Decatur, Ala. – Local angler Tim Horton took the lead in the second day of the Bassmaster Southern Open presented by Busch Beer. Horton, who finished day one in third place, jumped into first Friday with a weight of 11 pounds, 1 ounce, bringing his total weight for the tournament to 23-12.

Despite holding the lead, Horton was not thrilled about the fishing on Wheeler Lake.

"It was a tougher day today," Horton said. "I got to the primary place that I was catching them and it had really slowed down. I caught my first fish about 9:15 and was really struggling. …

"I haven't had a big bite all week, and I think if I can get a 4- or 5-pound bite tomorrow I'll have a chance. The rain coming in could help as long as we don't get a lot of wind with it. If we get a lot of wind with it, it could hurt."

Horton is hardly alone on the comeback trail. Missouri's Denny Brauer, who was 24th yesterday, came back today with a weight of 13-15 to put him in second place with a total weight of 23-1. Brauer wasn't giving up much about his strategy, but he did say that the front that looks to be moving through wouldn't have much effect on his game plan for tomorrow.

"We're getting thrown with more fluctuating water than we usually do here. It's a struggle," said Brauer. "All I know is that I had a couple of really good practice days and the areas I'm fishing have some really big fish in them. It's kind of a complicated deal that I'm doing, … but it takes a certain flowage of water to do some of the things I'm doing and I think tomorrow will be my best day."

Ronnie Ray, another Alabama native, brought in enough fish today to wind up in third place with a total of 22-12. Georgia rounded out the top five with Donald Eaton (22-5) and J. Todd Tucker (21-4) in fourth and fifth respectively.

The Sunshine State's John Windham took the honors for the non-boaters today with a two-day weight of 18-6. The Floridian joined the general chorus, admitting that he struggled for every bass he brought in.

"I've had to work as hard as I can and capitalize on every bite," Windham said, "I caught six today and culled the little one. I got about a bite an hour today, maybe even longer between. I've really had to pay attention."

The field for the CITGO Bassmaster Southern Open cuts to 50 pros and 50 amateurs for tomorrow. The tournament wraps up tomorrow at Riverwalk Marina with a final weigh in at 2:45 p.m. Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. Admission is free to the public.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. In 2004, BASS will introduce the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Chevrolet Trucks, Yamaha Outboards, Mercury Marine, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Progressive Insurance, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Diamond Cut Jeans, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, and BankOne.

Associate Sponsors include Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning and G3 Boats.

Local sponsors include Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit http://www.bassmaster.com.