DAYTON, Tenn.– Rookie pro Casey Martin of New Hope, Ala.
, maintained his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga presented by Chevy
Saturday by bringing a five-bass limit to the scales that weighed 23 pounds, 3 ounces. Martin’s three-day total of 15 bass for 73-2 gives him a substantial lead over hard-charging local Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn.
, who brought five bass to the scales weighing 22-8. Neal’s three-day total of 62-12 puts him 10 pounds, 6 ounces shy of Martin heading into the final day of competition in the tournament that features the world’s best bass-fishing anglers competing for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“They’re getting real hard to catch,” said Martin, whose only previous top-10 finish as a pro on the FLW Tour came at Lake Okeechobee in the first event of this season. “I think that the fish are getting used to what I’ve been giving them. I’m still seeing them on my graph – they’re still there. It’s getting tougher to make them bite.”
Martin returned to his big school of bass that he has fished all week on Saturday, but was forced to switch to a spinning rod after a tough morning.
“The big switch for me was moving to the drop-shot rig,” Martin said. “That seemed to be what they wanted today.”
Martin said his drop-shot rig consisted of a green pumpkin-colored Roboworm on 10-pound-test Seaguar Invizx line. He said that four of his fish that he weighed in came via the drop-shot rig, including his 7-pound kicker bass. He also weighed in one bass on a Picasso School-E-Rig, which he threw rigged with Gene Larew Sweet Swimmers and Strike King Shadalicious swimbaits.
“I don’t have a whole lot else to go with,” Martin continued. “Tomorrow, I might stay there all day and end up going down with them. I’ve got one other spot that I can hit intermittently, but I’m going to stick with the school that got me here.
“Two things can happen to me tomorrow. Either I am going to win, or I’m not. That’s it. I’m not going to change up and go look to catch 10 pounds on the docks. I’m going to have a lot of different gear tied on tomorrow, and I’m shooting for the win.”
Martin is the star of FLW’s Internet reality show “Circuit Breaker” which can be viewed at FLW’s YouTube channel. “Circuit Breaker” follows Martin at every FLW Tour stop and documents the rookie’s ups and downs during his first season fishing the FLW Tour.
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Chickamauga are:
1st: Casey Martin, New Hope, Ala., 15 bass, 73-2
2nd: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 62-12
3rd: Walmart pro Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 15 bass, 58-4
4th: M&M’s pro Jim Moynagh, Carver, Minn., 15 bass, 55-15
5th: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 15 bass, 55-5
6th: Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 15 bass, 54-0
7th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 54-0
8th: Chevy pro Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 15 bass, 53-13
9th: Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, S.C., 15 bass, 53-3
10th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, 15 bass, 52-13
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 15 bass, 52-10, $11,837
12th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 51-12, $11,837
13th: Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas, 15 bass, 51-5, $11,837
14th: Ken Golub, Pittsford, N.Y., 15 bass, 51-2, $11,837
15th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 50-2, $11,837
16th: Rayovac pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 15 bass, 49-12, $11,360
17th: Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 49-12, $11,360
18th: John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., 15 bass, 49-11, $11,360
19th: Ray Meredith, Smiths Grove, Ky., 13 bass, 43-8, $11,360
20th: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 43-1, $11,360
Overall there were 98 bass weighing 327 pounds, 14 ounces caught by pros Saturday. The catch included 19 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River. Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC when “FLW” airs Sept. 29 from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET.
Jerry Reagan of Byrdstown, Tenn., won the co-angler division and $25,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 46 pounds, 12 ounces, followed by Kenny Beale Jr. of Blairs, Va., in second place with 12 bass weighing 38 pounds, 13 ounces worth $7,134.