Bass pro Casey Ashley of Donalds moved a big step closer to a $125,000 payday Saturday by bringing in the biggest bag of the day on the third day of the FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell. Ashley will enter Sunday's final round with a lead of almost 10 pounds.
Ashley bagged a 5-bass limit that weighed 15 pounds, seven ounces, the best of the a competition day that was shortened by fog early in the morning that caused a 3-hour delay. His big bag gave him a 3-day total of 52-11. Clent Davis of Monteballo, Ala., is a distant second at 43-1.
"I was really worried because we had such a short day," Ashley said. "I'm not catching a lot of fish in one place, and I'm having to move around a lot. I've still got stuff that I haven't even fished yet, because of time. It takes some time to keep fishing how I have been, and there is not enough time in the day, especially today.
“I’m going to go out there tomorrow and just pound on them. 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.”
Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., is even farther back in third with 41-9, and the top five is rounded out by Cody Meyer of Auburn, Calif., with 40-0, and Ryan Davidson of Huntington, W.Va., with 38-9.
The top 10 anglers through three days will fish only Sunday. Besides Ashley, one other South Carolina fisherman made the cut: Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, who is ninth with 34-2. One South Carolina pro was eliminated on Saturday: Barton Aiken of Greenville, who finished 12th with 31-10 and won $12,000.
On the co-angler side, David Redington of Sulphur Springs, Texas, took the $25,000 first prize with 31-8.