Ever had one of those good dreams where you try to go back to sleep to keep it going? Bassmaster Pro Ish Monroe lived a dream on Thursday and on Friday he went back and it got even better.
Monroe took a whopping 8 pound lead after the first day of the Bassmaster Elite Series Power-Pole Slam on Lake Okeechobee, Florida on Thursday and on Friday extended that lead to almost 14 pounds. Monroe of weighed in 24-15 Friday to add to his first-day sack of 34-5 for a two-day total of 59-4.
Monroe’s nearest challenger, defending Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane, is 13 pounds, 11 ounces back.
Monroe says he isn’t counting his chickens before they hatch with two tournament days remaining.
“I want a 40-pound lead to be comfortable,” he said Friday evening. “Anything can happen tomorrow.”
In third with 41-3, Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., trailed Monroe by 18-1. Fourth place was taken by 2009 Classic winner Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., with 39-14. Fifth was held by Lakeland, Fla., Elite rookie Kyle Fox, who had 38-5. In sixth place was Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, who was the runner-up at the Elite event last week on Florida’s St. Johns River.
The field was cut to the Top 50 for Saturday’s competition. On Sunday, only the Top 12 will battle for the first prize of $100,000 and an instant qualification for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. All pros are vying for points that count toward a Classic berth, postseason entry and the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Monroe’s 13-11 lead over Lane surpassed the 12-1 record for a Day 2 Elite lead set in 2006 by Mike McClelland on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. It was Monroe’s second record in as many days: Thursday, his 8-12 lead broke a four-year Elite record for the Day 1 margin by a leader. The old Day 1 record, set by Aaron Martens, was 6-4.
After catching big fish almost consecutively Thursday, Monroe had to work harder Friday, moving through a lot of smaller fish between the larger bites. His biggest bass of the day was a 6-15, backed up by mostly 4-pounders.
“I missed another good one, but that lets me know that with the wind blowing the way it is, it’s going to give me more water,” he said. The wind was blowing out of the west, pushing enough water so he can venture farther back into his area without worrying about getting stuck.
He’s flipping his way inside high vegetation, working slowly. Like Thursday, he used the Missile D Bomb, but said he switched to another bait when the wind died down. He was working a stretch about 1/4 mile long.
“But there’s three miles of shoreline in that general area,” he said. “I’m going to have to expand (into it) a little bit tomorrow, because I kind of put the hurt on the area I’ve been fishing the first two days. But there’s lots of water there — lots of places for fish to be.”
Lane said he missed a pair of 6-pounders Friday that would have helped his case against Monroe.
“But with the way I’m fishing, I have to expect I’ll miss a couple a day,” he said. “I’ll just have to keep putting 23 or 24 on the board and see where we end up.”