Gerald Swindle Still On Top on day two at AOY at Mille Lacs Bassmaster Championship

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2016 Toyota Bassmaster AOY Championship Day Two Gerald Swindle – photo by Seigo Saito / Bassmaster

ONAMIA, Minn. — Another impressive day of hefty smallmouth astonished fans during the second round of the $1 million Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Minnesota’s famed Mille Lacs Lake.

On Thursday, the Top 50 qualifiers from the Bassmaster Elite Series produced 23 limits exceeding the 20-pound mark. Today’s field did one better by bringing 24 limits to the scales exceeding 20 pounds.

While that’s an impressive turnout yet again, the angler who catches the heaviest three-day limit of bass does not win this tournament; rather points are the key to victory this week.

Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala., held onto his Angler of the Year lead after weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces, which brought his two-day total to 25-6. He improved on Thursday’s performance, but Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, is within 28 points of Swindle in the AOY race.

Things are heating up.

Swindle again struggled to locate and catch the quality smallmouth many of the other anglers are catching with consistency.

“I’ve tried to not think about Angler of the Year, and I’ve done well at focusing on catching fish until I got to Mille Lacs,” Swindle said. “Now I know what’s on the line, and I need to perform here. It’s frustrating to see how well all the guys are doing, while it takes everything I’ve got to catch a small limit. But that’s fishing, and I’m still mad at the fish.”

Every keeper bass the Alabama angler can catch this week will help push him closer to his second AOY title and the $100,000 first-place prize. The remaining $900,000 will be handed out to the other 49 pros based on where they finished in the points. However, Swindle was hoping it wouldn’t come down to the final day.

“My heart is in the game; my mind is in the game,” said, Swindle, who won his first AOY title in 2004. “But I’m a competitor, and it doesn’t matter if a title is on the line or not, I want to win this derby. Right now, I’m not far from dead last, but I’m keeping my eye on the prize, and if the right fish will bite on Sunday, I think I’ll have a good shot at taking home AOY — a title that I have a tremendous amount of respect for.”

Seth Feider of Bloomington, Minn., took the lead in the weight category from Japanese angler Takahiro Omori with a bag of smallmouth that weighed 24-11 — the day’s heaviest limit.

The 31-year-old angler’s two-day total was pushed to 50-3, which is less than 2 pounds ahead of Matt Herren of Ashville, Ala., who weighed 24-9 for a total of 48-7.

Feider did exactly what he said he would by catching almost 25 pounds again, and he is confident he can do even better in Sunday’s final round.

“On Sunday it’s supposed to be windy, and I like the wind — it helps the bite,” Feider said. “I’m having a lot of fun, and I’m excited that we’re able to showcase how good Mille Lacs really is.”

When asked if he can repeat his performance again on Sunday, he didn’t hesitate.

“I’ve actually been saving a few of my best spots for Sunday,” he said. “Several of the fish I weighed today came from new spots. But, I’ve narrowed down the pattern, and I’m excited to get back on the water to prove it.”

After today, the unofficial Top 5 in AOY points is as follows: Swindle still in control (905 points); Combs in second (877); Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., is in third (863); Randall Tharp of Port St. Joes, Fla., is in fourth (844); and Jacob Powroznik moved into fifth (835)

Rounding out the Top 5 in weight are Brent Ehrler of Newport Beach, Calif., is in third with 46-3; Hackney is in fourth with 45-15; and Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., in fifth with 45-10.

There will be no fishing on Saturday, as Bassmaster University will take place at Grand Casino Mille Lacs beginning at 11 a.m. Bassmaster fans will have an opportunity to visit sponsor exhibits, attend angler seminars and gather autographs from their favorite pros. The event is free and open to the public.

Competition will resume on Sunday with takeoff beginning at 6:40 a.m. CT from Eddy’s Resort in Onamia, Minn. The final weigh-in will take place at Grand Casino Mille Lacs at 3:45 p.m.

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, GoPro, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Power-Pole, Rapala, Shell Rotella, Shimano, Academy Sports + Outdoors, A.R.E. Truck Caps, Carhartt

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2016 Points Report
as of 16-Sep-2016

Angler            Hometown              Points    Lbs-Oz

1     Gerald Swindle     Guntersville, AL      905    294-11
2     Keith Combs        Huntington, TX        877    290- 5
3     Greg Hackney       Gonzales, LA          863    300- 0
4     Randall Tharp      Port St. Joe, FL      844    285-13
5     Jacob Powroznik    Port Haywood, VA      835    303- 1
6     Jordan Lee         Grant, AL             827    300-14
7     Chris Zaldain      Laughlin, NV          793    282- 7
8     Ott DeFoe          Knoxville, TN         792    289- 7
9     Justin Lucas       Guntersville, AL      789    294-12
10    Edwin Evers        Talala, OK            777    289-15
11    Jason Christie     Park Hill, OK         774    279- 1
12    Drew Benton        Panama City, FL       771    279-11
13    Hank Cherry Jr     Maiden, NC            765    278- 2
14    Michael Iaconelli Pittsgrove, NJ        763    283- 6
15    Alton Jones        Lorena, TX            762    275- 9
16    Bobby Lane Jr.     Lakeland, FL          760    286- 7
17    Takahiro Omori     Emory, TX             759    274-14
18    Steve Kennedy      Auburn, AL            755    285- 0
19    Brandon Palaniuk   Rathdrum, ID          750    287- 0
20    Dean Rojas         Lake Havasu City, AZ 748    271-13
21    Matt Herren        Ashville, AL          743    278- 8
22    Aaron Martens      Leeds, AL             730    278-11
23    Brett Hite         Phoenix, AZ           729    284-10
24    James Elam         Tulsa, OK             725    275- 4
25    Bill Lowen         Brookville, IN        714    278- 1
26    Jared Lintner      Arroyo Grande, CA     714    255-10
27    Skeet Reese        Auburn, CA            698    264- 4
28    Todd Faircloth     Jasper, TX           695    259-11
29    Bradley Roy        Lancaster, KY         688    277-13
30    Jason Williamson   Wagener, SC           684    274- 6
31    Casey Ashley       Donalds, SC           684    268- 5
32    Kevin VanDam       Kalamazoo, MI         680    277-11
33    Shaw Grigsby Jr.   Gainesville, FL       680    267- 0
34    Dave Lefebre       Erie, PA              671    275-10
35    Brent Ehrler       Newport Beach, CA     670    285-15
36    Clifford Pirch     Payson, AZ            663    274-10
37    Boyd Duckett       Guntersville, AL      660    266- 1
38    Ish Monroe         Hughson, CA           658    265- 2
39    Keith Poche        Pike Road, AL         654    268-13
40    Andy Montgomery    Blacksburg, SC        650    265-15
41    Fred Roumbanis     London, AR            647    255-14
42    Tommy Biffle       Wagoner, OK           645    262- 4
43    Chris Lane         Guntersville, AL      642    278- 8
44    Randy Howell       Guntersville, AL     642    253- 0
45    Adrian Avena       Vineland, NJ          639    253-11
46    Seth Feider        Bloomington, MN       637    265-10
47    Stephen Browning   Hot Springs, AR       631    262- 3
48    Gary Klein         Weatherford, TX       627    264- 2
49    Cliff Pace         Petal, MS             627    251- 2
50    Kelly Jordon       Flint, TX             600    252- 7