GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — During the last CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, co-angler Tom Frink enjoyed a wire-to-wire victory on the Santee Cooper Reservoir to take home a boat and motor package valued at $45,000. At the Lake Guntersville Southern Challenge this week, there is a very good possibility the same story could be written.
Hadley Coan of Huntsville, who led after Day One with 12 pounds, 2 ounces, carried a limit of three fish to the scales that totaled 10 pounds, 7 ounces. This weight brought his two-day total to 22 pounds, 9 ounces. A small margin of 1 pound, 5 ounces separates him from second place and less than three pounds separate the top five.
The top-five anglers on the leaderboard have been fishing extremely consistent during the first two days of competition. Only the leader remained in the top spot while the other four co-anglers played a little game of musical chairs to remain in the top five.
A very unusual circumstance given that all of the co-anglers are at the mercy of the Elite anglers they fish with. One bad draw of a pro that isn't on fish, and prepare to be passed up and in an insurmountable position to catch up.
In the second place position is Michael Hearn from Wetumpka, Ala., with six fish totaling 21 pounds, 4 ounces. Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., holds down the third place position with 20 pounds, 6 ounces. In fourth place sits Will Cranston from North Little Rock, Ark., with a two-day total weight of 19 pounds, 8 ounces. Nearly closing out the top five is Robert Mullins from Vinton, Va., with 18 pounds, 11 ounces.
Pushing his way into a tie for fifth place is one of the youngest co-anglers to fish the Elite Series this season. Matt Carter, a 17-year-old junior at Grisham High School, amassed a two-day total of 18 pounds, 11 ounces to create a tie for fifth place.
With the Elite Series tournament beginning on Thursday, Carter surely made up an elaborate excuse about sickness or a death in the family to get out of school.
"I told my homeroom teacher that I had a BASS tournament and I was going to be out the next couple of days," expressed a nervous and excited Carter. "I don't know if that was OK, but I really didn't care because I wanted to fish.
"I would love to have my name on the side of a bass boat one day, and this is the only way to get there."
Hadley Coan's success over the last two days probably plays in part to two major factors, his familiarity with Lake Guntersville and he has had two great Elite angler partners.
"I fish on this lake a lot," said Coan. "I would say just about every weekend from the months of January to November.
"I didn't have to adjust too much to the pros I was with because I had already fished in all of the places they went to."
It isn't a coincidence that the two pros Coan fished with during the first two days have had just as much success. On Day One he was paired with Todd Faircloth who ended the day in seventh place but now sits in second place after Day Two. During the second day of competition, Coan was partnered with Alabama angler Timmy Horton who has muscled his way into fifth place.
"I have had two great partners that really know what they are doing," admitted Coan. "That is the key to this side of things, getting a good draw.
"To win this thing, I am not going to feel comfortable with anything under 10 pounds."
The top 50 co-anglers will be randomly paired with the top 50 Elite anglers on Day Three of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series in Guntersville, Alabama. A $45,000 fully-rigged Triton Boat and Mercury motor prize package goes to the winner after Day Three's weigh-in. Second place isn't too shabby either as another boat and motor package valued at $25,000 will be awarded to that spot. The action begins at 3:00 PM at the Guntersville High School.