Pro Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pennsylvania, caught five bass weighing 19 pounds, 9 ounces Friday to move from second into first place after Day 2 of theMLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina. Becker’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 41 pounds, 2 ounces gives him a 2-pound, 12-ounce advantage heading into Day 3 of the four-day competition that features a field of 161 bass-fishing professionals from around the world competing for a top cash award of up to $135,000.
Pro Derrick Snavely of Piney Flats, Tennessee, jumped from 15th place to 2nd with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 15 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 38 pounds, 6 ounces.
Becker managed to turn only a couple 10-minute flurries into some of the biggest bags on Lake Murray. Utilizing great timing and a schooling-fish pattern, he turned three flurries into 21 pounds, 9 ounces on Day 1, followed by just one flurry on Day 2 that helped him toward his 19-9 bag – putting him in the lead with 41-2 total.
“We survived another day, but boy was it stressful and risky,” said Becker, the 2018 Pro Circuit Rookie of the Year. “I was super lucky on my timing again where I pulled up and was able to catch four of the five I weighed in within a few minutes. Otherwise, it was a struggle.”
Becker said that flurry came at 9 a.m. but before that, he hadn’t had a bite.
“I fished that spot three times today before I caught anything,” said Becker. “I knew the fish were there, but I rotated through multiple times and never had a bite. Then I came back and they were there and they were eating. I went from zero to 14 pounds in minutes.”
Becker said he originally planned to just hit the edges of the points quickly on the first morning before moving on to bed-fishing or fishing docks, but was fortunate to get a couple bites early on Day 1 to point him in the right direction.
Although that timing has held out so far, a significant storm system is set to roll through the region early tomorrow morning, with a 100-percent chance of severe thunderstorms most of Saturday, which could change everything for Becker, as well as the other pros.
“I say we cancel tomorrow. It’s one less day I have to hang on to the lead,” laughed Becker. “I think it’s going to be really hard and it’s going to hurt my fish. The sun has been real important, and that rain is probably going to put a damper on that tomorrow. With this weather changing, it’s anyone’s game going into the weekend.”
The top 20 pros after Day 2 on Lake Murray are:
1st: Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pa., 10 bass, 41-2
2nd: Derrick Snavely of Piney Flats, Tenn., 10 bass, 38-6
3rd: Miles Howe of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 10 bass, 37-9
4th: Evan Barnes of Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 37-0
5th: Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 10 bass, 35-9
6th: Tommy Dickerson of Orange, Texas, 10 bass, 34-15
7th: Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 34-14
8th: Clabion Johns of Social Circle, Ga., 10 bass, 34-9
9th: Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wisc., 10 bass, 34-9
10th: Adrian Avena of Vineland, N.J., 10 bass, 33-13
11th: Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., 10 bass, 33-10
12th: Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas, 10 bass, 33-5
13th: Jamie Horton of Centerville, Ala., 10 bass, 33-4
14th: David Williams of Maiden, N.C., 10 bass, 33-3
15th: Josh Butler of Hayden, Ala., 10 bass, 32-14
16th: Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 32-11
17th: Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Del., 10 bass, 32-10
18th: Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 32-5
19th: Mitch Crane of Columbus, Miss., 10 bass, 32-4
20th: Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., 10 bass, 32-1
For a full list of results and to see the top 50 anglers that will continue to Day 3, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, won the day’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award bringing a largemouth weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces to the scale.
Overall, there were 744 bass weighing 1,983 pounds even caught by 160 pros Friday. The catch included 133 five-bass limits.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray is hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 161 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros will continue the competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday from Dreher Island State Park, located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park daily at 3 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 25 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-ins will be streamed daily and fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday, April 24-25 on MLF NOW! beginning at 7 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.