UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Fish fit for a King

Fish fit for a King
Tournament director Chris Jones weighs in pro Stacey King's leading stringer of bass Friday using the water weigh-in system, which causes less stress on the fish.

ONALASKA, Wis. - When there are about a million fish being caught, sometimes it takes a veteran's wisdom to come out on top. Enter Stacey King, a longtime touring pro out of Reeds Spring, Mo., who took the lead in the first half of Stren Series Midwest Division final-round competition at the Mississippi River Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces.

All 20 pros caught a limit under the stiflingly hot conditions on the river Friday, so the weights were tight. King, who had never fished this waterway before this week and who squeaked into the finals yesterday in 19th place, managed to set himself apart from the pack by pursuing by smallmouth bass early.

"I'm just running and gunning and fishing a whole lot of new water," King said. "I'm primarily keying on smallmouths because they're bigger. The key is just getting a couple of big bites."

The leader weighed in four smallies and one largemouth Friday, his biggest being a 4-pound, 2-ounce kicker bronzeback. A wily veteran, King was less than specific about his bait and technique Friday, saying he threw a variety of baits like crankbaits, shaky-head worms and jigs. He did say that he caught most of his bigger fish on the crankbait and that he targeted rocks and trees on Pool 8 of the river.

Veteran pro Stacey King of Reeds Springs, Mo., caught five bass weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces to lead day three of the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River."I've got one pretty good-sized area that's about a five- or six-mile stretch with a bunch of fish all the way up and down this pool," he said. "I've got so many areas - and I know the current and learned a lot over the last three days - that I'm going to catch fish tomorrow. It's just a matter of getting the good bites."

And, as most tour-level pros know, it takes more than just a single leading sack to win a tournament. And King recognized that, especially here on the Mississippi River where everyone is catching fish.

"Consistency's the name of the game in tournament fishing," he said. "I just can't believe how many fish there are here - and they're good, quality-sized fish. It could take 30 pounds to win this thing. If I can catch another 15 pounds tomorrow, I'd be real confident."

Rick Byrnes of Tamaroa, Ill., earned second place in the Pro Division with a limit weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce.Byrnes bags largemouths, takes second

Taking a different approach than King but eliciting a similar result was Rick Byrnes of Tamaroa, Ill., who earned second place in the Pro Division with a limit weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce.

Byrnes caught four largemouths and one smallmouth, saying he has stayed with two main baits all week: Brovarny swim jigs and All-Terrain Tackle football jigs. However, he also caught at least one of his big largemouths on a buzzbait Friday.

"I don't think it matters because they'll eat anything," Byrnes told Friday's weigh-in crowd. "I just hope you head down there and go fishing because there are fish everywhere."

Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., caught a limit full of largemouths weighing 15 pounds exactly and placed third on the pro side.Morehead changes up, nabs third

The always-prolific Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., managed to land the day's third and final stringer in the 15-pound range. He caught a limit full of largemouths weighing 15 pounds exactly and placed third on the pro side.

Morehead, who had been flipping jigs in the opening round, changed strategy Friday and mostly pitched finesse worms on Pool 9 for most of the day. While he caught his fair share of numbers like everyone else, he credited fortune for the size of his limit.

"My second biggest fish I caught in 4 inches of water on a frog. Well, it broke the rod in about four places and I had to hand-line it in," he said. "Then my biggest one came on my last cast after we came through the lock. It was one of those lucky deals."

Pro Troy Eakins of Nixa, Mo., placed fourth with a limit weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces.Eakins fourth

Pro Troy Eakins of Nixa, Mo., placed fourth with a limit weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces.

He said he caught his fish on his namesake Eakins jig in various colors and sizes, but added that he wasn't necessarily swimming it like many people were this week.

"I was swimming it, but I was also kind of bouncing it on the bottom a little bit," he said, adding that he targeted wood and rock Friday for his fish.

William Davis of Russellville, Ala., tied for the fifth-heaviest limit Friday for the pros - 13 pounds, 13 ounces - and earned the fifth-place spot by virtue of a tiebreaker.Davis fifth

William Davis of Russellville, Ala., tied for the fifth-heaviest limit Friday for the pros - 13 pounds, 13 ounces - and earned the fifth-place spot by virtue of a tiebreaker.

After a long dry spell, rain passed through the area overnight, but the clouds quickly dissipated as the sun rose, a factor in Williams' day of largemouth fishing.

"I started fishing grass on Pool 9, and I was loving the rain this morning. But once the sun gets up, I'm struggling in that grass," he said. "But I caught more fish today than I have all week. I caught eight off of one tree while I was waiting for the lock."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros fishing in Saturday's finals on the Mississippi River:

6th: Robert Heilman of Dakota, Minn., 13-13
7th: Jim Jones of Big Bend, Wis., 13-12
8th: Chris Cox of Belleville, Wis., 13-11
9th: Douglas Stanton of Winona, Minn., 13-8
10th: John Bomkamp of Muscoda, Wis., 13-6

Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersberg, Ind., leads the Co-angler Division after catching five bass weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces.Sifers snags co-angler lead by tiebreaker

Fresh off a second-place finish at the Midwest Division opener at Kentucky Lake, Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersburg, Ind., took the Co-angler Division lead in the first half of the Mississippi River finals with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces.

Sifers actually tied Dave Knutstrom for top weight from the back of the boat Friday, but he earned first place via a tiebreaker.

"Basically, I fish the Ohio River where you fish all day and get five bites if you're lucky," Sifers said. "You guys do not know how incredible you've got it up here."

Sifers said he caught his fish on a variety of "confidence baits," but added that he leaned on flipping a 1/2-ounce, black-and-blue jig for some key catches.

Dave Knutstrom of Stronghurst, Ill., also caught a limit weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces. He placed second for the co-anglers.Knutstrom, who hails from Stronghurst, Ill., also caught a limit weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces. He placed second for the co-anglers.

Opening-round co-angler leader Mark Myers of Minneapolis placed third with a limit weighing 12 pounds even.

Fourth place for the co-anglers went to Neil Stout of Onalaska for a limit weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers was Brady Farrell of Fort Atkinson, Wis., with a limit weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:

6th: Eric Boberg of Arcadia, Wis., five bass, 10-12
7th: Michael Taylor of Muscatine, Iowa, five bass, 10-8
8th: Bob Bott of Onalaska, five bass, 9-13
9th: James Richardson Sr. of Harrison, Ohio, four bass, 9-6
10th: Jeff Taylor of Olmstead, Ky., four bass, 9-6

Final round Saturday

Day four of Midwest Division competition at the Mississippi River begins as the final-round field of 10 boats takes off from Clinton Street Landing in La Crosse, Wis., at 6 a.m. Central time Saturday. Friday's weights carry over to Saturday, and each division's winner will be determined by two-day combined weight.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2006-07-12-mississippi-river-onalaska 

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