Conditions were clear and calm for the first couple of hours of the Skeeter-Yamaha Louisiana Sportsman Bass Championship, and then the wind began wailing out of the south.

But the stiff breeze didn't worry Luke Billiu of Houma and Des Allemands' Ryan Young, who put together 18.23 pounds to take the lead going into tomorrow's final round of fishing.

"We were fishing bedding fish; we're fishing muddy water," Young said. "We were just taking advantage of that good bite.

Kevin Voisin and Bill McCarty, both of Morgan City, boated 16.73 pounds to earn a second-place birth into the finale. Their stringer was anchored by a 6.16-pounder that earned the team $2,000 for the daily big-bass award.

Rounding out the top five teams were Duane Blanco and Owen Plaisance with 16.73; Andre F. Cazelot and Brooke Morrison with 16.31; and Jacob Breaux and Tracey Geautreaux. and Levi Louviere and Trey Hebert, with both teams weighing in 15.58.

The ninth-place team of Jim Gaspard and Hayden Pinell earned $800 for second place in the daily big-bass award.

The field was cut to the top 25 teams for the final day of the event.

Sunday's weigh-in will take place at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales as part of the Louisiana Sportsman Show, with the teams weighing in at the outdoor show's stage in a Bassmaster Classic-style weigh-in.

While more than half of the field chose to fish inside the Atchafalaya Basin, Billiu and Young headed east from Doiron's Landing to fish canals on the Lake Verret side.

Predictably, they didn't reveal exactly where they were fishing, but they said they didn't get many bites.

"We got eight bites," Young said.

And those came early.

"All our fish were caught before 9 o'clock," Young said. "We were fishing tight, tight to the bank."

Billiu said there were five or six other tournament boats in their area, but they said he and Young said they were going back and sticking with the same baits and patterns.

What they didn't know is whether the area held enough fish to get them through a second day to claim the $12,000 top prize.

"That's what we're worried about," Billiu admitted.

For their part, Voisin and McCarty said they limited out by 9:45 a.m. inside the Atchafalaya Basin by working three canals that held stained water with about a foot of visibility.

The team put together their five-fish stringer without pre-fishing those canals, Voisin said.

"I just knew (the fish) were there," he said. "Two weeks ago, we had big bass for the children's hospital tournament. We left (the area) alone until today."

"We pre-fished for other stuff," McCarty said.

Voisin said they, too, fished shallow — less than 3 feet deep — and went on to say that they caught their early fish on plastics before turning to spinnerbaits and ChatterBaits.

They caught about a dozen keepers, but the bite wasn't exactly on.

"You'd make a pass, make a pass and then catch a fish," Voisin said.

The plan for the finale was to go back to their best canal and sit on it until the fish bite.

"I think we can catch five," Voisin said. "Can we catch the right five? I don't know."

McCarty agreed.

"They're there — it's just whether they bite," he said.

The top 25 teams and their weights were:

1. Luke Billiu/Ryan Young — 18.23
2. Kevin Voisin/Bill McCarty — 17.71
3. Duan Blanco/Owen Plaisance — 16.73
4. Andre F. Cazelot/Brooke Morrison — 16.31
5. Jacob Breaux/Tracy Gautreau — 15.88
5. Levi Louviere/Trey Hebert — 15.88
7. Garrett Strickland/Gilbert Fortenberry — 15.58
8. Jim Gaspard/Hayden Pinell — 15.37
9. Anthony Granier/O.T. Fears — 14.70
10. Joey Zimmer/Joey Louque — 14.48
11. Paul Carmouche/Jamie Laiche — 14.29
12. Dwain Chaney/Trevor Jeansonne — 14.17
13. Craig S. Walker/Brent Bonadona — 13.8
14. Eric Weaver/Jackie Villar — 13.78
15. Brooks Webre/Cory Champagne — 13.65
16. Zach Brada/Neil Robin — 13.4
17. Tommy Fay/Tommy Robicheaux — 13.06
18. Spence Gremillion/Patrick Rachel — 12.79
19. Bobby Templet/Terry Blackmon — 12.77
20. Jimmy Charbonnet/Charles Gudry — 12.09
21. Willie Couch Jr./Willie Couch III — 12.02
22. Tate Molea/S.J. Laiche — 11.97
23. Freddy Geiger/Josh Sheets — 11.92
24. Dayvis Niclous/Barry Delaune Jr. — 11.84
25. Peter Matassa/Vic Calvaruuso — 11.80