By TJ Maglio
June 23, 2012
LaCrosse, WI – Life is good for the Yamamoto Elite Series pros after day two of the River Rumble on the Mississippi River in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Todd Faircloth is leading the event, Steve Kennedy and Randy Howell are neck and neck inside the top 12 cutoff at 10th and 11th, and veteran pros Takahiro Omori and Bernie Shultz are also well inside striking range in 24th and 38th respectively.
Faircloth was already inside the top 10 (8th with 15-0) going into day two and jumped into the lead today; bringing in the second heaviest stringer of the tournament at 17-14. His catch was anchored by a 5-03 brute that is the heaviest fish yet brought to the scales. Today’s catch has him at 32-14 overall for the tournament, twelve ounces ahead of second place Terry Butcher.
Both Kennedy and Howell also made big jumps today; however theirs was from the middle of the pack and they each weighed stringers over 15lbs on day two which put them just an ounce apart (28-15 for Kennedy and 28-14 for Howell) and only about four pounds behind Faircloth.
Omori and Schultz actually suffered the opposite fate as each brought in slightly lighter bags on day two after they both weighed over 14lbs on day one. Despite the lighter bags today, both Omori and Schultz are also still within striking range of the top-12 cut, with Omori only 1-12 back with 26-15 total and Schultz only 2-7 out of 12th with 26-4.
So far, the event has the makings of one of the tightest races in Elite Series history, with less than 8 pounds separating the leader from the last angler to make the cut, Dustin Wilks with 25-8.
“The name of the game is locating those bigger bites, and I was able to get a few today.” said Faircloth about his day. He was able to assemble most of his weight relatively early and even broadened his area in the afternoon as he worked his way through approximately 15 keepers.
About what tomorrow holds, Faircloth thinks he has plenty of stuff to fish, and isn’t at all concerned about catching numbers, but only whether he will be able to generate a couple more four pound classfish, saying, “I know I’m around them, so I’ll just go out there and fish hard, and we’ll see what happens.”
Another big day from any of the Yamamoto staffers tomorrow and there could be an unprecedentedfive GYCB anglers in the top-12 going into Sunday.