SANDUSKY, Ohio Five new anglers moved into the top 10 on Day Two of the Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Erie. Some Buckeye anglers who led the pack the first day were ousted by competitors from Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Two Ohio anglers managed to maintain their top-five positions heading into the final day.
Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio, jumped one spot to become the Day-Two leader. Coates had a five-fish limit of 16-4 for the day, bringing his total weight to 36-13.
"It was a tough bite early this morning," said Coates. "I wasn't catching much, so I moved to a more shallow area I have a lot of confidence in and caught four keepers. By 1 p.m., I had my limit."
Jamie Fabian, a fellow Buckeye contender, moved from eighth to take the No. 2 spot. Fabian had 12 bites for the day, all keepers. He brought a limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, bringing his total to 36-6.
"I'm doing something a little bit different," said Fabian. "I'm flipping a drop shot against the wall in a 100-yard stretch."
Paul Hirosky of Guy Mills, Penn., heads into the final day in third with 36-3. Jon Bondy of Windsor, Ontario, is in fourth with 35-0 and Rick Morris from Lanexa, Va., rounds out the top five with 34-9.
On the non-boater side, Pennsylvania's Ken Baumgardner took the lead with 29-13, followed by New York's William Beekman (29-1), Maryland's Jim Kline (28-15), Kentucky's Les Underwood (26-2) and Ohio's Rick Danklefsen (24-14).
Cleveland, Ohio, pro Frank Scalish, winner of last year's Northern Open on Lake Erie, reeled in 21-11 of smallmouth bass, bringing his total to 32 and securing the 14th spot in the top 50. His sack included a 5-7 lunker that earned him the Purolator Big Bass of the Day award. Scalish pocketed an additional $1,000 for his catch.
Non-boater Anthony Ballay of St. John, Ind., reeled in a 4-14 smallmouth, earning Purolator Big Bass honors and $400.
The field was cut to the top 50 boaters and non-boaters for the final day of fishing.
In other news, BASS confirmed that boater Aaron Wessels of Watervliet, New York, and non-boater Mitch Rhoton of Indianapolis, Ind., were injured on Day Two of the Open. Both anglers were taken to a local hospital for evaluation and released with only minor injuries.
"We've worked closely with anglers to ensure the safest possible conditions for BASS competitors," said Chris Bowes, tournament manager. "Yet, when the world's best athletes compete at the highest level in any sport, some risk remains, but that does not diminish our sincere regret that this incident occurred.
"We wish Aaron and Mitch the very best in their speedy recoveries."
This is the first of three Northern Open events that will send the top anglers to the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship in December. The top five from that championship are invited to the Classic in February 2006 at Lake Toho near Kissimmee.
The final weigh-in is at 2:00 p.m. at Shelby Street Launch, 101 Shelby Street, in Sandusky.
The second Northern Open event is Aug. 11-13 on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The last event is Sept. 15-17 on Oneida Lake in Syracuse, N.Y.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Open Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).