tell you I wonâ€™t be fishing a shaky-head (rig).â€
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.
â€œI felt like I could scratch and claw a few,â€ Rose said. â€œI could just feel that it wasnâ€™t going to take much to make the cut.â€
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 Kelloggâ€™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 GREENSBOROSports.com*****