Nixon weighed a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces to take the lead and advanced to the top 10 as the crucial No. 1 seed. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 64-7, he now holds a very slim 5-ounce lead in the tournament going into the final day of competition.
“Today was one of those great days,” said Nixon, who has won more than $1.3 million over the course of his career. “I got on my best waypoint and they were just loaded there. I caught them and caught them, and I was getting concerned because they were mostly 2- to 2 ½-pounders. Finally I caught one real big one, and another that was pretty big.”
That spot has been so hot for Nixon during the tournament that he nicknamed it “awesome” on his GPS. Nixon said his spot is hot early in the morning for about an hour and a half, as he had close to 20 pounds by 8 a.m.
Nixon said he fished the spot in about 15 ½ feet of water using a drop-shot rig by casting to the fish – a technique he referred to as “drag-shotting.” He said he switched up baits when the rig seemed to lose its effectiveness. Nixon remained tight-lipped as to what bait he switched to after the drop-shot rig. He also remained guarded about his chances of taking home the trophy at the end of the day Sunday.
“You just never know on Lake St. Clair,” Nixon said. “I’ve had them just completely disappear. Twenty (pounds) is realistic, but I’m going to need more than that to win.”
Day two leader Bill McDonald of Greenwood, Ind., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 64-2. McDonald caught the largest stringer of the tournament Friday – a 25-pound, 2-ounce sack.
“My game plan is staying the same,” McDonald said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m going to go swing for the fence.”
McDonald said he and Nixon are fishing the same area and come to within 300 or 400 yards of each other during the course of competition.
“He’ll catch his, and I’m going to catch mine,” McDonald said. “We’ll let the scales weigh them.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition are:
1st: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 15 bass, 64-7
2nd: Bill McDonald, Greenwood, Ind., 15 bass, 64-2
3rd: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., 15 bass, 62-15
4th: Cory Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, 15 bass, 61-11
5th: Joe Balog, Harrison Township, Mich., 15 bass, 60-11
6th: Tim Wilson, Gas City, Ind., 15 bass, 60-10
7th: Chad Pipkens, Holt, Mich., 15 bass, 58-11
8th: John Cox, Debary, Fla., 15 bass, 57-11
9th: Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 15 bass, 56-15
10th: Chris McCall, Brookeland, Texas, 15 bass, 56-14
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Ryan Chandler, Hobart, Ind., 15 bass, 56-9, $11,174
12th: Koby Kreiger, Okeechobee, Fla., 15 bass, 56-5, $11,174
13th: Jeff Vizachero, Grosse Ile, Mich., 15 bass, 56-4, $11,174
14th: Kevin Vida, Clare, Mich., 15 bass, 56-2, $11,174
15th: David McCrone, Minnetonka, Minn., 15 bass, 55-13, $11,174
16th: Todd Schmitz, Goshen, Ind., 15 bass, 54-8, $10,720
17th: Kelloggs Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., 15 bass, 54-4, $10,720
18th: Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 53-8, $10,720
19th: Jon Bondy, South Woodslee, Ontario, 15 bass, 52-6, $10,720
20th: Skip Johnson, Goodells, Mich., 11 bass, 42-5, $10,720
Overall there were 96 bass weighing 350 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 20 pros Saturday. The catch included 19 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top five anglers in the point standings from the four FLW Tour Open tournaments will qualify.
Dave Hasty of Toledo, Ohio, won the co-angler division and $20,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 55 pounds, 2 ounces followed by Kenneth Taylor of Shelby Township, Mich., in second place with 14 bass weighing 54-7 worth $6,768.
“I couldn’t have done this without my pros,” said Hasty, who now has 13 top-10 FLW finishes on the Detroit River. “They do their homework and put you on the fish. My dad is sitting in the audience, and if he hadn’t taught me the tricks to catch the big smallmouth, I would never be standing here. The keys were patience, fishing tough, grinding it out and never giving up.
“I didn’t have the 16 pounds until my last cast,” Hasty added. “I was throwing a Rapala DT14 crankbait and literally with three minutes to go got that mushy feeling (of a fish on).”
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
3rd: Dave Shively, Butler, Pa., 15 bass, 53-15, $4,501
4th: Tom Spangler, Corryton, Tenn., 15 bass, 53-14, $3,844
5th: Clayton Batts, Macon, Ga., 15 bass, 53-7, $2,688
6th: Jim Hippensteel, Rochester, Ind., 15 bass, 51-15, $2,234
7th: Marty Hottot, Chatham, Ontario, 14 bass, 51-3, $1,781
8th: Adam Thiede, Ashland, Ohio, 15 bass, 51-2, $1,600
9th: Philip Borsa, Redford, Mich., 15 bass, 50-12, $1,509
10th: Scott Noel, Loveland, Ohio, 15 bass, 49-14, $1,418
Overall there were 80 bass weighing 271 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 20 co-anglers Saturday. The catch included 13 five-bass limits.