‘Bama and Florida Pros Battle For Eufaula Lead

EUFAULA, Ala. – The high winds that roughed up Lake Eufaula on Thursday faded Friday, but Ryan Ingram didn’t.

With a Day 2 catch of 11-14, the Phenix City, Ala., pro kept a strong grip on the lead in the fourth event of the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Southern Tour. With a two-day total catch of 28-15, Ingram is more than 3 pounds ahead of CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series angler Terry Scroggins of Palatka, Fla.

Ingram, who has fished Eufaula “all my life,” said Friday’s conditions were tougher than Thursday’s. “With the rising water, I had trouble finding fish,” he said.

“I threw a Ledgebuster yellow-and-white spinnerbait, same as I did yesterday, and then a crankbait — and then everything else in the boat. But I couldn’t get them to bite like I did yesterday.”

Scroggins, who will be participating in next week’s Bassmaster Major (Bassmaster Memorial; May 18-21; Fort Worth, Texas), brought 14-5 to the scales Friday, building on his first-day catch of 11-1. He partially attributed his better Day 2 catch to “luck and sunny skies.”

“I was able to get to areas today I couldn’t get to yesterday because of the windy conditions,” said Scroggins, who currently is the eighth-ranked angler on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index.

He said his largest catch of the day, a 4-4, went for a 4-inch, redbug-color Zoom Finesse Worm.

“The lake is tough right now,” added the Elite pro, who said he fishes Southern Tour events because they help him stay focused.

Hot on Scroggins’ tail was Mike Cox of Huntsville, Ala., whose 24-13 earned him third place. John Cox of DeBary, Fla., was in fourth with 23-2. Going into the final day in fifth was yet another Alabama angler, Nicholas Turner of Jones, with 22-4.

The field was cut to the top 50 for competition on Saturday, the final day of the Tour event.

The pro who wins gets up to $30,000 in cash plus a fully rigged Triton boat valued at $45,000. Besides the cash and merchandise prizes, Southern Tour pros can earn points toward CITGO Bassmaster Classic berths and qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Their last chance on the five-event 2006 Southern Tour will be Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., Sept. 7-9. Anglers also can fish the CITGO Bassmaster Northern Tour, which kicks off June 22-24 on Kentucky Lake in Kentucky Dam Village.

Florida pro Chris Daniels earned a $1,000 premium for bringing in the Purolator Big Bass of the Day. He said the 6-9 lunker fell for a shad-colored Norman DD-22 in about 12 feet of water on a brushpile. On the co-angler side, Bradley Dortch of Bay Minette, Ala., weighed in a 5-4 for the Purolator Big Bass of the day and a $400 premium.

Co-angler Mark Richard of Louisiana held on to his Day 1 lead, inching closer to driving home the first-place prize of a Triton boat package valued at $30,000. His 12-13 two-day total bested Tony Jackson of South Carolina, 11-3; Danny Lamie of Virginia, 10-8; Bill Logsdon of Alabama with 10-3; and Kenneth Harris of Louisiana with 10-2.

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