UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Cummings in command

Cummings in command
Jeff Kellogg had the biggest weight Thursday at the TBF Northern Divisional with 15-9 as well as the big bass, which weighed 4-6.

OSHKOSH, Wis. - The more things change, the more things stay the same. For the second straight day, Derek Cummings of Eaton Rapids, Mich., maintained the top overall spot on the leaderboard at The Bass Federation Northern Divisional Championship, held on Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago.

However, unlike yesterday, Cummings finally has a little bit of breathing room.

Cummings, who led his closest rival by a mere 2 ounces after Wednesday's competition, extended his lead in today's action with a five-bass limit that weighed 14 pounds, 3 ounces. As a result, Cummings was able to bolster his overall lead over second-place competitor Aaron Ivy of Washington, Ind., by a full 1 pound, 3 ounces.

Ivy, who turned in an impressive 13-pound, 2-ounce limit of his own today, boasts a two-day total of 25 pounds, 12 ounces.

But while Cummings dominance of the TBF divisional championship has grabbed most of the headlines to date, the most unusual sidebar so far has to be Ivy's fortuitous partner draws. For two straight days, Ivy - who is fishing as a nonboater - has managed to draw two solid partners who have fished in and around the same area where Ivy found his bass during practice.

Yesterday, Ivy was paired with Jon Jezierski, a boater from Michigan who wasn't on a reliable pattern during any of the tournament's practice days. As a result, Jezierski agreed to go to Ivy's area, where both anglers ultimately found success. While Jezierski finished yesterday's competition in third place, Ivy grabbed the runner-up position. Both anglers also weighed in a 4-pound, 1-ounce smallmouth to share the big fish honors.

Wednesday, Ivy credited his partner for allowing him to choose where they would start their day. Today, Ivy said good luck came to him once again as he was paired with another great partner. Ironically, that partner happened to be Cummings, who was on a great pattern targeting an area within 200 yards of where Ivy fished yesterday.

"After about an hour, we went to Derek's spot and started catching them real good," said Ivy. "It's not every day you get good draws in a tournament like this. How often does the second place angler get paired with the first place angler? I just hope my luck continues tomorrow."

Both anglers threw tubes to smallmouths in 3 to 6 feet of water on the outside edges of grass beds. Ivy said the bites were extremely light and it took multiple casts to get each fish to commit to the lure.

Doug Blank is in first place for the Wisconsin team with a 6-ounce lead.  Here he is with a 3-11 fish.Best of the rest

Doug Blank of Fort Atkinson, Wis., moved from sixth place to third today after catching a 12-pound, 6-ounce limit on a swimming jig. He was fishing a long reef with scattered grass, the same spot he fished yesterday to catch an 11-pound, 7-ounce bag.

"I was just throwing my jig up on top of the reef in 2 feet of water and winding it back like I was fishing a crankbait through about 6 feet," he said. "They were ripping the rod out of my hand they were hitting it so hard."

The top three anglers were back at Nomini Park in Oshkosh with limits by 11 a.m.

Wisconsin laws prohibit culling bass, so everything that went into their livewells had to stay. Blank says the rule puts a twist on the event and one that will certainly play a role in tomorrow's strategies.

"I think I'm going to gamble tomorrow. If I want to win, I can't rely on the first five keepers I catch. I'm probably going to put some of the smaller fish back and try to get some better ones in my livewell," said Blank. "I know they are out there."

Ivy also believes he can win his state title by catching five 14-inchers, the length limit on Winnebago.

"I'll just see what my partner has in store," he said. "I just hope I draw another good one like (Cummings). We were on the same page all day. He could have been tough on me since we are both in the running, but he let me fish."

Jeff Kellogg of Rockford, Ill., weighed the biggest sack of the day, a 15-pound, 9-ounce limit anchored by the biggest bass of the day, a smallmouth that tipped the scales at 4 pounds, 6 ounces. As a result, Kellogg jumped from 28th place to a sixth-place tie with Scott McIntyre of Decatur, Ill. They both have a two-day total of 20 pounds, 4 ounces. Both are just 1 pound behind fifth-place angler Rob Heilman of Dakota, Minn. Keith Clegg, of New London, Wis., is in fourth with a total weight of 23 pounds, 13 ounces.

Team standings update

The Wisconsin Bass Federation team has a total weight of 175 pounds, nearly 47 pounds ahead of the second-place team from Illinois. Indiana is in third with 118 pounds, 3 ounces, followed by Ohio, which has a total weight of 115 pounds, 11 ounces. The Michigan Bass Federation has 111 pounds, 11 ounces.

The tournament, hosted by the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Wisconsin Bass Federation, runs from Sept. 13-15 and is presented by The National Guard.

Tags: david-hart  headline-story  2006-09-13-lake-winnebago 

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