With one day remaining, Georgia pro Will Harkins looks to close out NPFL Victory on Showdown Saturday.
Story by Justin Brouillard | Photos by Tanner & Travis Lyons
After a strong start with 16 pounds and 9 ounces on day one, Will Harkins continued his consistency on Logan Martin adding 16 pounds and 13 ounces to his tally on day two. With a two-day total of 33 pounds and 6 ounces, Harkins takes a 2-pound, 9-ounce lead into Showdown Saturday.
Fishing on day one with an open mind and covering over 40 different areas, Harkins backed up his efforts today and caught another eight keepers, but is concerned that added pressure on the lake might make things interesting for the final day.
“There is a lot of pressure on those types of areas and lots of locals watching and fishing,” he said. The other thing is they might not be pulling as much water tomorrow, and that also concerns me.”
Harkins is fishing free and exploring new waters and is looking for specific shorelines while driving down the river. Once he picks it out, he makes quick work of fishing before moving to the next.
“More of the same for me out there,” he added. “The key is more about the contours than it is the structure. I am stopping on whatever looks good, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Regardless of what happens, Harkins has been in this position in the NPFL before and knows if it’s his time, there will be nothing he could do wrong.
“Whatever God has for a plan is what will happen. If it is my time, I won’t be able to do anything wrong out there; regardless, it will be a good day.”
“On day two, David Williams had a significant catch, adding 16 pounds and 3 ounces to his day one weight of 14 pounds and 10 ounces. With a total of 30 pounds and 13 ounces, he secures the second-place spot going into the final day.
Williams recognizes the importance of landing substantial catches on Logan Martin and successfully capitalized on some larger bass on day two. He initiated his morning in familiar waters but opted to switch locations due to increased pressure.
“I think I can catch some fish tomorrow, but you need to get fortunate and hook a bigger one,” he said. “When I left my primary area this morning, I went to where I caught the 5-pounder on day one, and culled out my other smaller fish.”
Williams predominantly caught his bass on a reaction-style bait and switched to a jig when he slowed down.”
With a total weight of 30 pounds and 6 ounces over two days, Brock Bila caught his largest catch on day two, adding 17 pounds and 11 ounces to his initial day one weight of 12 pounds and 11 ounces. His day two performance propelled him to the third-place spot with one day remaining.
Sticking with a big fish pattern he located on the final day of practice, Bila started strong this morning with over 14 pounds early and added two of his bigger fish shortly after to cull to his day’s weight.
“I found a big largemouth deal in practice, but it never worked out for me yesterday,” he said. “I caught fish but never got a big bite like today. Today, things were working, and I was able to leave them alone and spend some time looking around for the final day.”
Bila found a shallow flat that was loaded with bass and threw back three solid keepers that would not help him today, but on the final day would be key.
“I am excited to get in there tomorrow and try to get a solid limit early,” he added. “I am fishing a mix of two baits and have some good water to fish on the final day.”
Joseph Webster began the tournament with 12 pounds on day one and added 17 pounds and 13 ounces on day two. His two-day total of 30 pounds and 3 ounces puts him in fourth place after two days on Logan Martin.
Running with a clue he learned on the final day of practice, Webster is focusing on docks and changing his approach each day, letting the fish dictate their behavior.
“I caught some big fish on that final day and was hoping they would reload as the event progressed, but they are relocating on the docks,” he said. “It seems like each morning I have to locate them, and each day has been different.”
With the majority of the field fishing the same type of water, Webster prioritizes targeting the hard-to-catch bass that may be untouched in his area.
“The easy ones are getting caught, and I am having to fish the Berkley Dime 4 and Frittside 5 in hard-to-reach places, but the bigger bites are coming that way,” he added. “I am making circles like everyone else but keeping tabs on which sections are not getting hit to keep finding fresh fish.”
For Showdown Saturday, Webster plans to change things up and start his event closer to the takeoff to try and capitalize on his least productive time of day.
“I can’t seem to start catching fish until 9 or 10 AM, so I will start up and work my way down the lake, trying to get a limit in the morning. Docks seem to be the name of the game, and it doesn’t matter if they are shallow or deep.”
The day one leader with 17 pounds, 2 ounces, Jason Burroughs added another 12 pounds, 12 ounces to his weight. With only one day remaining, Burroughs holds the fifth-place spot with a two-day total of 29 pounds, 14 ounces.
With a live camera today, Burroughs continued to scrap his practice and cover water with one bait and one rod that is getting it done for him.
“I caught eight more keepers today, which is getting weird,” he said. “I caught eight in all three days of practice, eight yesterday, and eight today. I had three hours to catch one more and was not able to make it happen.”
Running a mix of new and old water, the South Carolina angler is targeting steeper banks where he can keep his reaction-style bait near the bottom. With more local anglers on the water and tournament competitors figuring out more of how the fish are biting, Burroughs is going to need more than eight bites on Showdown Saturday.
“The pressure has drastically increased,” he added. “But I’m going to go hard on them again tomorrow.”