MANY, La. – Wind gusts of up to 20 mph Friday made fishing difficult for the anglers in the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship presented by Busch Beer. Of the 80 boats that went out onto Toledo Bend Reservoir, only 12 managed to bring in a five-fish limit for day two.

One of those boats carried Missouri's Rick Clunn, whose two-day weight of 30 pounds, 3 ounces put him at the top of the field, followed closely by Jack Wade from Tennessee (29-1) and day one leader Stephen Browning from Arkansas (28-14).

"If you get in the creeks, you're fine," Clunn said. "The main lake is pretty bad, but these other creeks run east and west, so you've got protection in there. If the wind blows tomorrow, that will be the key. If the wind dies, then it will get tough.

"A lot of guys sometimes curse the wind but you've got to realize the wind will keep the fish biting."

Wade had some difficulties, but persistence paid off, and with a possible berth to the CITGO Bassmaster Classic on the line, he was determined to stay focused.

"It's going to be cold in the morning," he said. "My fish are biting at 10 to 12 (o'clock) and I'm catching them off the edge of hydrillas. It's on points in about 3 feet of water …

"Anything can happen," Wade added. "I mean, it's grueling out there, rough. I mean, I was just thankful to get back and catch what I caught."

Missouri's Stacey King (27-13) and Texas's Gary Klein (27-12) completed the top five for day two.

On the non-boater side, Ken Brodeur from Connecticut kept the top spot. Brodeur was excited about the chance he has to be the first Open series non- boater champion.

"I am very excited to be leading," Brodeur said. "I came here to try to get into the top five, and try to get my entry fees paid for for next year. That would really help me out. Now there is a strong possibility it will happen."

Blaine Ruddy from Arizona and Christopher Oeser from New Jersey also made the top three on the non-boater side with weights of 18-0 and 16-9 respectively.

Saturday, the field cuts to 12 boats and then to the "Super Six" for Sunday.

Day three of the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship presented by Busch Beer continues Friday. Take-off is daily at Cypress Bend Park. Weigh-ins begin at 3:00 p.m. each day.

The CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship presented by Busch Beer will be telecast on ESPN2, Jan. 3, 2004.

A CastingKids event will be held Saturday at the Cypress Bend Park from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Kids between the ages of 7-14 are invited to come participate in the scholarship competition. Louisiana BASS Federation members will be on hand to teach children to flip, pitch and cast a hookless lure.

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 the State of Louisiana and the Sabine River Authority.

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