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Quick Bites: FLW Series Lake Lanier, Day 2

Quick Bites: FLW Series Lake Lanier, Day 2
Dave Lefebre autographs a T-shirt for a young fan.

Wal-Mart FLW Series
Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Ga.
Opening round, Thursday

Third-day resurrection ... Normally, the conclusion of day two would mean the vast majority of the field would be heading home, but not at the Wal-Mart FLW Series. One of the ways that this tournament trail is different from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour is that the entire field competes for three days, with the top 10 pros continuing to fish on day four. Also, weights are never zeroed, so the winner is determined by who has the heaviest four-day catch. Pros and co-anglers alike have applauded the format on stage all week, with most of them saying what they like best is the cushion that an extra day of competition provides. "I like it," said pro Dave Lefebre, who's currently in 33rd. "I like the cumulative weight of four days. The more days you have eliminates the luck factor, and I'm a fan of that." Lefebre is a good example of the third-day cushion, as his weight today fell from 13-15 Wednesday to 9-5 today. "It also affords you a day to screw up, like I did today," he said. "With a three-day format, you can afford to stumble."

Carl Svebek shows off the shaky-head worm.Shake that thing ... The three words heard the most from the weigh-in stage today were undoubtedly "shaky-head worm." Angler after angler passed through naming the shaky-head as their fish-catcher of choice on Lake Lanier. So what's the big deal? The answer, according to pro Carl Svebek, lies in the spots. "It works wonders on the spots," Svebek said of the lake's abundant spotted bass. "You'll see it done at a lot of clear-water places with a lot of spots." Svebek himself is rigging his Gambler Sweebo Worm on a Spot Remover jighead. "I'm biting about an inch off of it, threading it onto the little worm holder," he said. "It's just a real finesse style of fishing. It catches them shallow or deep, and it's a subtle way to catch them."

In the family way ... Bass fishing has always been a family-oriented sport, and the Strader family is certainly no exception to that. Fishing this week's event on Lake Lanier are father Bud Strader and sons Wesley and Shawn. "We always help each other out," said Shawn, though he added they are competitive. Said father Bud, "It's just grand. I always like spending time with the boys." Leading the Strader pack is Wesley, who is currently in sixth place with 28 pounds, 3 ounces. He says fishing alongside his family contributes to his success. "You can really let loose and share information," Wesley said. "Having family around is always a bonus if you're down in the dumps." Wesley said he had figured something out this week and shared it with Shawn, and even though Shawn is faltering in 166th place, he said, "I'm always happy for my brother."

Tom Mann Jr. rebounded on day two, bringing in enough fish to jump from 88th to 19th in the standings.Big-sack comeback ... Yesterday, we talked about how some of the Lake Lanier heavyweights weren't exactly strutting their stuff. Buford's Tom Mann Jr. only brought in 9-14 on day one, while Flowery Branch local Jody Cordell mustered only 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Both Georgia anglers turned it around today, with Mann bringing in 15-4 to move up to 19th and Cordell catching 15-4 to jump to 40th. "I didn't practice hardly at all because I kept catching big fish," said Cordell, who understandably didn't want to spook off his good fish in practice. "But yesterday, my bite wasn't on, so today I did a lot of fishing on docks." Cordell caught a small limit of bass doing that but, on a whim, decided to check out the spot where he found them biting in practice, despite the fact it had shut down on day one. There, he hit the jackpot. "I culled every fish I had," Cordell said. "They turned back on." ... Also benefiting from Cordell's maneuver was his co-angler partner, John Parker, who brought in the tournament's heaviest co-angler bass, which clocked in at 5 pounds, 1 ounce.

Welcome to the big show ... Illinois pro Travis Loyd is making his big-league debut this week in the FLW Series, but his first big-time experience came with a frustrating set of complications. First, he experienced truck problems while hauling his camper down to Georgia, and the vehicle manufacturer picked it up while Loyd got another vehicle to haul his boat. "It was horrible," he said. "My truck quit running, and it was towed to a dealership, and they wiped it out in the garage. They wiped my camper completely out, and my buddy went to pick it up and said he found it in a body shop. They didn't even call me." The mishap has forced Loyd to hire an attorney, a distraction no one needs before they're fishing a major tournament, much less competing in their first upper-level event. "It's not a great way to start my first FLW," he said.

Darrel Robertson shows off part of his day-two catch that put him in ninth place.One to watch ... One angler making some waves this season on the pro tours is veteran Darrel Robertson, who is trying to extend his legacy beyond two lucrative wins in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship and the Ranger M1 tournament, which he won in the same year back in 1999. Robertson's highest finish in FLW Tour year-end rankings is 12th, his standing in 1997, but he is currently second in FLW Tour points and is making a good mark on the FLW Series as well, catching enough bass the first two days to currently sit in the ninth position. "I think the good Lord wants to bless me a little bit," Robertson said of his hot streak. "I've caught some fish I shouldn't have caught." Also lightening the load is having things in order back home in Oklahoma, where he manufactures water-storage tanks. "I've got some better help at the plant, so I've been able to go prefishing," he said. "We've got things running a lot smoother." ... Though every angler entertains thoughts of tournament wins and Angler of the Year trophies, Robertson has a more specific goal in mind for 2006. "The last three years I've fallen out (of the championship) at the last tournament," he said. "My real goal is to not even have to go to that last tournament because I am already in the championship." ... By performing well in the FLW Series, Robertson could afford himself some extra wiggle room, as the FLW Series will send anglers to the 2007 Forrest L. Wood Championship, where Robertson could earn $1 million should he win.

Quick numbers:

0: Number of pros in the 200-boat field who have not brought in a bass so far.

122: Number of five-bass limits brought in on day two by pros and co-anglers.

1,136: Number of bass brought in on day two, about a hundred less than yesterday.

5: Number of ounces separating No. 1 co-angler Ty Hester and No. 2 Kevin Koone.

5: Number of pounds separating pro leader Terry Baksay from No. 2 J.T. Kenney.

Sound bites:

"You can't fish on memories." - Pro Kim Bain on why her day-one strategy of fishing what worked in practice didn't exactly pan out.

Anthony Gagliardi talks to Keith Lebowitz at Lake Lanier."I came off it pretty good today." - Anthony Gagliardi, who caught only two bass today weighing 3-11 to fall to 135th, on whether he's come down from his Lake Murray victory high.

"I got jiggy with it." - Co-angler Judy Israel on her day-two fish-catching method.

"I'm a Southern Baptist pastor, and I drew the Hooters boat today." - Co-angler Christopher Wells, who went on to say that pro Brad Wall was great to fish with.

"I knew I was in trouble this morning when I bent over and busted a hole out of my pants." - The always-colorful pro Charlie Ingram, currently in 129th.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Eastern time at Little Hall Park, located at 3501 Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  quick-bites  2006-03-08-lake-lanier 

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