Kilgore holds lead in Southern Open
by Ron Harris
Mar 08, 2014 | 1278 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper’s David Kilgore shows off one of the five bass he landed during Friday’s second day of the Bassmaster Southern Open on Smith Lake. Kilgore holds a lead of more than 3 pounds heading into today’s final round. Daily Mountain Eagle - Ron Harris
Jasper’s David Kilgore shows off one of the five bass he landed during Friday’s second day of the Bassmaster Southern Open on Smith Lake. Kilgore holds a lead of more than 3 pounds heading into today’s final round. Daily Mountain Eagle - Ron Harris
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SMITH LAKE — It’s always more fun playing in your own backyard.

David Kilgore of Jasper knows that all too well.

After racing to an early lead Thursday in the first day of the Bassmaster Southern Open on Lewis Smith Lake — his home turf — Kilgore followed that up with a five-fish limit on Day 2 Friday to increase his lead over the 157 other pros in the tournament.

Kilgore landed five fish weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces Friday to raise his two-day total to 37 pounds, 14 ounces. He’s a little more than 3 pounds ahead of Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., whose total after Day 2 is 34 pounds, 9 ounces.

Jordan Wiggins of Cullman is third, 8 ounces back of Auten.

By retaining his lead, Kilgore moves into today’s final day of fishing that includes the top 12 pros and top 12 co-anglers.

Today’s final weigh-in will be held beginning at 3:30 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops just off Interstate 20 in Leeds.

“I’m happy. I had two really big ones but didn’t get them, but I think I can go back and catch at least one of them (Saturday),” Kilgore said following Friday’s weigh-in.

Kilgore said he caught about 30 fish Friday. He had his five-fish limit by 10 a.m. “I caught a bunch of fish today,” he said. “I should have caught a bunch (Thursday), but the clouds had them all scattered. Today, they bunched up like they were supposed to with the sun out, and I think we’re supposed to have a carbon copy day Saturday.”

If Kilgore can hold off the rest of the top 12 on today's final day of the tournament, he will walk away with $6,741, a Nitro Z9 powered by a Mercury 225 Pro XS and a spot in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic if he fishes all three tournaments in the Southern Open series.

“I’m really happy,” he said. “I should be able to run through a lot of the two- to three-pounders Saturday, and if I can get to that 15-pound range, it’s going to be hard for somebody to beat me.”

Being on his home lake has been beneficial, he said.

“That helped me a lot today,” he said. “Once I got to catching them pretty good, I knew where I needed to be, so I just ran new stuff and just went fishing. And I caught them everywhere I went.”

Joining Kilgore, Auten and Wiggins in today’s final round (and their two-day totals) is Michael Murphy of Columbia, S.C. (33-12), Jesse Wiggins of Cullman (32-10); Justin Lucas of Guntersville (31-6); Jon Englund of Farwell, Minn. (29-10); Brandon Lester of Fayetteville, Tenn. (29-6); Kyle Fox of Lakeland, Fla. (26-8); Woo Daves of Spring Grove, Va. (25-14); Carl Jocumsen of Queensland, Australia (25-13); and Derek Cummings of Clayton, N.C. (25-4).

In the co-angler division, Stephen Longobardi of Northford, Co., held on to the lead he grabbed after Day 1 of the tournament. Longobardi caught the three-fish limit Friday to sit at 17 pounds, 4 ounces, a little less than two pounds ahead of Dustin Seaborn of Guin.