John Cox

Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale on Friday, weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces, to take control of the leaderboard after Day Two of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Covercraft Stop 2 — Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama. Starting the day in fourth place, Cox’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 33 pounds, 10 ounces moved him into the top spot heading into Day Three of the event.

Pro Kerry Milner of Fisher, Arkansas, dropped one spot, from 1st place into 2nd, with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 31 pounds, 14 ounces — just 1-pound, 12-ounces shy of Cox.

The four-day competition features a field of 163 of the best bass fishing professionals from around the world competing for a top cash award of up to $135,000.

Cox said he’d been itching to sight-fish beds, but didn’t allow himself to even look on Thursday or Friday.

“I just know they aren’t ready yet,” said Cox, the 2016 FLW Cup champion. “I’m hoping they get ready before the tournament is over, but there are too many on the move right now and there are way more opportunities to run into them while they are moving than to catch them on a bed.”

Cox said he went into the tournament planning to focus on dirty water until the bass committed to beds, then switch to cleaner water when he could sight-fish them. However, after the last two days’ haul, he will likely stick with what’s working.

“I caught many of Friday’s fish in random pockets that I hadn’t visited yet, so I think just following that pattern and catching them on the move is going to be my best bet,” continued Cox. “The water is warming up so fast – there was almost a 10-degree difference from the beginning of the day to the end – so I’m definitely keeping my options open to any changes in movement over the next two days.”

Cox said he had seven total keepers on Day Two, which was quite a feat considering it was a struggle for most of the field.

“I’ve been throwing a Dirty Jigs Swim Jig with a Berkley Powerbait Maxscent Meaty Chunk Trailer and mixing it up with a frog and a wacky-rigged Berkley Powerbait The General Worm,” said Cox. “I fished different areas of the lake, but basically used the same baits and techniques both days.”

Cox, who has a lot of history on the fishery, said he’s fishing many of the same pockets he’s fished in the past.

“They served me well then and I hope to continue the success through the remainder of this event.”

The top 20 pros after Day Two on Lewis Smith Lake are:

1st: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 10 bass, 33-10

2nd: Kerry Milner, Fisher, Ark. 10 bass, 31-14

3rd: Corey Neece, Bristol, Tenn., 10 bass, 29-12

4th: Chase Serafin, White Lake, Mich., 10 bass, 27-13

5th: Tai Au, Glendale, Ariz., 10 bass, 27-10

6th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 10 bass, 27-8

7th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 10 bass, 27-7

8th: Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., 10 bass, 27-6

9th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 27-0

10th: Cody Huff, Ava, Mo., 10 bass, 26-14

11th: Dakota Ebare, Denham Springs, La., 10 bass, 26-10

12th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 25-13

13th: Joseph Webster, Winfield, Ala., eight bass, 25-10

14th: Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., 10 bass, 25-10

15th: Kyle Cortiana, Coweta, Okla., 10 bass, 25-7

16th: John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 10 bass, 25-4

17th: Braxton Setzer, Wetumpka, Ala., 10 bass, 24-15

18th: Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., nine bass, 24-9

19th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 10 bass, 24-8

20th: Greg Bohannan, Bentonville, Ark., 10 bass, 24-6

For a full list of results and to see the top 50 anglers that will continue to Day Three, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Birge won the day’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award, bringing a 5-pound, 4-ounce bass to the scale.

Overall, there were 535 bass weighing 1,212 pounds even caught by 163 pros on Friday, which included 62 five-bass limits.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Covercraft Stop 2 – Lewis Smith Lake is hosted by the Cullman Area Local Organizing Committee.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 163 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight now advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros will continue competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.

Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CT Saturday and Sunday from Smith Lake Park, located at 403 County Rd 386 in Cullman. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Covercraft Stop 2 – Lewis Smith Lake will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 18 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Fans can catch weigh-ins and live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday, March 13-14 on MLF NOW! beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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