SENECA, S.C. – Walmart FLW Tour competitors arrived to Lake Hartwell early Saturday morning only to find a thick blanket of fog that forced FLW Tournament Director Bill Taylor to delay takeoff. After approximately a three-hour delay, anglers were allowed to start day three of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Hartwell presented by Ranger Boats. Local pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., increased his lead after again bringing the largest five-bass limit of the day to the scale weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces.
Ashley’s three-day total of 52 pounds, 11 ounces gives him a commanding 9-pound, 10-ounce lead over pro Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., heading into the fourth and final day of competition in the tournament that features the world’s best bass-fishing anglers casting for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I was really worried because we had such a short day today,” said Ashley, who is seeking his first Walmart FLW Tour win. “I’m not catching a lot of fish in one place, and I’m having to move around a lot. I’ve still got some stuff that I haven’t even fished yet, just because of time. It takes some time to keep fishing how I have been, and there is just not enough time in the day, especially today.
Ashley said that he wasn’t really doing anything special, and most of his fish were still coming on a jig and a shaky-head rig. After weighing in all largemouth bass on day one and mostly spotted bass on day two, Ashley brought a mixed bag to the scale on day three consisting of two largemouth and three spots.
“I’m going to go out there tomorrow and just pound on them,” Ashley said. “If I catch them, I catch them. If I don’t, I don’t.
“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. This is the greatest feeling ever – to do well in your home state. You can’t take away from winning anywhere, but winning this close to home would mean a lot. Most of the time I have to scratch and claw to get where I’m going. Taking a 10-pound lead into the final day is new to me, but I’m ready for it.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Hartwell are:
1st: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 15 bass, 52-11
2nd: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 15 bass, 43-1
3rd: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 41-9
4th: Repel pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 40-0
5th: Ryan Davidson, Huntington, W. Va., 15 bass, 38-9
6th: John Cox, Debary, Fla., 11 bass, 35-8
7th: Charlie Ingram, Centerville, Tenn., 12 bass, 35-1
8th: George Foreman pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 13 bass, 34-4
9th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 13 bass, 34-2
10th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 13 bass, 33-12
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Stacey King, Reeds Spring, Mo., 15 bass, 32-10, $12,000
12th: Barton Aiken, Greenville, S.C., 10 bass, 31-11, $12,000
13th: Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Fla., 12 bass, 30-14, $12,000
14th: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 11 bass, 29-13, $12,000
15th: Shad Schenck, Waynetown, Ind., 11 bass, 28-14, $12,000
16th: Barry Wilson, Birmingham, Ala., 10 bass, 28-6, $12,000
17th: Walmart pro Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 11 bass, 27-1, $12,000
18th: Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia, N.C., 11 bass, 26-15, $12,000
19th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., nine bass, 26-0, $12,000
20th: Rayovac pro Jacob Wheeler, Indianapolis, Ind., 10 bass, 25-2, $12,000
Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.