TH Marine Pro Roger Fitzpatrick takes a 1-ounce lead into FLW Costa Central Championship Saturday
October 13, 2017 by Jody White
The top 10 saw a lot of turnover on day two of the Costa FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks, but Roger Fitzpatrick and James Dill both stayed steady to climb the leaderboard. In first place by an ounce, Fitzpatrick put 16 pounds, 15 ounces on the scale and boasts a 35-11 total. Weighing 17-13 on day two, Dill is just an ounce off the pace.
Overall, the fishing was a bit tougher on the second day, but the shallow topwater bite that the Ozark region is known for played strong, and it seems all but certain that the majority of the eventual winner’s bass will fall for something that plops or buzzes.
Running roughly the same game plan he did on day one, Fitzpatrick got a lot fewer bites. On the first day he put perhaps 15 keepers in the boat – on day two he barely culled twice.
“Where I’m fishing, shallow, around those docks, those fish just got there,” says Fitzpatrick. “It’s kind of a pattern that happens every year about right now. I liken it to when fish get done with the spawn – you want to be fishing where they’re headed. But today was a struggle.”
Despite catching most of his weight shallow on top, Fitzpatrick has been adaptable. He says he caught his final keeper off a shallow brush pile on day two, and that he really only dialed in to the shallow topwater bite on the final day of practice.
“I’ve got a deal in my hip pocket,” says Fitzpatrick, who has a pair of T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) wins on Lake of the Ozarks. “In the [BFL] Super tournament a few weeks ago I caught a limit off one spot both days, and I know they’re still there. It’s a good spot, and I’ve not been to it yet. There’s some quality fish there, and if it gets tough on me I may go in there. But I’m around some bigguns, and I’d like to get a couple of them.”
Whatever happens on the final day, it’s almost sure to be dramatic. Everyone in the top five is within 3 pounds of the lead, and it’d be no surprise to see any one of them bring in a big bag.
Top 10 pros
1. Roger Fitzpatrick – Eldon, Mo. – 35-11 (10)
2. James Dill – Sunrise Beach, Mo. – 35-10 (10)
3. James Watson – Lampe, Mo. – 33-15 (10)
4. Andre Dickneite – Freeburg, Mo. – 33-4 (10)
5. Casey Scanlon – Lake Ozark, Mo. – 32-15 (10)
6. Jeremy Lawyer – Sarcoxie, Mo. – 30-5 (10)
7. Dylan Hays – Sheridan, Ark. – 30-4 (10)
8. Greg Bohannan – Bentonville, Ark. – 30-1 (10)
9. Dennis Berhorst – Holts Summit, Mo. – 29-14 (10)
10. Shane Long – Willard, Mo. – 29-11 (10)
Shirley takes co-angler lead
Josh Shirley of Cabot, Ark., moved into the lead on the co-angler side with four quality fish for 12-9. Also weighing four on day one, Shirley has an impressive 24-12 total in a tournament where fishing off the back isn’t easy.
“Yesterday I’d have liked to have my fifth, and it was the same thing today,” says Shirley, who has lost one potential keeper each day. “I did pretty much the same thing I did yesterday. It’s targeting certain areas and certain sides of docks. Following up on the co-angler side of things is hard to do, but it worked out quite well.”