|Local favorite takes lead as bite dies.|
To illustrate how goofy fishing was Friday, New York’s Andrew Slegona – who caught 31 pounds to lead the event after the first day, only had two small bass Friday but fell no farther than fourth (34-9).
“Man, hard to believe that I could stay in the top five with a day like that on a lake like this,” Slegona marveled.
Meanwhile, Todd Auten of South Carolina jumped from 13th to second (36-8), Bobby Lane Jr. moved from 18th to third (34-13) and Gerald Swindle climbed from 17th to fifth (34-3). Only 4 pounds, 5 ounces separate the top five who will join seven other anglers in Saturday’s final.
In the co-angler division, Floridian Alan Agnoli stunned the crowd with three bass weighing 17-11 to take the lead with 24-15. Other Floridians in the top five include Steve Jarrett (18-2), Robbie Anderson (17-13), Terry Law (17-10) and Daniel Lanier (17-9).
McMillan admits he was just “scrounging round” to catch the fish that put him in the lead Friday.
“I knew I couldn’t duplicate what I did yesterday because I beat on them pretty hard,” he noted. “So today I was doing a little bit of everything from flipping to swimming a jig to catch what I caught.”
Lane, who calls the Kissimmee Chain his home waters, said the water temperature dropped five degrees after Thursday night’s cool off and rain and that left the bass in a tizzy. His 20 pound, 6 ounce sack Friday was one of the biggest and was anchored by a 9-8.
“It really helps knowing the lake and how these fish react when you get fishing conditions like this,” said Lane. “The fish really want to spawn, but the water just hasn’t been right for them to get it going.”
McMillan’s second-day leadership earned him the $250 Livingston Lures Leader Award. Agnoli captured the same title among co-anglers, pocketing a $250 Livingston Lure Pack.
Ohioan Charlie Hartley recovered from a bad first day to win the Allstate Good Hands, Great Day ($250) for moving from 158th place to 17th, thanks to a 20-pound, 15-ounce limit, the largest in the pro division.
Among co-anglers, Mike Spears of Jasper, Ala. moved from 115th to 30th to garner $150 from Allstate.
The tournament will launch each day at 7 a.m. ET at Big Toho Marina. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Bass Pro Shops in Orlando at 4 p.m.