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Memphis boys take Fort Madison by storm

Memphis boys take Fort Madison by storm
Lloyd Pickett retained his lead in the Pro Division of the Stren Series event on the Mississippi River by catching five bass that weighed 12 pounds, 14 ounces.

FORT MADISON, Iowa - Brutal thunderstorms put a damper on the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River for the second consecutive day. Wind, rain and intermittent periods of lightning made fishing dangerous at times and turned a tough bite even tougher. All of these obstacles didn't seem to faze Lloyd Pickett Jr. one bit. On day two, Pickett made the best of a bad situation and captured the opening-round lead in the Pro Division.

Several anglers actually stopped fishing and took shelter from the treacherous lightning. Safety concerns aside, the stormy weather made it next to impossible for many anglers who planned on using topwater baits.

Pickett had no problem getting the Mississippi River bass to bite, however. After hauling in a 15-pound, 6-ounce limit on day one, he calmly sacked 12-14 on day two to retain his lead. That lead, however, means little as the weights are cleared for the semifinal round.

Pickett didn't stick his fish too hard Thursday. He knew he wouldn't need much to advance, and he certainly wanted to manage his fish with that in mind.

Lloyd Pickett patiently waits to weigh in his fish on day two of the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River."I laid off all my holes except one," he said. "I just stayed in that one area because I knew that I would need them tomorrow. At one point, I heard that static popping in my rod, and I knew it was time to take a break."

Yesterday, Pickett spent most of his day near the launch, but today he ran about six miles south. At this point, he's found a consistent pattern that he's trying to duplicate throughout the fishery.

"I'm fishing pads and grass, but the pads and grass have to have an adjacent ditch. The whole key is having access to deep water. The other key is having shad. If you have shad and access to deep water, then the big fish will be there."

His key topwater baits have been the SPRO frog and the Zoom Horny Toad. When he employs his flipping gear, a green-pumpkin Strike King tube is his bait of choice.

The Memphis, Tenn., pro plans to run south again tomorrow and work his way up as the day progresses. With a week of practice under his belt, he may have just enough water to win this tournament.

"The weather is going to be a factor with me. These are wind-driven holes, and it all depends which way it blows. I really believe 26 or 27 pounds will win this. If the weather calms down and you can finesse these fish, it's liable to take 28 or 29 pounds. Tomorrow is my 23rd wedding anniversary, so I'm ready to go fish harder than I have before to impress my wife and maybe bring home a good check."

Davis retains second

William Davis held down second place among the pros for the second consecutive day. His opening round total consisted of 10 bass that weighed 27 pounds, 14 ounces.For the second consecutive day, pro William Davis held down the second spot in his division. Coming into this tournament, Davis' goal was to earn enough points to qualify for the 2006 Stren Series Championship on Wheeler Lake.

After struggling in two Stren Series Southeast Division events, Davis figured he would try his luck in the Yankee division. Things have quickly turned around for the Russellville, Ala., pro. Not only will he qualify for the championship, but he has a great chance at capturing the Midwest Division Angler of the Year award.

On day two, Davis caught a limit weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces, totaling 27-14 over the first two days.

"It's looking good for Wheeler (site of the championship)," said Davis. "It was tough out there today. You just fish and fish and fish and fish, and then you get a bite. And you better be ready when they bite."

Davis continues to use a combination of a spinnerbait, a 12-inch worm and a frog.

"I like fishing grass, and I like fishing shallow, so I feel pretty much at home here. Tomorrow I'm going to go out there and be open-minded and fish the conditions."

Walker third

Pro Bill Walker of Mulkeytown, Ill., caught five bass on day two that weighed 13 pounds, 3 ounces to finish the day in third place.Bill Walker of Mulkeytown, Ill., caught a five-bass limit on day two and grabbed third place for the pros with a two-day total of 26 pounds, 13 ounces. His limit Thursday weighed 13-3.

Walker said he doesn't possess much experience on this particular stretch of the Mississippi River, but his overall knowledge of river systems has helped him dial in on a pattern. Two rivers that he frequently fishes are the Ohio and the Tennessee.

"Most of my fish have come on a frog, but I found some fish flipping today."

Walker decided to run south toward the city of Montrose, Iowa. When he got there, he realized many of the 144 boats had made the same decision.

"It was like the Monkey Box on Lake Okeechobee. You could walk across the water."

Jones fourth

Midwest Division points leader Jim Jones once again demonstrated amazing consistency. After two days, the Big Bend, Wis., pro has caught 10 bass that weighed 26 pounds even.Midwest Division points leader Jim Jones earned the fourth qualifying spot with an opening-round total of 26 pounds even. He caught a limit weighing 12-11 Thursday.

Pushing the tournament at hand aside for a moment, the Midwest Division Angler of the Year race looks like a two-man competition between Jones and Davis. Jones currently has 375 points to his name while Davis owns 370.

"I was hoping I had enough, so I stayed off my fish," said the Big Bend, Wis., pro.

Rose moves up to fifth

Pro Mark Rose finished day two on the Mississippi River in fifth place with a two-day total of 26 pounds even.Another Memphis-area pro had his name prominently displayed near the top of the leaderboard. Switching from smallmouths to largemouths, pro Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., finished day two in fifth place with an opening-round weight of 26 pounds even.

"I got a neat little area," said an optimistic Rose. "Yesterday I was getting smallmouths with a spinning rod and a little finesse worm. Today, it was largemouths on a 1/4-ounce Strike King spinnerbait. This is an even playing field and a great challenge to the fishermen. I've just got to fish the conditions."

At this point, Rose appears to be the only angler who is fishing rock piles and not grass.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros at the Mississippi River:

6th: Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., 24-5
7th: Clayton Reitz of Morton, Ill., 24-4
8th: Allen Huhra of Joliet, Ill., 22-15
9th: Nathan Huss of Elkhart Lake, Wis., 22-15
10th: Gary Colasessano of Indianapolis, Ind., 22-12

The Snickers Big Bass award on the pro side went to Steve Marler. This Mississippi River largemouth was caught Thursday and weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce.2002 Stren Series Championship winner Steve Marler of Fenton, Mo., earned $450 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth.

Farmer finds four, leads co-anglers

Coming off a Wal-Mart BFL Illini Division victory as a boater on Lake Shelbyville, John Farmer of Crete, Ill., currently leads the Co-angler Division. He caught four bass Thursday that weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces to push his opening-round total to 16-7.

Fishing with pro Terry Bolton on day two, Farmer caught six fish total, four of which were keepers.

"Other than the weather, it was a very good day," he said. "The weather played havoc with us today; the fish didn't want to bite unless it was calm. We had three fronts come through, and when the weather picked up, the fish wouldn't bite. At about noon or so, we went to a spot where there were no boats at all, and we really got into them."
John Farmer caught four bass on Thursday that weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces to take the lead in the Co-angler Division.
Farmer said he caught his fish in thick grass on a 1/4-ounce RC swimming jig and 15-pound-test line.

"Normally I fish as a boater, but I figured this would be a good chance to come and practice for the BFL Regional. The type of stuff we're fishing (grass) makes it so fair for the co-anglers."

High five co-anglers

Second place for the co-anglers went to Tom Medlock of Licking, Mo., who staged a considerable comeback on day two with a limit weighing 9 pounds, 14 ounces. Medlock's opening-round weight was 16 pounds, 2 ounces.

Medlock said he and his pro partner, Gary Colasessano, caught fish all day by throwing jigs and lizards.

Timothy Vieth was all smiles after qualifying for the second round in third place among the co-anglers.Timothy Vieth of Marthasville, Mo., grabbed the third spot in the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of seven bass that weighed 15 pounds, 13 ounces.

Bud Strader of Rockwood, Tenn., earned the fourth co-angler spot with a weight of 14 pounds, 13 ounces. He caught the heaviest stringer from the back of the boat Thursday, a limit weighing 12-14.

Day-one leader Kevin Whitaker of West Chicago, Ill., rounded out the top five co-anglers with an opening-round weight of 14 pounds, 8 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers at the Mississippi River:

6th: Brad Peters of Taylorville, Ill., 14-3
7th: Caleb Kuphall of Mukwonago, Wis., 13-5
8th: Bruce McClamroch of Crawfordsville, Ind., 12-14
9th: Jim Valentine of Leslie, Mich., 12-10
10th: Todd Kuipers of Lafayette, Ind., 12-6 (day-one leader)

Chuck Rounds shows off the Snickers Big Bass from the Co-angler Division on day two. This Mississippi River beauty weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces.Chuck Rounds of Benton, Ky., earned $190 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 4-pound, 6-ounce largemouth.

Day three of the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River begins as the top 20 pros and top 20 co-anglers take off from Captain Kirk's Marina in Fort Madison at 6:30 a.m. Central time. Anglers' weights are reset to zero for Friday, and the winner in each division will be determined by the angler who brings in the largest two-day combined stringer from Friday and Saturday.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2006-08-09-mississippi-river-ft-madison 

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