GREENVILLE, S.C. — It figures to be a tight race to the finish in the GEICO Bassmaster Classic.
Only one pound separates the top four anglers going into Sunday’s final round at Lake Hartwell as anglers vie for the $300,000 first prize.
Texas’ Takahiro Omori leads with a total of 31-pounds, 11 ounces after catching five fish weighing 16-11 on Saturday. Omori overtook first-day leader Dean Rojas, who follows closely behind at 31-9, Mike Iaconelli at 31-0 and last year’s champion Randy Howell at 30-11.
The biggest news locally was that Greg Hackney of Gonzales, the 2014 Bassmaster Angler of the Year, slid to 26th and won’t qualify for Sunday’s finale. Hackney, one of three Louisiana anglers in the field, was in eighth place after the first day but had a second-day catch of just two fish and 6-15.
Only the top 25 of the 56 anglers in the field qualified for Sunday’s final round.
Hackney said on his Bassmaster.com blog he didn’t get many opportunities Saturday.
“Out of six bites, I managed to boat four pretty good keepers,” he said. “The two I didn’t catch were ones that couldn’t be caught. The bites were light and tentative. I didn’t do anything wrong, and really, I don’t think I could have done anything different to have hooked them.”
Pierre Part’s Cliff Crochet also found the going tough as he finished in 46th place after weighing in a total of three fish for 9-14. Crochet caught one fish on Friday.
University of Louisiana at Monroe angler Brett Pruett finished 50th with a two-fish total of 7-11.
Temperatures in Greenville rose to the 40s after hitting single digits Friday, which caused the launch to be delayed by 90 minutes.
Aaron Martens had the big fish of the day at 6-11.
Martens reportedly caught his lunker near a dock, some 30 minutes away from the launch site.
The top 25 will take off at 6 a.m. CDT with the weigh-in set for 2:15 p.m.
Follow the action, including continuous live info from the lake and the live weigh-in beginning at 2:15 p.m. on www.bassmaster.com.