Okeechobee, Fla. – The rest of the tournament field will need their track shoes for Saturday’s final round of the 2005 CITGO Southern Open on Lake Okeechobee because Tim Horton is running away with it!

The young Alabama pro followed Thursday’s first-place catch of 33-pounds, 10-ounces with another big five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 10 ounces. With a two-day total of 59 pounds, four ounces, Horton is not only threatening to leave his competition far behind, but he’s on a pace to shatter the BASS record for a three-day tournament presently held by Byron Velvick of “The Bachelor.”

If Horton can come to the scales with a little more than 24 pounds on Saturday – something he’s managed on each of the tournament’s first two days – he’ll rewrite the BASS record books and eclipse Byron Velvick’s 2000 performance on Clear Lake in California. That’s when Velvick brought in three 5-bass limits weighing 83 pounds, five ounces.

If Horton brings in at least 15 and a half pounds on Saturday, his catch for the tournament will still rank among the five best in BASS history.

Hardly hot on Horton’s heels is 2004 CITGO Rookie of the Year Greg Hackney of Gonzalez, La. Hackney’s Day Two limit of Okeechobee lunkers weighed 26 pounds, 13 ounces, moving him up from fourth place and into second.

Horton and Hackney are fishing similar patterns and in very close proximity to each other. Horton is pitching a 4-inch Yum Vibra King tube to grass beds in three to five feet of water.

Hackney is pitching and flipping a dark creature bait to similar grass beds in the same depth and says that he can “reach Tim’s boat with a cast.”

“My fish are staging both before and after they’re spawning,” Hackney said. “I’m targeting females, some of which are about to spawn and some that have just spawned.”

In the heavy vegetation, Hackney is using stout tackle, a G.Loomis flipping rod and a reel spooled with 65-pound test SpiderWire Stealth line. He needs the heavy line to rip through the grass and pull in the big bass that are eating his creature baits, including an eight-pound, four-ounce bass that struck today.

The Purolator Big Bass of Day Two belonged to Charlie Younger of Oviedo, Fla., who brought an eight-pound, sever-ouncer to the stage. In addition to Hackney’s eight pounder, Tim Horton caught another eight pound fish today to go with his Day One Purolator Big Bass that was an ounce shy of nine pounds.

Tennessee’s David Walker remains in third place with a total of 45 pounds, four ounces, while Florida’s Steve Naas jumped from 43rd place all the way to fourth with a Day Two limit weighing 22 pounds. Another Florida angler, Chris Lane, rounds out the top five with 31 pounds, four ounces.

After a day of cloud cover and mild temperatures, the Sunshine State lived up to its name on Day Two with nary a cloud in sight for the entire tournament day. This was more conducive to the precise presentations of the flippers and pitchers who were expected to do well on Okeechobee’s clear, dark waters and made their presence felt today at the weigh-in.

One angler who wasn’t flipping and pitching was Day One’s second place angler, Brannon Jones of Alabama, who managed only one small bass under the bright skies of Day Two and fell to 15th place with a total of 25 pounds, seven ounces.

On the non-boater side, Alabama’s Don Carpenter switched places with Florida’s Todd Wagman to take over the top spot with a total of 22 pounds, four ounces. Wagman is just two ounces back.

There was a tie for Purolator Big Bass on the non-boater side between John Wells, IV of Tennessee and Alabama’s Donnie Dodd. They each caught a lunker weighing six pounds, three ounces.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, which includes the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 series, 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 Southern Open include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Toyota, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, and Bass Pro Shops.

Local Sponsors include Okeechobee County Tourist Development.

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