ESCANABA, Mich. Despite livewell problems that cost him three fish and 1 ½ pounds of weight, Michigan's Brandon Rose moved into the lead position of the BASS Federation Nation Northern Divisional on Lake Michigan's Little Bay de Noc.
"The livewell got too full, I think, and it didn't let the aerator work properly," Rose said. "It was running the whole time, but we had 10 big fish in there."
Even with the penalty, Rose pushed his two-day total to 40-12 to take an almost 5-pound lead with only one day of competition remaining.
His fish came from the same area from which he pulled five bass weighing 22-8 yesterday, but Rose did have to make an adjustment.
"I changed my baits up a little bit: Instead of tube-baiting, I drop-shotted a little more," he explained.
Wind chopped up the lake, and some anglers stayed closer to the launch because of the rough seas, but Rose said the stiff breeze really helped him.
"It's actually better when the wind blows," Rose said. "When the wind blows they come up a little shallower. When the wind's blowing, they feel a little safer."
Rose said he wasn't planning any big changes tomorrow, heading right back to a three-mile stretch that has produced all 10 fished brought to the scale thus far.
"I think they're going to still be there tomorrow," he said. "I'm going to go back and keep wearing them out."
The only challenge is to find which of the three primary spots within that stretch is holding bass.
"The fish move around a little bit, and you just have to find them and sit there and get them," Rose said.
Rounding out the top five after the second day were Wes Haney of Wisconsin (36-15), Wisconsin's Mike Mattis (35-0), South Dakota's Shane Cowan (34-9) and Ron Cherkas of Iowa (34-7).
In addition to the overall individual competition, anglers also are competing for first place on their respective state teams. There are eight states in the division, and the top angler from each state team moves on to the BASS Federation Nation National Championship to be held in October on Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes.
Joining Rose as team leaders were Illinois' Kevin Rebouche (27-8), Indiana's Brian Hensley (28-3), Iowa's Cherkas, Minnesota's Randy Wieczorek (33-9), Ohio's Phillip Rummel (31-8), South Dakota's Shane Cowan (34-9) and Wisconsin's Haney.
In the team competition, for which bragging rights and a $30,000 Skeeter/Yamaha rig is at stake, Michigan moved from second to first with a total of 297-12, while defending team champion Wisconsin slipped to second with 290-4.
In third is South Dakota with 255-3, followed by Ohio with 252-6 and Iowa with 237-8
Minnesota was in sixth with 225-14, and Illinois (222-5) and Indiana (161-11) rounded out the list.
The Northern Divisional CastingKids competition also was held today, with nine youngsters vying for berths in the national championship to be held during the Federation Nation National Championship in October.
Nathan Hiser of Ohio won the senior division with a score of 130 points, while Illinois' Dalton Fox earned top honors in the junior division by scoring 120 points. Hiser and Fox will compete in the national championship.
The BASS Federation Nation Northern Divisional wraps up tomorrow, with weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. EST at Escanaba Harbor.