The heaviest bag of the day catapulted Brian LaClair of Denton, Del., on Thursday from 9th place to the top of the leaderboard in the 2010 BASS Federation Nation Championship on the Red River.
Hot on his heels was Isauro Tijerina of Guadalupe, Mexico, who said he fished jetties with a crankbait. He brought 9-8 to the scales Thursday, giving him a two-day total of 18-12, 6 ounces behind LaClair.
LaClair’s tournament day got off to a nice start when he boated the biggest bass of Day 2 — a 5-2 that netted him a $500 bonus — on his second pitch to a pole near a lock. He ended his day by adding 10-7 to his Day 1 weight of 8-11 for a two-day total of 19-2.
“I stopped and fished around that pole yesterday and the bottom felt good, so I stopped again today,” he said. “I got a bite on my first cast but missed, then on the second one, he hit it.”
After locking through, LaClair found that his primary spot produced a quick limit, leaving him the rest of the day to improve by trading larger bass for smaller ones already in the livewell.
“After 10 this morning I had a limit and was trying to cull, but it really slowed down,” he said. “Also, I didn’t catch as many fish today as I did yesterday. I only got eight today and had about 20 yesterday.”
LaClair said the fish were positioned tight to cover as the wind blew steady all day and the temperature dropped slightly. He said he relied on a spinnerbait.
In third after Day 2 was Jeff Stetler of Leesburg, N.J., with 18-6. Fourth was Day 1 leader Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, with 17-9. Fifth was Dale Hightower of Sand Springs, Okla., with 16-10.
The overall winner this week will win a fully rigged Skeeter/Yamaha boat and motor package valued at more than $60,000 and an invitation to join the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series. Anglers also are fishing for six Federation-awarded berths in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 18-20 on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans.
The top angler from each of six divisions will win a Classic seat. Alessio Telese of Italy leads the Northern Division with 12-0; George Crain of Cropwell, Ala., is in command in the Southern Division with 16-7; LaClair leads the Mid-Atlantic Division as well as the tournament with 19-02; Palaniuk leads the Western Division with 17-9, Scott Parker of Londonderry, N.H., is ahead in the Eastern Division with 11-04; and Tijerina leads the Central Division with 18-12.
Friday’s finale at Bossier City’s Red River South Marina will kick off at 3:30 p.m. CT with the Junior Bassmaster World Championship weigh-in. Twelve young anglers will bring in their catches from nearby Cross Lake after one day of fishing. The angler with the heaviest sack of fish within his age group (11-14; 15-18) will win scholarship money. The final weigh-in of the 2010 Federation Nation Championship will begin after the youth champs are named.
BASS FEDERATION NATION CHAMPIONSHIP – DAY 2 STANDINGS
2010 FEDERATION NATION CHAMPIONSHIP 10/27-10/29 Red River, Shreveport La.
(BOATER) Standings Day 2
Angler Hometown D No./lbs-oz Total $$$
1. Brian LaClair Denton, Del. (DE) M 10 19-02 $500.00
2. Isauro Tijerina Guadalupe, Mexico (MEX) C 10 18-12
3. Jeff Stetler Leesburg, N.J. (NJ) M 10 18-06
4. Brandon Palaniuk Rathdrum, Idaho (ID) W 9 17-09
5. Dale Hightower Sand Springs, Okla. (OK) C 10 16-10
6. Brian Maloney Osage Beach, Mo. (MO) C 10 16-07
7. George Crain Cropwell, Ala. (AL) S 8 16-07
8. Bill Golightly Preston, Wyo. (WY) W 10 16-00
9. Travis Tunnell Benton, Kan. (KS) C 6 14-05
10. Zachary King Clarksville, Ark. (AR) C 7 13-04 $500.00