When Jennifer Carden saw her husband, Coby, in second place overall after Wednesday’s weigh-in, she just couldn’t stay at home in Calera, Ala. So at 5:30 Thursday morning, she packed up their kids and drove to Dandridge, Tenn., with Coby’s dad, Edwin, to surprise Coby at the weigh-in.

It was a good choice, too, because she got to see Coby take a strong lead in the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional on Douglas Lake.

“It means a lot to me that they’re here,” said Coby, emotional after taking the lead surrounded by his family. “I was very pleasantly surprised.”

Coby Carden ended Thursday with 34 pounds, 12 ounces, nearly 4 pounds ahead of second place Drew Sadler of Kentucky.

“I fished the same water I did yesterday,” explained Carden, referring to the 17-4 bag he brought in on Day One. “Today, it was more crowded in the area, though, and the fish seem to have gotten a little smaller.”

So midday, Carden moved from the shallow area he was fishing — in water 3 feet or less — to water that was 18 to 19 feet deep. There, he culled up four fish from the limit he had already gotten and gathered a bag of 17 pounds, 8 ounces.

Carden, a member of the LA Po Boys club in the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation, said he hasn’t decided yet whether to fish deep or shallow on the final day of the tournament.

Carden leads his state team with 34-12 by nearly 7 pounds. If he maintains his state lead on the final day, he’ll be invited to fish the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark., Oct. 24-26. Other state leaders will join him there as well. Currently in the lead for their state are David Boyd, Florida, 30-15; Chris Blair, Georgia, 26-11; Drew Sadler, Kentucky, 31-1; Cory Leonard, North Carolina, 29-10; John Proctor, South Carolina, 24-4; and Eric Silverstrim, Tennessee, 21-11.

In the team competition, Alabama leads for the second day in a row with a cumulative weight of 273 pounds, 9 ounces. Behind Alabama are North Carolina with 232-4 and Georgia with 229-6.

Derick Leppin of Tennessee caught the day’s biggest bass, a 6-4, which could go on to earn Carhartt Big Bass honors if the weight holds up Friday. Leppin’s boat partner, Tony Beck of Georgia, caught the same fish five hours earlier, but it broke off at the boat. “It still had my lure in its mouth when Derick caught it,” said Beck.

Competition in the Southern Divisional resumes Friday, with the launch at 6:30 a.m. ET at The Point Resort in Dandridge and the weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. ET in the same location. The weigh-in will be streamed live on Bassmaster.com. In addition, anglers in the Junior Bassmaster Southern Divisional will fish Friday in a one-day competition, and they will cross the same stage with their adult counterparts.

Image courtesy Bassmaster

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