Florida's John Cox pushed his lead being to more than 7 pounds yesterday (May 20) in the FLW Tour held on the Red River, leading the top-20 field moving to the third-day semi-finals.

Cox put together 14 pounds during Friday's competition to bring his two-day total to 28 pounds, 10 ounces.

He fished the first two days of competition from a 17-foot boat powered by a 75-horsepower Mercury with hopes that the lighter rig would allow him access to shallow-water areas other competitors could not reach. Cox said he made a two-hour run each way to his fishing spot.

"The whole way down there today I was thinking, 'There's no way I'm getting in there,'" Cox said. "I got there and got ready to go in, and my camera guy said, "You're going to go through that?'

"I said, 'I hope so.' And it was a miracle we worked (the boat) back and forth and somehow got in there. When we got in there, we were exhausted and sweaty, but it was worth it."

The gamble paid off; however, Cox said his strategy will have to change for Saturdya's competition. Cox said he caught bass in the secluded pond on the second day of competition on a Gambler Big EZ swimbait, but the lower water level will render the pond unfishable going forward.

"I'd have to get a canoe or something to get in there," Cox said. "It just ain't gonna happen. I've got a spot here I always fish. I'm going to go in there.

"Usually there's a few people in there and it usually hurts it, but there's only 20 of us fishing tomorrow. I think I'll be able to sight fish tomorrow."

That makes the third day of competition really interesting.

"There's no telling what will happen," Cox said. "I'm just going to get five and maybe I'll see a big (fish) sitting there."

Brent Ehrler of California went into Saturday in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 21-6. Rounding out the top five were California's Mike Reynolds with 20-9,Clint Brownlee of Georgia with 20-7 and Arkansas' Mark Rose with 19-14.

The highest-finishing Louisiana pro was New Orleans' Chris Neau, who wrapped up the event in 74th with 12-04.

Complete standings can be found on FLWOutdoors.com.

Minnesota's Jim Moynagh, who goes into the semi-finals in 16th, caught a 5-pound, 5-ounce bass to earn $500 for the big fish of the day.

Overall there were 505 bass weighing 825 pounds, 2 ounces caught by 135 pros Friday. The catch included 59 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup, the circuit's championship slated for Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita where pros will compete for a top prize of $600,000 – the sport's biggest award.

Pro anglers are also vying for the prestigious 2011 FLW Tour Angler of the Year that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors, with the winner receiving $100,000.

In the co-angler division, Florida's David Lauer leads with an opening-round total of 18 pounds, 13 ounces, followed by Keith Carson of Debary, Fla., in second place 17-12.

Anthony Brooks of Georgia landed the co-angler big-bass of the day weighing 3-15 to pocket $250.
Overall there were 270 bass weighing 412 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 107 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 16 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. The FLW Tour Co-angler of the Year also will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors, and the winner will receive a new Ranger 198VX with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.

Anglers launch off from Red River South Marina located at 250 Red River South Rd. in Bossier City, La., at 6:30 each morning. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-in will be held at the Shreveport Convention Center located at 400 Caddo St. in Shreveport beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Shreveport Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins.

The first 300 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo. Fans can also register to win a Can-Am ATV, which will be given away following the final weigh-in. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.

All activities are free and open to the public.

The BFL All-American also is being held on Cross Lake. Click here to read the day-two story.