By BassFan Staff

Things are going extremely well for Takahiro Omori at the Lake Martin Bassmaster Elite Series so good that fish that can't help him weight-wise are doing favors for him.

Omori extended his lead by 3 ounces to 4-02 at the circuit's season opener by catching a 12-13 sack that pushed his three-day total to 45-07. If he can keep the advantage for one more day, the former Classic champion will claim his second victory on the circuit in three seasons and his seventh B.A.S.S. triumph.

One of the fish that Omori threw back today delivered him a crankbait that he'd lost on Friday. The weirdest part is that he didn't lose the bait while battling that fish; he'd broken it off on a stump. The 13-inch bass evidently pulled it free from the wood at some point, and then was also able to gorge down another square-bill (the one attached to Omori's line today) with the first bait impaled in its jaw.

"I've never seen anything like that before," he said. "That's just crazy."

The top 3 from Friday's standings remained unchanged as Roy Hawk held onto 2nd place with a 12-10 haul that gave him a 41-06 total and Luke Clausen boxed 13-03 to stay in 3rd with 41-03. Andy Montgomery's day-best 13-11 bag moved him up three places to 4th with a 40-00 aggregate and Adrian Avena and Adrian Avena climbed one position to 5th with 39-03 (12-14 on day 3).

Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who advanced to the final day, with deficit margins from the leader denoted by red numbers in parentheses:

1. Takahiro Omori 45-08
2. Roy Hawk: 41-06 (4-02)
3. Luke Clausen: 41-03 (4-05)
4. Andy Montgomery: 40-00 (5-08)
5. Adrian Avena: 39-03 (6-05)
6. Jared Lintner: 38-01 (7-07)
7. Justin Lucas: 37-15 (7-09)
8. Mark Menendez: 37-14 (7-10)
9. Jonathan VanDam: 35-14 (9-10)
10. Dean Rojas: 35-13 (9-11)
11. Brett Hite 35-10 (9-14)
12. Connell: 35-08 (10-00)

The overcast skies and the rain that fell later in the day didn't seem to compel the bigger largemouths to bite as nobody in the 51-angler field cracked the 15-pound mark. More precipitation is on tap for the Alexander City, Ala. area for day 4 the WeatherChannel.com forecast predicts thunderstorms, some of which could be severe.

Many expected the event on a new venue for the circuit to be dominated by Alabamians, but 2017 Rookie of the Year Dustin Connell was the only competitor from the host state to make the top 12. Instead, the final-day field is littered with West Coast residents, including three Arizonans (Hawk, Dean Rojas and Brett Hite).



B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Omori continues to compile the majority of his weight during the initial part of the day.

There were just three changes in the top 12 on day 3 Jonathan VanDam, Hite and Connell moved in (climbing six, six and eight places, respectively). They supplanted Jesse Wiggins (4th to 18th via a 7-09 bag), Skylar Hamilton (10th to 28th, 8-01) and Alton Jones Jr. (12th to 23rd, 9-13).

Omori Stays Solid

> Day 3: 5, 12-13 (15, 45-08)

Although not spectacular, Omori's day 3 was certainly satisfactory.

"It could've been a better day, but I have no complaints," he said.

He again did all of his damage during the early part of the day from an out-of-the-way locale far up the Tallapoosa River. His fish are coming from a sweet spot that's perhaps as wide as two boats.

"After that I'm moving all over, but I have nowhere else that's near as good.

He said he went through more than 10 keepers and his best fish was a 3-pounder.

"I lost one that was maybe 2 1/2 that I could've used and I had another fish miss my bait that was about 4."

He said he's not nervous at all about carrying the lead into the final day.

"If I could go out and catch 14 pounds tomorrow, I'd be really happy."

2nd: Hawk Muddled Through

> Day 3: 5, 12-10 (15, 41-06)

Hawk was able to improve on his initial limit only a couple of times, but maintained his position in the standings and lost only 3 ounces to Omori.

"It was kind of a struggle, but I ended up with a decent limit so it's all good," said the former WON Bass U.S. Open winner and first-year Elite competitor. "Today was a lot slower, but a couple of key upgrades made a big difference. I had two tiny spots in my livewell for the longest time."

He took all largemouth to the scale, the biggest of which was a 3 1/2-pounder.

"I thought they'd bite better with no sun I thought they'd get out and roam and I could catch them cranking, but it didn't work out. I caught some cranking, but they were real close to cover. Then I started flipping a little more and caught some doing that.

"I lost one that was 3-plus and that really hurt. I was snagged in a tree and I was going to get the bait out. I don't know whether it came out and the fish grabbed it or if the fish pulled it out of the tree, but I felt it pulling so I pulled back and started winding. I only had about 8 feet of line out when I went to sling it into the boat, it got to the gunnel and came off. That would've given me at least another pound."

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Luke Clausen caught only about half as many keepers as he did on day 2.

He thinks he'll need a sack like the one he caught on day 2 (17-01) to have a shot at catching Omori.

"He's got 4 pounds on me and that's a pretty strong lead on this lake. I know I've got to get 16-plus."

3rd: Not Easy for Clausen

> Day 3: 5, 13-03 (15, 41-03)

Clausen's bag was the third-heaviest of the day, but he said it was by no means a cinch to compile.

"It was a struggle," he said. "It looks good on paper, but it wasn't as easy as the last couple days. I caught a couple today from a place where I hadn't caught anything yet and that kind of saved me. I only had 10 keepers all day, so it was pretty slow."

He again weighed all spots and a 3-06 was his best specimen. He missed a few bites, but said it was highly unlikely any of them would've aided his cause.

"I'm beating around in one area and there's a couple other guys in the top 12 in there. You can never catch them 2 days in a row from the same place. I had a spot that I thought was going to be really good after the first day, but today I never saw a fish or marked one there. It just seems so random.

"They got off the bottom today and scattered with the overcast (sky), and it'll probably be as bad or worse tomorrow. I need to catch a 15- or 16-pound bag tomorrow to have a shot and to do that, I need to catch more fish. Today the numbers fell off really bad."

4th: Late Upgrade Lifted Montgomery

> Day 3: 5, 13-11

Montgomery handled about a dozen keepers en route to amassing his stringer, which was tops in the field for the day.

"I kind of learned some stuff yesterday and I was able to run that today, and I ran some new water," he said. "(The bite) wasn't as good as yesterday, but by the end of the day I was able to come up with a good bag. I had a late cull that helped me by about a pound."

He's target-fishing in shallow water, catching some fish on crankbaits and others off docks. He said he's had virtually no company.

He lost one fish that he didn't see, but "I would've liked to. It was a good one."

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Andy Montgomery is catching good bags, but he's yet to get a really big bite.

He took four largemouths and a spot to the scale. The spot was a good one at 3-06, it equaled one of his largemouths as tops in his sack.

"I've put a good bag together every day, but I just can't get that 5- or 6-pound bite. I need to catch one of those tomorrow to have a chance."

5th: Smaller Jump for Avena

> Day 2: 5, 12-14 (15, 39-03)

Avena, who gained 56 places in the standings on day 2, moved up just one today. His bag was 3 1/2 pounds lighter, which could be attributed to the lack of a 6 1/2-pounder like he had the previous day.

"You can never count on a bite of that caliber and I was fortunate to get one yesterday," he said. "Today I had a 3 1/2 and another 3-something, and then a few spots in the 2-pound range."

He's spending his mornings fishing vertically with a 3-inch Berkley Gulp! Minnow and a small swimbait, and then junk-fishing for largemouths later in the day with a variety of baits (a jig, a square-bill crankbait, a ChatterBait and a jerkbait.

"If I could catch 16 pounds tomorrow I might have a shot because (Omori) could easily catch 10," he said. "There's been a few of those kinds of bags weighed in, so anything's possible."

Notable

> Day 3 stats 51 anglers, 49 limits, 1 three, 1 two.

Weather Forecast

> Sun., Feb. 11 Thunderstorms - 69/56
- Wind: From the SSW at 9 mph

Day 3 Standings

1. Takahiro Omori -- Emory, TX -- 15, 45-08 -- 110
Day 1: 5, 18-02 -- Day 2: 5, 14-09 -- Day 3: 5, 12-13

2. Roy Hawk -- Lake Havasu City, AZ -- 15, 41-06 -- 109
Day 1: 5, 11-11 -- Day 2: 5, 17-01 -- Day 3: 5, 12-10

3. Luke Clausen -- Otis Orchards, WA -- 15, 41-03 -- 108
Day 1: 5, 12-12 -- Day 2: 5, 15-04 -- Day 3: 5, 13-03

4. Andy Montgomery -- Blacksburg, SC -- 15, 40-00 -- 107
Day 1: 5, 11-12 -- Day 2: 5, 14-09 -- Day 3: 5, 13-11

5. Adrian Avena -- Vineland, NJ -- 15, 39-03 -- 106
Day 1: 5, 10-00 -- Day 2: 5, 16-05 -- Day 3: 5, 12-14

6. Jared Lintner -- Arroyo Grande, CA -- 15, 38-01 -- 105
Day 1: 5, 13-15 -- Day 2: 5, 12-14 -- Day 3: 5, 11-04

7. Justin Lucas -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 37-15 -- 104
Day 1: 5, 13-09 -- Day 2: 5, 11-11 -- Day 3: 5, 12-11

8. Mark Menendez -- Paducah, KY -- 15, 37-14 -- 103
Day 1: 5, 17-09 -- Day 2: 5, 07-01 -- Day 3: 5, 13-04

9. Jonathon VanDam -- Gobles, MI -- 15, 35-14 -- 102
Day 1: 5, 13-08 -- Day 2: 5, 10-10 -- Day 3: 5, 11-12

10. Dean Rojas -- Lake Havasu City, AZ -- 15, 35-13 -- 101
Day 1: 5, 13-10 -- Day 2: 5, 11-15 -- Day 3: 5, 10-04

11. Brett Hite -- Phoenix, AZ -- 15, 35-10 -- 100
Day 1: 5, 10-12 -- Day 2: 5, 13-00 -- Day 3: 5, 11-14

12. Dustin Connell -- Clanton, AL -- 15, 35-08 -- 99
Day 1: 5, 10-15 -- Day 2: 5, 12-10 -- Day 3: 5, 11-15

The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 4.

13. Ott DeFoe -- Blaine, TN -- 15, 35-07 -- 98 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 09-10 -- Day 2: 5, 14-00 -- Day 3: 5, 11-13

14. Ray Hanselman Jr -- Del Rio, TX -- 15, 35-03 -- 97 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-07 -- Day 2: 5, 09-12 -- Day 3: 5, 13-00

15. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 15, 35-00 -- 96 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-06 -- Day 2: 5, 11-06 -- Day 3: 5, 12-04

16. Cliff Pace -- Petal, MS -- 15, 34-13 -- 95 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-04 -- Day 2: 5, 11-08 -- Day 3: 5, 13-01

17. James Elam -- Tulsa, OK -- 15, 34-13 -- 94 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-06 -- Day 2: 5, 11-14 -- Day 3: 5, 10-09

18. Jesse Wiggins -- Cullman, AL -- 15, 34-09 -- 93 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-05 -- Day 2: 5, 11-11 -- Day 3: 5, 07-09

19. Brent Chapman -- Lake Quivira, KS -- 15, 34-07 -- 92 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-15 -- Day 2: 5, 10-05 -- Day 3: 5, 11-03

20. Josh Bertrand -- San Tan Valley, AZ -- 15, 34-06 -- 91 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 08-12 -- Day 2: 5, 13-04 -- Day 3: 5, 12-06

21. Randy Howell -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 34-05 -- 90 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-06 -- Day 2: 5, 13-05 -- Day 3: 5, 10-10

22. Todd Faircloth -- Jasper, TX -- 15, 34-04 -- 89 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-05 -- Day 2: 5, 12-08 -- Day 3: 5, 11-07

23. Alton Jones Jr. -- Waco, TX -- 15, 34-04 -- 88 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-01 -- Day 2: 5, 12-06 -- Day 3: 5, 09-13

24. Mark Daniels Jr. -- Tuskegee, AL -- 15, 34-03 -- 87 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-08 -- Day 2: 5, 10-15 -- Day 3: 5, 10-12

25. Bradley Roy -- Lancaster, KY -- 15, 34-01 -- 86 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-04 -- Day 2: 5, 12-10 -- Day 3: 5, 11-03

26. Boyd Duckett -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 33-08 -- 85 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 09-13 -- Day 2: 5, 12-02 -- Day 3: 5, 11-09

27. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, LA -- 15, 33-05 -- 84 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-07 -- Day 2: 5, 12-07 -- Day 3: 5, 10-07

28. Skylar Hamilton -- Dandridge, TN -- 15, 33-02 -- 83 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-09 -- Day 2: 5, 10-08 -- Day 3: 5, 08-01

29. Michael Iaconelli -- Pitts Grove, NJ -- 15, 33-01 -- 82 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-00 -- Day 2: 5, 13-02 -- Day 3: 5, 08-15

30. Russ Lane -- Prattville, AL -- 15, 33-00 -- 81 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-08 -- Day 2: 5, 08-15 -- Day 3: 5, 09-09

31. Wesley Strader -- Spring City, TN -- 15, 32-14 -- 80 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-12 -- Day 2: 5, 12-06 -- Day 3: 5, 09-12

32. Matt Lee -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 32-14 -- 79 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-03 -- Day 2: 5, 11-07 -- Day 3: 5, 10-04

33. Micah Frazier -- Newnan, GA -- 15, 32-13 -- 78 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-03 -- Day 2: 5, 10-04 -- Day 3: 5, 10-06

34. Aaron Martens -- Leeds, AL -- 15, 32-12 -- 77 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-04 -- Day 2: 5, 11-07 -- Day 3: 5, 10-01

35. Shin Fukae -- Palestine TX JAPAN -- 15, 32-10 -- 76 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-06 -- Day 2: 5, 12-00 -- Day 3: 5, 10-04

36. Jason Christie -- Park Hill, OK -- 15, 32-10 -- 75 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-03 -- Day 2: 5, 11-07 -- Day 3: 5, 10-00

37. Skeet Reese -- Auburn, CA -- 15, 32-08 -- 74 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-13 -- Day 2: 5, 06-13 -- Day 3: 5, 10-14

38. Brent Ehrler -- Redlands, CA -- 15, 32-08 -- 73 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-12 -- Day 2: 5, 10-08 -- Day 3: 5, 11-04

39. Cliff Crochet -- Pierre Part, LA -- 15, 32-06 -- 72 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-01 -- Day 2: 5, 06-11 -- Day 3: 5, 11-10

40. Paul Mueller -- Naugatuck, CT -- 15, 32-04 -- 71 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-13 -- Day 2: 5, 09-13 -- Day 3: 5, 10-10

41. Chad Pipkens -- Lansing, MI -- 15, 32-03 -- 70 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 09-03 -- Day 2: 5, 12-08 -- Day 3: 5, 10-08

42. Jason Williamson -- Wagener, SC -- 15, 32-02 -- 69 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-10 -- Day 2: 5, 12-05 -- Day 3: 5, 09-03

43. Terry Scroggins -- San Mateo, FL -- 15, 31-15 -- 68 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-06 -- Day 2: 5, 09-02 -- Day 3: 5, 09-07

44. David Mullins -- Mt Carmel, TN -- 15, 31-13 -- 67 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-11 -- Day 2: 5, 11-05 -- Day 3: 5, 09-13

45. Clifford Pirch -- Payson, AZ -- 15, 31-12 -- 66 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-01 -- Day 2: 5, 10-09 -- Day 3: 5, 10-02

46. Brian Snowden -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 15, 31-08 -- 65 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 09-01 -- Day 2: 5, 12-06 -- Day 3: 5, 10-01

47. David Walker -- Sevierville, TN -- 15, 31-00 -- 64 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-05 -- Day 2: 5, 07-05 -- Day 3: 5, 09-06

48. Cliff Prince -- Palatka, FL -- 13, 30-09 -- 63 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 19-13 -- Day 2: 3 -- 04-05 -- Day 3: 5, 06-07

49. Chris Lane -- Guntersville, AL -- 13, 29-05 -- 62 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 09-14 -- Day 2: 5, 12-03 -- Day 3: 3 -- 07-04

50. Brandon Lester -- Fayetteville, TN -- 15, 28-13 -- 61 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-12 -- Day 2: 5, 10-09 -- Day 3: 5, 06-08

51. Robbie Latuso -- Gonzales, LA -- 12, 27-10 -- 60 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-03 -- Day 2: 5, 12-00 -- Day 3: 2 -- 04-07