Daily photo by Brennen Smith|
Sam Moody of Athens hauled in a tournament-best 20 pounds, 6 ounces with a five-bass limit in Day 1 of the FLW Chevy Wildcard bass tournament on Wheeler Lake on Friday. The tournament concludes Saturday with the weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. at Ingalls Harbor.
In the mood for fishing
Athens' angler carries 7-pound lead into FLW's final day
By Paul Stackhouse
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For Sam Moody of Athens, redemption of a prior bass tournament on Wheeler Lake was on his mind when he made his first cast Friday morning in the FLW Chevy Wildcard bass tournament.
After finishing 110th in the Bassmaster Southern Open on Wheeler Lake two weeks ago, Moody put himself atop the championship chase. First place will be determined after Saturday's 3 p.m. weigh-in.
On Friday, Moody brought a five-bass limit that weighed in at 20 pounds, 6 ounces. That puts the nearby pro clearly in the lead of the two-day event. He received a thunderous applause from the hundreds in attendance when he held up four of his big bass for photographers at the tournament.
Brian Cox of Woodstock, Ga., is second with five bass at 13 pounds, 5 ounces. In third, is Michael Conley of Bainbridge, Ga., with 13 pounds, 2 ounces.
In the co-angler division, J.C. Love of Pell City hauled in the five-bass limit that weighed 10 pounds, 9 ounces. Marvin Mobley of Gulf Breeze, Fla., is second at 9 pounds, 8 ounces. Jerry Knier of Muncie, Pa., is third at 9 pounds, 6 ounces. All results can be found at flwoutdoors.com.
"While on the water, you really don't realize how big your fish are," Moody said. "I honestly thought I had about 17 pounds coming in to the weigh-in."
Moody said things are somewhat different for him in this tournament from what they were two weeks ago.
"First of all, the wind isn't blowing near as hard as it was in the Open, and I'm able to stay on the flats," Moody said. "But, I'm not catching all of my fish on the flats. As a matter of fact, I caught two of my big fish down river this morning. I'm fishing a few different patterns this time than last, and I thinking I have an advantage because I did fish in the Open. I'm sort of comfortable where I am at now, but there are a lot of good anglers here. I haven't even got to fish my big-fish spot yet. There were two boats on it today, and hopefully I'll get to fish it Saturday."
The FLW Chevy Wildcard is a no-entry fee tournament. Anglers who fished in all five of the FLW Bass Fishing League events during the year and did not qualify for any of the circuit's regional tournaments, received an invitation to fish this week.
While prize money is an incentive for entering the Wildcard, getting a chance to move on to the All-American BFL championship tournament in Connecticut in June 2008 is a major reason to participate.
The top six pro anglers and the top six co-anglers (must fish from the back of the boat) from the Wheeler Lake tournament move on to the All-American. The winner of the All-American advances to the FLW Tour Championship in August, where the winner will walk away with $1 million in cash and prizes.
In the Wildcard here, anglers have an option to enter a money pot. For the pro side, anglers who wish to fish for a chance to win money put $200 in the pot. Just how much money will be paid for finishing high up on the leaderboard will be determined Saturday.
With nearly 600 anglers fishing in the tournament, first place should be bring several thousand dollars. Moody said he entered for the money.
Tom Hill of Lexington, Ky., is another fisherman who entered the money pot. Hill brought a five-bass limit to the scales that weighed in at 11 pounds, 6 ounces.
"I'm having a real good time here," Hill said. "Sure, I want to win the tournament, but if I don't, I am certainly enjoying what is happening here.
"I'm not saying this because I'm here, but you have super nice people here and a super nice facility to hold the tournament. I can't believe how friendly the people are here to fishermen. I'm sure they treat everybody else the same, too. Lexington could learn a few things by doing what goes on here. Y'all definitely have something to be proud of."
The final weigh-in is slated to begin Saturday at 3 p.m. at Ingalls Harbor.
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