UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Powers prevails despite mental error

Powers prevails despite mental error
Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., used a two-day catch of 27 pounds, 2 ounces to grab the overall lead in the Pro Division heading into the semifinals.

Tennessee pro grabs hold of top spot heading into FLW semifinals on Lake Ouachita, Morgan nets co-angler lead

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Despite inadvertently throwing back a keeper largemouth that could have cost him dearly, Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., still managed to turn in a performance good enough to capture the overall lead in the Pro Division heading into tomorrow's all-important semifinal round of FLW competition. Although Powers' mental lapse ultimately caused more embarrassment than harm for the angler, it underscored the reality that sometimes even the best of pros can get a little too caught up in the day's action.

"I went upriver and caught four fish on crankbaits and then I came back down and caught a 5-pound largemouth flipping," said Powers, carefully reliving the fateful incident. "I was so happy to catch that fifth fish that I reached into my livewell and started culling fish."

The problem for Powers was that he had only four fish in the boat at the time, even though tournament rules dictate that anglers can weigh in as many as five fish.

"I looked into my livewell and realized that I'd thrown out my fifth fish," said Powers. "I couldn't believe it."

Adding insult to injury was the fact that Powers didn't manage to catch another keeper bass all day.

"Clearly, I wasn't thinking," said Powers.

However, despite the faux pas, Powers had plenty to be thankful for. In addition to grabbing the overall lead on Lake Ouachita and staying in the hunt for the top prize of $110,000, the Tennessee pro snapped a long streak of sub-par FLW performances dating all the way back to his last tour victory in May of 2001.

"I've had a bad year so far, so it feels great to be back," said Powers, after recording a two-day stringer weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces and qualifying for his first top 20 of the season. "I just hope I can continue to do well tomorrow."

With five top-10 FLW appearances under his belt, Powers said he is determined to approach the final two days of the tournament a little more determination than he has in the past.

"The first couple of times I made it to (the semifinals), I felt that the pressure was really off. I was just happy to be there." he said. "But what I've learned over the years is that if you have that kind of attitude, guys like Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn will stomp all over you. I mean, those guys come here to win. And that's how you have to approach these tournaments.

"Getting to the top 20 is great, but you'd better have your head screwed on right and bear down once you get here," Powers continued. "Because the good pros don't let up."

Hackney jockeys for position, locks onto second place

By his own admission, Greg Hackney of Oak Ridge, La., is exactly where he wants to be. After turning in a first-place performance in yesterday's competition, Hackney was determined to come back today with a double-digit stringer and a little more knowledge of Lake Ouachita. Consider both goals accomplished.

"It's all good right now," said Hackney, who recorded an 11-pound, 9-ounce stringer to bring his two-day total to 27 pounds, 1 ounce. "By making the top 20, the pressure is off. There are no losers now. I'm happy."

Hackney, who continues to target largemouth bass with jigs in deep water, said he is confident about tomorrow's action as well.

"I spent a lot of the day looking for a few new places," he said. "And now, I've got three or four pretty good spots. Tomorrow, I'm going back to fish the middle of the main lake. And I don't really care what the wind does. If it blows, it's going to be harder to fish where I want to fish. But I'm not going to change what I'm doing."

However, Hackney is under no illusions that it will be easy to advance past tomorrow's semifinals either.

"It could take 13 or 14 pounds to get to the finals," he said. "And there are a lot of good fishermen out there who are starting to figure things out. I'm definitely not going to feel comfortable unless I come back with a limit."

So far, only 9 five-fish limits have been caught during the entire tournament - an unofficial FLW record.

Best of the rest

Shad Schenck of Waynetown, Ind., found himself back where he started after the second day of competition - all alone in third place. Schenck turned in a two-day total weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces.

Rounding out the top five were Rick Clunn (fourth) of Ava, Mo., with a total catch of 20 pounds, 2 ounces; and Jim Tutt (fifth) of Longview, Texas, with a catch of 18 pounds, 9 ounces.

Morgan experiences case of deja vu

When the top-20 cut was announced at the FLW tourney on Lake Wheeler last month, co-angler Armil Morgan of Mineral Springs, Ark., was standing onstage in first place. By the time today's competition had concluded on Lake Ouachita, there was Morgan once again standing onstage in first place.

"It's like a dream come true," said Morgan, who already has three top-10 FLW appearances to his credit. "It feels really good. To have back-to-back first-place finishes (in the opening round), I would never have imagined it."

While Morgan said was pleased with today's performance, he said he would approach the co-angler finals a little bit differently than he did on Lake Wheeler.

"I finished in seventh place on Lake Wheeler and my goal is to beat that finish here," said Morgan, who has already turned in a two-day stringer weighing 11 pounds, 9 ounces. "But unlike Lake Wheeler, I'm not holding anything back this time. Last time, I kind of let my pro dictate a lot of the action. But this time, I'm going to be a lot more aggressive."

Morgan, who has been throwing rattletraps near grass and "underwater islands," said that he is sticking with a similar plan in tomorrow's competition.

"I don't plan on changing up my pattern tomorrow," he said. "Other people are using the same bait as me, but they're fishing it too fast. I'm just throwing my rattletrap out there, letting it sink and cranking it in slowly. And I'm going to do to the same thing in the finals."

While Morgan said he is getting more and more accustomed to fishing in pressure-packed situations, he acknowledged that the nerves are still there.

"I still get butterflies," he said. "When you stop getting nervous, that's when you need to start worrying because it means you're getting overconfident."

Unlike the Pro Division, which begins final-round action on Saturday, the co-angler champion is crowned at the end of tomorrow's competition. Co-anglers will be competiting for the top prize of $15,000.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Kentaro Amagai (second) of New Port Richey, Fla., with a total catch of 9 pounds, 15 ounces; Bobby Hendricks (third) of Bullard, Texas, with a catch of 9 pounds, 9 ounces; Don Carpenter (fourth) of Anniston, Ala., with a catch of 9 pounds, 7 ounces; and Kelly Greer (fifth) of Green Forest, Ark., with a catch of 8 pounds, 9 ounces.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7:45 a.m. at Mountain Harbor Resort, located 2 miles off Highway 270.

Related links:

Quick Bites: FLW Lake Ouachita, Day 2
Photos
Results
Results of day-two pairings
Day-three pairings
Press release

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2002-03-13-lake-ouachita 

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