Posted by Edward D. Bohn from 126.96.36.199 on April 28, 2001 at 09:49:12:
By Tim Hipps
FOR THE JACKSON SUN
MOBILE, Ala. -- Michael Holt overcame a few followers Friday to maintain his lead after two rounds of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society's Federation Championship on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
Holt, 43, of Lexington, Tenn., caught his limit of five bass that weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces along the banks of Lake Mifflin, giving him a two-day total of 10 fish weighing 19-11.
"I would love to go down in the record books of B.A.S.S.," said Holt, who won this tournament in 1993 at Pine Bluff, Ark., and has a shot at becoming the first two-time winner. "The money is not as important as wanting to win this two times. I'm a poor working man who has to buy all my stuff and I could use some money, but honestly, that's how I feel. I just want to win this thing twice."
Jim Johnson, 30, of Lacrosse, Wisc., moved into second place by catching five bass that weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 15-2. He moved from an eighth-place tie after Day 1 into the runner-up spot entering the final day of the tournament.
The field of 51 fishermen here represent 46 states, Ontario, Canada, and national champions from Japan, South Africa and Italy. They are divided into five geographical divisions for the sake of qualifying five anglers for the BASS Masters Classic Aug. 2-4 in New Orleans.
Holt (Southern) and Johnson (Northern) are joined by regional leaders Marco Rodriguez of Nyssa, Ore. (Western), Pete Ponds of Madison, Miss. (Central) and Harry Charcalis of Gilmanton, N.H. (Eastern).
"I went straight to my same spot as yesterday," Holt said. "And I had a lot of other competitors move in on me today, which I really didn't appreciate.
"I guess the bid for the Classic spot is pushing them, but that's still not very ethical in my book. I hollered at a few, but it didn't seem to matter to them."
Holt also had to contend with some local fishermen who weren't entered in the tournament.
"They must be having a perchathon or something back there, because 20 or 30 perchjerkers were running in and running out all day," he said. "I was fishing around them because they wouldn't move for me. They didn't care. They were yelling: 'I've got to pee, so you better turn the cameras off.'
"They're fishing for perch and I'm fishing for a national title and some money. But they didn't back up an inch. A couple of guys had an old, squeaky seat in the back and I told him they needed to oil that thing. The guy in the back seemed friendly about it, but the guy up front seemed angry."¶
Donald Cooper, 29, of Belmont, N.C., moved from sixth to third place Friday with five bass that weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 15 pounds. Rodriguez is fourth at 14-1, followed by Ricky Layton (12-1) of Macon, Ga.
Holt caught his limit of five bass Thursday that weighed 11 pounds, 12 ounces, including a 3-pound, 13-ounce largemouth _ the biggest catch of opening day.
"I would really like to win this because it would be a record-book thing," he reiterated. "Nobody's ever won a national twice, and that's really driving me. I remember winning the other one like it was yesterday.
"I had a limit by 10 o'clock this morning, and I culled the rest of the day. I probably had 12 or 15 keepers and about eight or 10 small bass."
Then there were two that got away.
"Those two son-of-a-gun bass," Holt said. "That really hurt. And I know I won't catch them [Friday] because one has a jig stuck in his head and the other one's pinned shut with a crankbait, so there's no way I'll catch them unless I snag 'em.
"I know a lot of people saw me today, and I'm sure they're going to swarm me. I'll just have to out-fish them."
The swarmers came on Friday, and Holt out-fished them again. The tourney concludes Saturday, with the final weigh-in set for 2:30 p.m. at Mobile Convention Center.
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