Snapshot Day 2: 2005 Open Championship


  • Editor's note: The only place to see ESPN2 highlights from the Open Championship this weekend is on "BassCenter".

    PRATTVILLE, Ala. — There was no fog to delay the start of fishing on the second day of the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship Friday morning.

    But like Thursday's opening round which was pushed back more than two hours, the 90 professional anglers competing here on the Alabama River were met by very "un-Alabama-like" temperatures that were below freezing for the 6:15 a.m. launch.

    The anglers will battle more than the frigid weather. Each is chasing Arkansas pro Mike McClelland who bagged five fish on Thursday for a first-day total of 17 pounds, 12 ounces. McClelland is trailed by Texas' Matt Reed who is in second place with 14-12. Doug Garrett of Arkansas is third with 13-3, including a 7 pound, 12-ounce lunker he landed during the opening hours of this championship.

    At stake is an $80,000 top prize and five of the remaining 12 spots in the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

    Takahiro Omori is keeping a close eye on the leaderboard. A former Classic champion, Omori caught five fish on Thursday, but the bass only totaled 5-4 which put him in a tie for 36th place. He'll need to finish in the top five at the Open Championship to claim a spot in the Classic. Based on points standings, Omori also will reach the Classic field if Terry Scroggins, Scott Rook, Gary Klein or Jeff Kriet finish in the top five here. Each of those four anglers has already secured a berth in the Classic, which will be held in Orlando this February.

    Omori said having two ways to get into the Classic doesn't make his job any easier.

    "It's scary because sometime when you have more ways to get in, you still don't get in," he said.

    Omori fished exclusively for largemouth bass on Thursday, but said he might try for spotted bass today.

    "I have to change something to get the bigger fish to bite," Omori said.

    Reed, who used a variety of crankbaits and spinnerbaits with much success Thursday plans to follow the same pattern today.

    "I'm going to do the same basic thing," Reed said. "It looks like they dropped a little of the water level on us. That could be a factor on what goes on. But the main river stuff, that won't affect."

    Reed was especially pleased to see fog wouldn't be a factor during the second day of fishing. He said having the extra two and half hours should allow him to visit some of the spots he didn't have time for Thursday.

    "I'll go to some of the same spots and hopefully get to a little more of the ones like I wanted to," Reed said. "But in a river system, it all really depends on the current."

    Reed put himself in good position to survive today's cut when the field will be whittled to the 10 top anglers. With nearly 15 pounds of fish already landed, he feels he can land smaller fish today and still be around to fish this weekend.

    "To make the cut, it's going to take 19, 20 pounds," Reed said. "It would be real nice to go catch another decent sack and get you a little breathing room. But I don't know if I can catch another one. That's the way fishing is. You just do what you can do."

    Klein, who is in 28th place with 6 pounds, 6 ounces, agreed with Reed, saying between 18 and 20 pounds should be enough to make the cut. He plans to return to the spot he fished yesterday — a 40-minute run south on the Alabama River system.

    "If I can't win it, I want at least to make a top 20, a top 15, something like that," Klein said. "But if I could catch a couple of 4-pounders, (I could go higher). I think I need about 11 pounds today to have a shot at the top 10."

    Klein threw a Carolina rig most often on Thursday. He worked the lure slowly, but said he might have to use a speedier retrieve to get some action Friday.

    "I think I just have to make them react," Klein said. "I don't think they're feeding right now. I'm going to have to do something to trigger them, make them grab it."

    Unlike Klein, who planned to fish in one primary spot again today, North Carolina pro Britt Myers was hoping to stir some action by covering extra ground today. He'll needs some help to make the cut as he currently sits in 48th place with a three-fish total of 3-11.

    I think down here the fish aren't stacked anywhere," Myers said. "You have to cover a lot of water and hope you get a big bite. That's the key. A lot of guys who had big bites yesterday, they had four little bitty fish to go with it. So if you get 4 or 5 pounds total and then catch a 5- or 6-pounder, you've got a chance to squeeze out of the cut."