UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Willy goes frog wild

Willy goes frog wild
Pro William Davis of Russellville, Ala., shows off two huge Mississippi River bass.

FORT MADISON, Iowa - Throughout the week, Stren Series Midwest Division anglers have repeatedly told stories about how good the fishing was during the unofficial practice period. While professional fishermen are notorious for telling tales, it turned out to be true as Pool 19 of the Mississippi River came to life just in time for the semifinal round.

The weights were tight on day-three as each of the top-10 pros caught limits, but William Davis managed to set separate himself from the pack with a stringer of bass weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces.

Davis allowed today that he too is fishing about six miles south of the launch near the city of Montrose, Iowa. He continues to use a mixed bag to catch his fish, but the Zoom Horny Toad has been his most productive bait. The two other baits in his arsenal are a spinnerbait and a 12-inch worm.

William Davis led all pros after day three with five bass that weighed 14 pounds, 6 ounces."I'm looking forward to tomorrow," said Davis. "It's going to be a close one, everyone is about a cast away from first place; it will all come down to who gets the big bites. I am just going to go fish as hard as I can and whatever happens happens."

Davis said his area consists of roughly 300 yards of bank. He's catching most of his fish in three feet of water or less. After spending three days in one area, he's figured out a few nuances. However, topwater frog fishing can be dicey to say the least.

"When you're catching fish on a frog, a lot of things can go wrong," said the Russellville, Ala., pro. "They can really get wrapped up in those lily pads. When I first found these fish, I was just fishing the area. Now I've eliminated a lot of water and keyed in on certain groups of pads."

With only a 9-ounce lead, Davis believes it's still anybody's tournament.

"I'm optimistic and I'm going to fish my butt off. I figure I need around 15 pounds."

Rose sacks mixed bag, takes second

Mark Rose is the only pro angler who is catching smallmouth bass. Rose finished day three on the Mississippi River in second with 13-13.Taking an entirely different approach from the rest of the finalists, Mark Rose earned second place in the Pro Division with a limit weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces.

On day three, Rose caught three smallmouths and two largemouths in the same area. His fish have come off shallow-water rock piles at the edge of the river channel. His smallmouth pattern consists of a little green-pumpkin finesse worm on a spinning rod while he targets bucketmouths with a 1/4-ounce Strike King spinnerbait.

"I caught my biggest bag of the tournament today, so they're still there," he said. "It's just a timing thing. Tomorrow I'm just going to give it my all, but the rest is in God's hands. A win would be special, but I'd be content with second."

Consistent Walker grabs third

Pro Bill Walker of Mulkeytown, Ill., caught the third heaviest limit during day three of Stren Series competition on the Mississippi River.For the third consecutive day, pro Bill Walker landed a limit of Mississippi River bass that weighed over 13 pounds. His exact total was 13-8 and that put him in third place with one day of competition remaining.

"Today was about the same as day one and day two," said the stoic pro from Mulkeytown, Ill. "I'm flipping, that's about it."

Huss fourth

Nathan Huss caught 13 pounds even on day three which was good enough for fourth place in the Pro Division.Pro Nathan Huss of Elkhart Lake, Wis., placed fourth with a limit of largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds even.

"I caught some better fish today but they didn't bite any better," Huss explained. "They just were bigger fish."

Morgenthaler fifth

Pro Chad Morgenthaler and weighmaster Chris Jones enjoy a laugh during the day-three weigh-in. Morgenthaler begins day four from the fifth position.Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., caught the fifth-heaviest limit Friday for the pros. His five bass weighed 12 pounds, 12 ounces.

"I scrambled around a little bit this morning," said Morgenthaler. "I've been throwing a frog and I've got one real good area. It got right for me for about and hour and a half. I needed the sunshine."

Rest of the best

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

6th: David Junk of Quincy, Ill., 12-1
7th: Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo., 11-9
8th: Gary Colasessano of Indianapolis, Ind., 11-6
9th: Jason Leuenberger of La Crosse, Wis., 11-6
10th: Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., 10-11

Walleye veteran snags co-angler lead

While the fishing was much improved on the pro side, the co-anglers struggled mightily on day three. The one exception was Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill., who leads the chase for a top award worth as much as $35,000. Competing in big-money fishing tournaments isn't new to Barski however, as he fishes full time as a co-angler on the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour.

Marty Barski proved Friday that he can not only catch walleyes, but bass as well. Barski leads the Co-anlger Division with a limit weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces.Putting away the planer boards and bottom bouncers for a week, Barski caught five bass weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces while fishing with Morgenthaler. His stringer Friday registered as the heaviest limit of the tournament among the co-anglers.

Barski had initially planned to fish all four Stren Series Midwest Division events, but two of them conflicted with the Walleye Tour. In the all important species decision, Barski identified his angling priorities and chose walleye over bass. He is certainly enjoying his stay in Fort Madison, though.

"It was great, I had an excellent boater and we both caught a lot of fish," he said. "This is a whole different ballgame than walleye fishing; I just came here to learn. It's tough; these guys are fishing for a lot of money. I just hope to fish well tomorrow and keep a positive attitude and maybe everything will go my way. I've got a horseshoe in my pocket that I plan on keeping."

During Friday's semifinal round, Barski fished topwater frogs and soft-plastics around grass and pad fields in 2 to 3 feet of water.

High five co-anglers

Co-angler Andy Bylander caught 10-8 on day three which put him in second place with one day remaining.Andy Bylander, who calls Amery, Wis., home, was the only other co-angler to catch a five-bass limit. His weighed 10 pounds, 8 ounces and kept him within striking distance of Barski.

"It is doable tomorrow, but I'm really going to have to catch them," Bylander said.

Day-one co-angler leader Kevin Whitaker of West Chicago, Ill., placed third with four keepers weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Whitaker fished with smallmouth aficionado Rose on day three but ironically caught all largemouths.

"The fishing was real good today," said Whitaker. "Mark's a real good partner and a real good guy."

Fourth place for the co-anglers went to Ron Fabiszak of South Bend, Ind., for four bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers was Kirk McKnight of Milan, Ill., with three bass weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers fishing in Saturday's finals on the Mississippi River:

6th: Todd Kuipers of Lafayette, Ind., 7-5
7th: David Taylor of Riverview, Mich., 5-6
8th: John Farmer of Crete, Ill., 5-5 (day-two leader)
9th: Bud Strader of Rockwood, Tenn., 5-5
10th: Brad Lemke of Watertown, Wis., 4-9

Day four of Midwest Division competition on the Mississippi River begins as the final-round field of 10 pros and 10 co-angler takes off from Captain Kirk's Marina in Fort Madison, Iowa, at 6:30 a.m. Central time Saturday. Friday's weights carry over to Saturday, and the winner in each division will be determined by the heaviest two-day combined weight.

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

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