By David Jones
CECIL COUNTY, Md. — Dave Mansue of Robbinsville N.J., took the lead with a two-day total of 36 pounds, 9 ounces in the season-opening event of the 2009 Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Oakley on Chesapeake Bay. Mansue boated 17 pounds Friday and is in position to notch his first BASS title.
Mansue was working a slow-moving, bottom bait — but would not say what — along hard bottom near Havre de Grace, Md. Mansue says the winds helped to slow the current through his area, making his technique more effective.
“The wind kept the tide in, which helped a lot, but the fact that I got bit early was even better,” said Mansue. “It kind of died off later as the tide got lower and lower. I’ll need that (slow tide) again tomorrow to do as well. If not, I think I’ve got a solid backup plan, though.”
Day 1 leader Frank Scalish of Cleveland, Ohio, fell to second after bringing four fish to the scales weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces upgrading his two-day total to 34 pounds. In third was Rodney Sorrell of Stokesdale, N.C., with a two-day total of 27-10. Sorrell won the 2006 Bassmaster Northern Tour Event on Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kotaro Kiriyama of Moody, Ala., vaulted to fourth with a 27-9 total. Day 1 runner-up Curtis Richardson of Belleville, Canada banked on cooler weather and a hotter smallmouth bite to keep his momentum going Friday, but warmer weather turned the largemouth bite on, leaving him just two brown bass to fall to fifth with 26-11.
A pair of Bassmaster Elite Series pros fished their way into the top 20: Jeremy Starks of Charleston, W.Va., (11th) and Mike Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., (15th).
At stake for the pro anglers is over $45,00 cash and valuable points toward a berth in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic February 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala. After Friday’s weigh-in, the field was cut to the top 30 pros and co-anglers, who will compete on Saturday’s final day of competition.
Leader Mansue said the one thing he was missing from Friday’s performance was a solid kicker fish.
“That would’ve given me a little more breathing room,” he said. “I had a five-pound-class fish on today, but lost it at the boat. I can’t have that happen tomorrow. A slow current would help, too.”
Scalish was more disappointed in his Friday’s performance.
“I’m in a good area, but I just can’t get them to bite, it was definitely slower today,” he said. “Early on, my fifth fish got off and I about lost it.”
Scalish was more open about his technique after Day 2 because the field will be reduced in size for Saturday’s final day.
“I was working isolated rock piles in newly formed grass with a BOOYAH Pro Finesse Boo Bug Jig and a green pumpkin 5/8-ounce Jewel Football head jig with a green pumpkin chunk trailer.”
Richardson plans to attack Saturday much the same way he did today.
“My plan kind of fell apart. The smallmouth weren’t biting today like they should’ve,” said Richardson. “The warmer weather brought the largemouth to life.”
Lyle Atkins of Culloden W.Va., claimed the biggest bass of the day, a largemouth weighing 6-pounds, 2-ounces.
Despite zeroing on Day 2, Ed Guidon of Bethlehem, Pa., now shares the co-angler division lead with David Kovack of Lancaster, Pa., with a two-day total of 16 pounds. Kovack, who was in fifth place after the first day, bagged 5 pound, 13 ounces Friday.
Co-anglers will compete in the Opens for the top prize of a Triton/Mercury boat package valued at $32,000.
Fans are invited to the Open’s final takeoff and weigh-in on Saturday at Anchor Boats Marina, 36 Iroquois Drive, North East, Md. Anglers will launch their boats at 6:15 a.m. ET and the weigh-ins are scheduled to begin at 2:20 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public. Fishing fans can also follow the action on Bassmaster.com with live, streaming video of the weigh-ins, photo galleries and more.
The next stop in the three-tournament Northern Open division is the Aug. 20-22 event on Lake Champlain out of Plattsburgh, N.Y.
The Cecil County Office of Economic Development & Tourism is the tournament host.
Official Sponsors of the 2009 Bassmaster Opens: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Marine.
Supporting Sponsors of the 2009 Bassmaster Opens: Bass Pro Shops, Triton Boats.
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