UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Armstrong keeps slim lead at TBF Central Division Championship

Armstrong keeps slim lead at TBF Central Division Championship
Eddie Armstrong continues to lead both the overall field and the Mississippi state team thanks to his two-day catch of 21 pounds, 15 ounces.

COLUMBUS, Miss. - The top two overall weight-getters remained unchanged on day two of The Bass Federation Central Division Championship on the Columbus Pool, as Eddie Armstrong of West Point extended his hold on both the overall lead and the Mississippi state lead. Remaining right behind him in both races is Matt Ferguson of Pontotoc, who sits just 14 ounces behind Armstrong with one day left to fish.

Armstrong followed up his day-one catch of 12 pounds, 3 ounces with a day-two limit weighing 9 pounds, 12 ounces, which brought his two-day total to 21 pounds, 15 ounces. While that does put him at the top of the overall leaderboard, the real competition this week is happening among the states as well as among the 12 competitors competing for each state.

Seven states each sent 12 anglers to this week's divisional - Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Kansas. Missouri currently leads the state race with a two-day total of 107 pounds, 13 ounces, just barely ahead of the Mississippi team, whose representatives have weighed in 107 pounds, 9 ounces over two days.

And Armstrong's seat atop the Mississippi state-team rankings is significant because the top two finishers from each state will advance to the 2008 TBF National Championship. The No. 1 angler from each state will advance as a boater, and the No. 2 finisher will advance as a co-angler.

Armstrong continued to dominate today despite what he said were tougher conditions.

"It was tougher today," he said. "The big fish didn't want to bite. I had to kind of go out deep to catch fish."

In Armstrong's fishing hole, deep is about 6 feet. He hit the water today armed with a smorgasbord of baits, a fact he says contributed mightily to his continued success.

"I was throwing a lot of plastics - a variety of baits, really," he said. "I'd catch them on one bait, and then I'd pick up another one. The fish just didn't want to cooperate today."

Indeed, his weight did fall a couple of pounds from his day-one haul, though Armstrong has extensive local knowledge that will in all likelihood continue to serve him well through the tournament's final day tomorrow.

"I'm going to have to find some new water," he said.

His bag today included a spotted bass, a fish that's a bit unusual on these waters, where tournaments are dominated by largemouths.

"Where I caught him at and the bait I caught him on were unusual," Armstrong said, adding that he caught it on a 10-inch worm.

Armstrong is competing in this week's event as a boater - six of each state's 12 team members were sent to this tournament as boaters, and they brought their own boats. The other six from each state are competing as co-anglers. Daily pairings are random, and boaters are expected to share front-of-boat time with their co-angler partners.

Thompson takes over Arkansas lead

Kevin Thompson holds an ultra-slim 2-ounce lead over his nearest competition on the Arkansas state team.With a two-day total catch of 16 pounds, 15 ounces, Kevin Thompson of Mablevale, Ark., has the dubious honor of holding the slimmest lead in state competition. He leads Arkansas' day-one leader Justin Lancaster of Plainview, Ark., by merely 2 ounces.

Thompson caught 8 pounds, 3 ounces yesterday and bettered that slightly today, bringing in a limit weighing 8 pounds, 12 ounces. He's competing this week as a co-angler and fished today with Oklahoma's Dean Matts, who's currently second in his state.

"I was just fishing slow - extremely, painfully slow," Thompson said. "I was fishing grass and rocks in 6 to 8 feet of water, using small worms."

Thompson knows he is neck-and-neck with Lancaster in one of the tournament's tightest races, and he's hoping his good luck with boater partners extends tomorrow.

"Dean Matts was a great partner," he said. "If I can catch a few - a small limit - I should be all right. But I've got to go out there and catch fish."

Matts and Thompson fished the Columbus Pool today to get their bass. Thompson's 16-15 weight has him in third on the overall weight list.

Maloney hangs on to Missouri lead

Brian Maloney saw his weight slip a bit today, but he continues to lead the Missouri state team and has a 3-pound, 8-ounce advantage heading into the final day.Brian Maloney of Osage Beach, Mo., struggled a bit today compared to day one, but that didn't stop him from opening up a 3-pound, 8-ounce lead over his nearest competition on the Missouri state team.

Maloney led his state yesterday with 10 pounds, 6 ounces and caught five smaller ones today that clocked in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces for a two-day total of 16 pounds, 11 ounces. Mike Horstmeyer of Ellisville, Mo., trails him with 13-3 over two days.

"They're still shallow," Maloney said of his fish. "It took me until 8 this morning to get a limit. They dropped the water on me, and I'm at the end of my branches."

Maloney caught a quicker limit yesterday and said then that he thought he had locked on to a pattern that maybe others hadn't figured out yet.

"The area I'm in, I'm by myself," he said. "Hopefully I can find another five tomorrow; I just don't think I can get them that quick."

Maloney said he flipped plastics today, with an adjustment in size being the key.

"I downsized and flipped an 8-ounce weight, which is crucial with the falling water," he said.

Maloney is competing this week as a boater, and his 16-11 weight currently has him fifth on the overall weight list.

Alexander extends Texas lead

Dean Alexander remains the No. 1 Texas angler with 16 pounds over two days.Still leading the Texas state team is Dean Alexander of Florence, Texas, with a two-day total of 16 pounds that has him 2 pounds, 12 ounces in front of Donny Awtry of Watauga, Texas. Alexander's day-one catch of 9 pounds, 6 ounces was followed up today with four bass weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces.

Unlike Maloney, who has his fishing hole pretty much to himself, Alexander struggled today with crowding on the Columbus Pool.

"I've got a lot more people fishing where I've been fishing," Alexander said. "I'm going to struggle tomorrow to catch a limit - I should have had a limit today."

Since the entire field will compete again tomorrow with a lot on the line, Alexander may have some tough decisions to make before tomorrow's launch.

"I really don't know which pool I'll fish tomorrow," he said. "I may have to change because of the pressure."

Alexander caught his bass today in 4 feet of water or less using plastic baits. He is competing this week as a boater and currently sits in sixth place on the overall weight list.

Cagle jumps out to big Louisiana lead

Louisiana state leader Ross Cagle shows off the dayRoss Cagle of Downsville, La., has a 4-pound, 11-ounce advantage heading into tomorrow's final day thanks to a two-day total of 14 pounds, 13 ounces. Cagle led the Louisiana team yesterday with 5-12 but brought in a five-bass limit today weighing 9 pounds, 1 ounce to extend his lead.

His stringer included a big bass that weighed 4 pounds, 5 ounces, earning him $250 as the day-two big-bass leader.

"I'm catching them in 3 to 5 feet of water," he said. "I'm grass-pitching plastics."

Cagle is competing as a boater this week and made a change in direction today to increase his good fortune.

"Yesterday I went to Aliceville, and today I went to Aberdeen," he said. "I don't know where I'm going tomorrow - I've been here since the Stren."

Cagle had a tougher time at last week's Stren Series event here on the Columbus Pool, finishing 112th on the pro side.

"I wanted to catch some bigger fish," he said, explaining his decision to switch from the Aliceville Pool to Aberdeen. He described his chances tomorrow as "excellent." His day-two catch moved him from 18th to seventh on the overall weight list.

Glasgow retains Oklahoma lead

Jay Glasgow continues to lead the Oklahoma team despite a tough day two.Holding on to first place on the Oklahoma team is Jay Glasgow of Fort Gibson, Okla., with a two-day catch of 12 pounds, 2 ounces. He caught 9 pounds, 6 ounces yesterday but struggled a bit today, bringing in a pair of bass that weighed 2 pounds, 6 ounces. His frustration was evident, although he continues to lead his state by 1 pound, 13 ounces.

"I said yesterday it was just blind luck," Glasgow said. "I had an opportunity to have 10 or 11 pounds today, and it was just lack of execution. That is the difference between making the nationals and not making the nationals."

Glasgow fished the crowded Columbus Pool today and said he plans to fish there again tomorrow. He is competing this week as a boater.

Smith keeps tiny lead in Kansas competition

Leading the Kansas state team by just 3 ounces is yesterday's Kansas leader Rick Smith with a two-day catch of 10 pounds, 3 ounces. His day-one catch of 6 pounds, 8 ounces was followed up today with a three-bass catch weighing 3-11. He is just in front of Robert Garver of Olathe, Kan., who has 10 pounds over two days.

"I had a great day," Smith said. "I drew another great partner. We fished a topwater this morning, and then we moved into Tibby Creek and caught three fish that kept me in the lead."

Smith is competing as a co-angler this week.

Championship concludes tomorrow

TBF Central Divisional qualifiers will head out again tomorrow on the Columbus Pool for the final day of competition with a 5:30 a.m. takeoff from Columbus Marina, located at 295 Marina Drive in Columbus. Tomorrow's weigh-in will also be held there beginning at 2:30 p.m., following which the winning state will be crowned and the National Championship qualifiers from the Central Divisional will be determined.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2007-06-13-divisional-tenn-tom-waterway 

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