Mace has title in sight

Kennewick's Ron Mace puts his livewell on the scale to be weighed during the Walmart FLW Outdoors Nationl Guard Western Division bass tournament Friday at the Umatilla Marina.<BR><I>Photo by Billy Gates for the East Oregonian</I>

Kennewick professional angler Ron Mace got what he wanted - not to be in first place.

After Day 3 of the Walmart FLW Outdoors Bass Series fishing tournament concluded at the Umatilla Marina, Mace sits "comfortably" in fourth place with a total catch of 35 pounds, 11 ounces on 15 fish.

"Being out in front puts too much unwanted pressure on you," he said. "I'm right where I want to be right now though, it's a good feeling."

For most of the anglers, Friday wasn't the best day for catching fish, but Nampa, Idaho, native Neil Russell seemed to have something up his sleeve.

His total catch of 14 pounds, 13 ounces on five fish not only catapulted him into the lead, but was the largest catch of the day by more than two pounds.

Mace said the water level, both up river and down river, had dropped about three feet from yesterday, causing the fish to become skiddish and hesitant to bite.

"I caught a couple fish in the current breaks and a couple in the beds, but the fish see you coming and get out of there," he said of the shallow water.

Mace ended the day with a total catch of 10 pounds, 11 ounces on five fish. Anglers are only allowed to record five fish to their weight total.

Rookie sensation Joseph Caporuscio remained in second place going into the final day, where the top 10 pros are the only fishermen out on the river.

Caporuscio has caught 15 fish for a total weight of 36 pounds, eight ounces. Ron Hobbs Jr. sits in the third place with just 12 fish on record for 35 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I think I can find the fish that will win this tournament," Hobbs said. "I've got some spots where I can get 15-17 pounds. They are there and they are big."

Friday marked the final day of fishing for the co-anglers, the amateur fishermen paired up with the professionals who fish off the other end of the boat.

Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif., took home the top prize of $14,025 with his 15 fish tipping the scales at 29 pounds even. Patrick Touey of Nipomo, Calif. finished in the second slot and Toby Farkas of Woodland, Calif. finished third on the co-angler side.

The final day of competition is today with the weigh-in at 4 p.m. at the Hermiston Walmart.

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