New Jersey's Mike Iaconelli, who was second on day one, brought in a limit of bass weighing 24-6 to claim the lead. Texan Zell Rowland moved up to second place with 23-8, a mere 10 ounces off the lead. Kevin VanDam of Michigan dropped from his Day 1 lead to a third-place tie on Friday.
Iaconelli, who used his signature "power fishing" technique all day, was pleased that his two-day weight of 48-9 helped him make Friday's field cut to the top 12.
"I'm catching staging fish (mostly) pre-spawn females," Iaconelli said. "But, the one negative thing is that I'm not getting a lot of bites, but when I get a bite, it's a big one. I'm throwing it down. I'm fishing the outside edge of a weed line. The key depth is about 8-15 feet. That's where I'm getting my bites. I'd say, by Sunday, if it starts warming up, those fish will start coming up."
Zell Rowland, who was fishing a Booyah spinnerbait, agreed that the temperatures were a big hurdle, but had a lot to say about Guntersville as a fishery.
"I'd love to be here in about a month," Rowland said. "... This lake is the best. ... When you'd throw a spinnerbait up there and it hits the water, you wouldn't turn the handle three times and one would grab it."
Missouri's Stacy King had a big day Friday as he jumped up to third spot and became the Busch Heavyweight of the day with a 28-pound, 2-ounce catch. Along with the $1,000 prize, King will have the opportunity to fish at a mystery lake Sept. 18 in the Busch Shootout tournament if his catch remains one of the top 10 heaviest from the Tour and Bassmaster Elite 50 series.
Fellow Missourian Chad Brauer (46-12) is tied with King for third with VanDam (46-5), Arkansas's George Cochran (46-1), Kentucky's Mike Auten (41-14), Texas's David Wharton (39-14), Mississippi's Paul Elias (38-14), Florida's Jim Bitter (38-9), Ohio's Charlie Hartley (37-15) and Tennessee's David Walker (37-12) joining them to make the top 12 for the third day of competition.
On the amateur side, Alabama's Philip Dukes took the lead with a two-day weight of 33-13, followed by North Carolina's Mark Lamb and Alabama's William Carter with 27-7 and 26-9 respectively.
The Purolator Big Bass of the day went to pro Dennis Kolender from Nevada, who hauled in a 9-pound, 1-ounce bass and $1,000 from Purolator. On the amateur side, Virginia's William Robinson landed a 9-10 lunker that awarded him $500 for the day puts him in contention for a $1,000 bonus if it holds out to become the Purolator Big Bass of the Tournament after Sunday's final round.
The CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Lake Guntersville will continue Saturday. Launch begins at 6:30 a.m. from the Lake Guntersville State Park. Weigh-in will be held at the State Park as well beginning at 3 p.m.
Fans can watch "The CITGO Bassmasters" telecast of the Lake Guntersville tournament on Saturday, March 6 at 10:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
The CITGO Bassmaster Tour events this season feature the highly interactive and family friendly BASS Sponsor Expo area. Sponsors present interactive exhibits and provide a fun family experience for all ages. The Expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday at Lake Guntersville State Park.
The CastingKids program, presented by CITGO will be held in conjunction with the BASS Sponsor Expo Saturday, from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Lake Guntersville State Park. Children between the ages of 7 and 14 can participate in the contest with the chance to earn a scholarship.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. This April, BASS introduces 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, Purolator, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.
Associate Sponsors include G3 Boats and Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning.
Local Sponsors include Local Sponsors include the City of Guntersville, State of Alabama Conservation Department, Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.