GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Tornado warnings and severe weather continued to threaten the competition as 105 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series anglers and their co-anglers battled on Lake Guntersville during Day 2 of the Elite Series’ Southern Challenge presented Berkley. Anglers blasted off at 6 a.m. with threats of rain, hail and lightening pushing the weigh-in indoors at the Guntersville High School auditorium. At the end of the day, Alton Jones emerged as the leader with a five-fish limit of 20 pounds, 12 ounces, boosting his two-day total to 41-7 and giving him a two-pound cushion over four-time CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier Todd Faircloth with 39-7.

Their performance, as well as the other 103 Elite anglers will be featured on ESPN2’s The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, April 29, at 10 a.m. ET.

Jones, ranked 52nd on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index catching an average of 21-8, was satisfied with his performance, but was miffed after losing a six-pounder.

“I had a chance for a substantially larger sack,” said the Waco, Texas, resident. “I lost a big fish, but I’ll hopefully get her tomorrow.”

Jones stayed tight to pathways, drains and ditches that he described as “specific lead lines away from where bass spawn.” He fished along one stretch that had consistently replenished itself, he reported.

2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Michael Iaconelli delivered one of the biggest jumps in the standings, moving from 22nd place on Day 1 to third place on Friday. He earned the BUSCH Heavyweight Bag of the Day with his 22-1 sack and brought his total weight to 38-13.

“It hopefully will keep me in the top 10,” said Iaconelli, ranked third on the Bassmaster Power Index with an average weight of 36-13.

“I fished something different today. The weather was more conducive to the pattern I fish. I’m going after post-spawn fish that are deeper. This morning, it was raining, lightening and stormy. I fished my plan ‘B’ and it paid off. I love this lake, love grass, and that sets me up for a good tournament.”

Day 1 co-leader Denny Brauer fell to eighth on Friday, weighing in five fish for 14 pounds, 4 ounces and totaling 34-15.

“I’m covering a lot of water like yesterday, but I’m going to all new water. It has been extremely miserable fishing. Today I had seven bites and boated five of them. I’m going to all new water tomorrow and will gamble. I know what to look for and I’m moving fast.”

Brauer primarily fished a Strike King Pro Model black and blue jig, keying in on any type of wood including boat docks, stumps and trees.

Bringing up the rear of the 50-angler field that will fish on Saturday was 2005 Toyota Rookie of the Year Dave Wolak of Warrior Run, Pa., with a two-day total of 27 pounds.

“I’ve been on the bubble before, but I’ve never had this happen,” said a stunned Wolak about his 50th place finish. “I was in 38th, and then looked again and I was in 50th. I’m definitely excited and happy about fishing tomorrow.”

The Elite Series field will be cut to the Elite 12 on for Sunday’s final competition day and weigh-in.

On the co-angler side, Hadley Coan of Huntsville, Ala. remained in the lead with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 9 ounces. Nipping at his heels was Wetumpka, Ala. resident Michael Hearn with 21-4; Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala. with 20-6; Will Cranston of N. Little Rock, Ark., with 19-8; and Robert Mullins of Vinton, Va. and Matt Carter of Owens Cross Roads, tied with 18-11.

Day 3 of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series concludes the co-angler tournament, where the winner will take home a Triton boat and Mercury outboard package worth $45,000.

Local Sponsors: Local sponsors include Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce and the City of Guntersville.

CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series sponsors: Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advanced Auto Parts and Theraseed®.

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BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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