Saturday, May 20, 2017

2017 Walmart FLW Mississippi River Day 2: Andy Morgan Leads with 31-4lbs!

Gustafson 102th, Chris Johnston 104th, Cory Johnston 105th,  and Richardson 141st.
by Rob Newell 

Morgan takes lead as river keeps rolling. (Photo: FLW)
A river is a river.
That’s the simple philosophy Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn. used to capture the lead on day two of the FLW Tour presented by Evinrude on the Mississippi River.
Morgan cut his angling teeth fishing the “pools” along the Tennessee River – pools with names like Chickamauga, Nickajack and Guntersville. Though he’s never fished this part of the Mississippi River, in his mind pools 7, 8 and 9 are not much different than the “pools” he fishes back home in Tennessee.
Friday he relied on his river-reading skills to sack up 14 pounds, 9 ounces of bass, giving him a two-day total of 31 pounds, 4 ounces.

“A river is a river,” Morgan says. “They rise. They fall. They have a main channel. They have backwaters. These pools up here are somewhat like little tiny versions of the lakes on the Tennessee River.”

“Rivers are fun,” he adds with a chuckle, revealing the comfort level he has for the Mississippi.
Like Thursday, Morgan’s species mix on day two was two smallmouths and three largemouths.
“What makes this place really fun is when I pitch up there and the lines goes, ‘tong!’ I have no idea if it’s going to be a smallmouth or largemouth,” he says. “It’s not like I’m targeting smallmouths and then targeting largemouths – they’re mixed together.”
Morgan has spread his fishing efforts across pools 8 and 9. Some of the “fun” in fishing the two pools has been jockeying with barges for position in the locks – an element of risk Morgan is also comfortable with from his experience on the Tennessee River.
“It’s just part of it,” he says. “You have to gauge your locking and fishing times based on the barge traffic. This morning we all got bounced out of the lock by a barge and had to hang out up here in pool 8 until we could get through. But each day I’ve had about four hours to fish down there and I come back up here [8] to catch one or two more that might help me just a little bit.”
Once in his primary area in pool 9, Morgan says reading the water clarity is key, something the wonderful waters of the Tennessee taught him well.
“Some of my better places got muddy today,” he says. “So I just have to move around and find areas that are clearer. Sometimes just a slight difference in water colors makes a big difference in the number of bites I can get.”
Morgan does not hide his intentions of heading to pool 9 again tomorrow.
“Oh yeah, I’m going back, no doubt,” he says. “It’s too much fun down there not to.”

Top 10 pros
1. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 31-4 (10)
2. Bryan Schmitt – Deale, Md. – 31-0 (10)
3. Matthew Stefan – Junction City, Wis. – 30-14 (10)
4. Jeff Sprague – Point, Texas – 30-11 (10)
5. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 30-11 (10)
6. Joshua Weaver – Macon, Ga. – 30-0 (10)
7. Todd Auten – Lake Wylie, S.C. – 29-12 (10)
8. Wesley Strader – Spring City, Tenn. – 29-11 (10)
9. Matt Arey – Shelby, N.C. – 29-7 (10)
10. David Dudley – Lynchburg, Va. – 29-5 (10)

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