Pro Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tennessee, brought five bass to the scale weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces to take the lead after day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga presented by Igloo Coolers. Wooley’s two-day cumulative weight of 49-7 gives him a 4-pound, 2-ounce lead over second place pro Billy McDonald of Greenwood, Indiana, who has a two-day weight of 10 bass worth 45-5 as the tournament heads into the third day of competition.
The field is now cut to the top 20 in the four-day event, hosted by the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, that features 146 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world casting for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“My main area isn’t holding huge numbers of fish, but they are the right quality,” said Wooley, who is fishing his second season as a professional on the Walmart FLW Tour. “I’m catching around 20 keepers each day. The fish that I have been catching are solid fish.”
Wooley described his main area as a bar in the middle of a creek that has mussel beds and gizzard shad feeding there in the morning. He said that the fish were sitting in only 12- or 13-feet of water and he was catching them “dragging.”
“I’ve been trying to get the reaction bite going, but I just haven’t been able to get the school fired up,” Wooley said. “I’m catching everything dragging – a jig and a big shaky-head rig with a big worm.”
Wooley said that he left his area around noon and spent the rest of the day looking for more spots to fish during the weekend. He said that he was able to cull out one or two smaller fish throughout the day as he looked for more schools, and expects some of the community hole schools to open up tomorrow with just 20 boats left in the competition.
“I’m hoping that my area will hold up, but I really don’t have a whole lot of experience here so I don’t really know,” said Wooley. “Hopefully tomorrow some of those big schools will open up. I’m just going to go out and try to catch as much as I can and try to keep the lead.”
The top 20 pros that made the Buck Knives Cut and will fish Saturday on Lake Chickamauga are:
1st: Michael Wooley, Collierville, Tenn., 10 bass, 49-7
2nd: Bill McDonald, Greenwood, Ind., 10 bass, 45-5
3rd: Walmart pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 10 bass, 42-2
4th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 41-11
5th: Livingston Lures pro Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 10 bass, 41-0
6th: Rayovac pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 40-0
7th: John Cox, Debary, Fla., 10 bass, 39-6
7th: Terry Bolton, Paducah, Ky., 10 bass, 39-6
9th: Charlie Ingram, Centerville, Tenn., 10 bass, 39-4
10th: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 10 bass, 39-0
11th: Darrell Davis, Dover, Fla., 10 bass, 38-2
12th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 38-0
13th: James Biggs, Euless, Texas, 10 bass, 37-15
14th: Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 10 bass, 37-10
15th: Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 10 bass, 37-10
16th: Richard Peek, Centre, Ala., 10 bass, 37-10
17th: Brad Knight, Lancing, Tenn., 10 bass, 37-6
18th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, 10 bass, 37-6
19th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 37-5
20th: Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 10 bass, 37-3
For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.
Jim Dillard of West Monroe, Louisiana, won the Bridgford Big Bass Award on the pro side Friday with a bass weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces, to win the $500 prize.
Overall there were 613 bass weighing 1,830 pounds, 15 ounces caught by 138 pros Friday. The catch included 102 five-bass limits.
Pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, had his day two weight disqualified from the tournament Friday for violating FLW Tour rule No. 12, which contains provisions regarding permitted fishing methods. FLW officials were made aware that Birge had mistakenly used his outboard motor to extend his cast and lengthen his retrieve, a direct violation of the trolling rule. Birge had caught five bass for 11 pounds even Thursday and finished the event in 137th place.
Paul LaFleur of Benton, Arkansas, won the co-angler division and $25,000 Friday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 4 ounces, followed by Cody Frazier of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, who finished in second place with eight bass weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces worth $7,291.
“I started the day in 15th place, but after catching my second big one today I knew I had a shot at winning the tournament,” said LaFleur, who earned his first career win in his second season as a co-angler on the FLW Tour. “The feeling is unbelievable right now.”
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Paul LaFleur, Benton, Ark., 10 bass, 31-4 $25,000
2nd: Cody Frazier, Soddy Daisy, Tenn., eight bass, 29-7, $7,291
3rd: Bronk McDaniel, Alexandria, La., seven bass, 28-4, $5,107
4th: Stephen Crawley, Bush, La., nine bass, 27-15, $3,884
5th: Cecil Wolfe, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, 10 bass, 27-12, $2,911
6th: Zachary Francis, Abingdon, Va., eight bass, 26-14, $2,674
7th: Josh Smith, Hamilton, Ohio, nine bass, 26-4, $1,937
8th: Joey Cifuentes, Clinton, Ark., 10 bass, 25-6, $1,743
9th: John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., nine bass, 25-4, $1,645
10th: Lawson Hibdon, Versailles, Mo., nine bass, 25-3, $1,548
Complete results for the remaining field can be found at FLWFishing.com.
McDaniel caught Friday’s Bridgford Big Bass in the co-angler division, a bass weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces to win the $250 prize.
Overall there were 404 bass weighing 963 pounds, 9 ounces caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 33 five-bass limits.