Canadian Chris Johnston makes Top 20 cut.
FLW PRESS RELEASE
Yesterday, Cox caught the only limit that topped 15 pounds. Today, there were four, including a monster comeback sack from Florida’s JT Kenney of 19 pounds, 2 ounces, which proved that big bags are certainly possible over the next two days.
For the second day in a row, John Cox of Debary, Fla., idled his way far back into the back end of a remote creek off the Tennessee River to target unpressured bass. And for the second day in a row, the move paid off. Cox continues to lead the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart at Wheeler Lake.
|Cox is up the creek and happy about it. Consistency is key|
as many big limits caught on Day 2. (Photo: FLW)
Cox’s catch of 15 pounds, 10 ounces on day two was nearly a pound short of his day-one catch, but it tripled his leading margin to 6 pounds, 7 ounces. And while such a margin might sound like a pretty steep hill to climb for his competitors, the fishing was quite a bit better overall today, and several pros in the top 20 seem optimistic about their chances of repeating their heavyweight performances tomorrow.
TOP 20 BELOW
As for Cox, he plans to continue grinding his way back into the canopied backwater located some seven miles off the main river where a healthy population of residential bass is lurking.
“It was a lot harder in there today,” Cox says. “I had to really slow down and pick everything apart just to get bites. Yesterday, it was fast and furious. I think there are still plenty of bass back there, but they’re just smarter than the ones I caught yesterday.”
Cox estimates that the water temperature in his area is probably some 10 degrees lower due to the dense shade over the creek. In addition, the area is the drainage basin for several springs, and there are thick mats of duckweed covering the surface.
“I really don’t know how much cooler it is because I ripped my transducer off on logs in practice,” Cox laughs, “but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot cooler than the main lake.”
“There seems to be some bit of current in there as well,” he adds. “Sometimes it flows out, and sometimes it’s flowing in. All that duckweed gets repositioned every day, so I never really know how it’s going to be set up until I get in there.”
Duckweed has been a key component to Cox’s pattern as some of his fish are being caught on a floating frog on the mats.
“I still feel comfortable with the whole situation,” Cox says. “There is not much I’m concerned about right now. Every morning when I wake up here I look forward to going out there. It’s not like I’m worried or dreading something bad that might happen.”
One factor leaning in Cox’s favor going forward is that FLW now allows anglers to use their own boats all four days in the Forrest Wood Cup. This is a huge plus for Cox who has been sledding over logs and sandbars in his aluminum boat. He now does not have to worry about going to a bigger glass boat in the final rounds.
“I’m going to go back in there again tomorrow, but if I make it to Sunday I might make a switch in creeks and try to get into a place that is really hard to access,” he adds. “I still have a place or two I have not been during the tournament that I’m saving. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”
Top 10 Pros
1. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 32-5 (10)
2. Jacob Wheeler – Indianapolis, Ind. – 25-14 (10)
3. Michael Neal – Dayton, Tenn. – 25-14 (10)
4. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 25-3 (10)
5. Todd Auten – Lake Wylie, S.C. – 25-1 (9)
6. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 24-10 (10)
7. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 24-4 (9)
8. Bill Chapman – Salt Rock, W.Va. – 22-5 (10)
9. Jimmy Reese – Witter Springs, Calif. – 22-3 (9)
10. David Dudley – Lynchburg, Va. – 21-11 (10)