Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla. leads day one of the Bassmaster Classic with 20 pounds, 14 ounces on Grand Lake near Grove, Okla. Christie had the largest flotilla of fans following him today, but the hometown jinx didn’t affect him at all. Even with 50 boats just yards behind him, he put together the only 20-pound limit of the tournament thus far.
“I caught two good ones early on a moving bait, and then I went through a long lull without any bites,” Christie said. “The bites weren’t easy to come by, and I had to work really hard to get what I had. I thought I only had 16 or 17 pounds, but the bass were all super fat. I think most of the field is fishing too tight to the bank to catch the big ones. I caught my bigger fish further out.”
The story of the morning was cold weather overnight, muddy water and bass that took a little longer to wake up than most of the field expected. It seemed that the bite picked up a lot as the day went on for much of the field. There was a good bite first thing. Then there was a long lull period and then the last couple of hours of the day a large majority of the fish were caught.
A lot of anglers were surprised with how the cold weather and high pressure seemed to affect the fish. Guys that were catching them in wintering patterns in practice fell out on day one. Guys that were catching them shallow struggled to catch them early for the most part. But as the day progressed guys started figuring out how to catch them and the fish seemed to be better quality as the water warmed throughout the day.
Here’s a sampling from the field as to what was going on at Grand Lake today:
Greg Vinson, 18-1
I’m running a pattern and I was fortunate to find this prespawn pattern the first day of practice and it gave me the confidence to stick with it. So I took it and applied it to new water the second day and caught more than 20 pounds. So I was feeling good about it going into the tournament.
The good thing is I never saw another boat in my area all day. That’s good for me but it also makes you worry on the first day of the Classic that no one else is fishing around you.
But every day I have these little flurries and it accounts for good weight. Today I had two of those flurries. One of them was on a stretch I hadn’t planned to fish but there was a local fishing where I wanted to fish so I went around and fished another stretch down from where I had caught a 6-pounder and I caught two 4 1/2 pounders there.
Randy Howell, 17-6
“It’s such an adrenaline rush fishing this event. I don’t get this way about any other tournament. It’s crazy waking up in the middle of night because you’re so excited and all you want to do is rest before the big day. I get such a charge when I take off in the morning.
People look at my weight and probably think I had it all figured out. If you only knew how my day went. It took me almost 3 hours to catch my first keeper and then I didn’t have a limit until lunch time. My main pattern in practice was with my crankbait but that bite never happened for me today. I caught 3 on a jerkbait that I weighed and two big ones on a spinnerbait. So I don’t really want to catch them on a jerkbait.
I got on a little deal today chasing some of the windier little pockets later in the day where I had been fishing some slick calm banks all morning and I started catching them. But I also caught some fish on some specific targets. So I will visit some of those places but I will also look for more places that fit how I caught them today that might be all new water.”
Bill Lowen, 16-9
“I caught one way shallower than I have at any point in practice right off the bat and that sort of told me I might need to move around a bit more from where I caught them so good in practice. I caught my fish cranking and with a jig. But it’s a special deal that not a lot of people are doing.
I ran all over the lake today and I will run some of that same stuff again tomorrow but I didn’t feel like I fished enough water today because I felt like I needed to get my cricket in real specific places today. I caught 8 keepers today and 4 shorts all throughout the day. I caught a few early and then it died and then it got good again. So I think I just need to fish more water and I can catch them again.”
Matt Herren, 16-4
“I caught them today in a way I did not expect to catch them first thing in the morning. So that caught me off guard from what I expected. I think I can catch them again tomorrow but the way I caught them today has me thinking these fish are really on the move and the hard part is going to be staying with them. I’m running all up and down the lake.”
Greg Hackney, 16-2
“I went about like I expected. I’ve not been getting a lot of bites in practice, but when you get one, it’s a good one. I mean a fish from 3 pounds and up. But today I had a lot more bites but they were smaller. I got a few good bites early. Then it got bad for a while and then late in the day it got good again. I expected it to be better later in the day.
Really if we left at noon and fished until 5 pm this would be a slugfest. I thought there would be a lot more 20 pound bags today, but we’re coming in about the time it’s getting real good on the lake.
I’ve expected it to get better every day and it just hasn’t yet. I’ll stay in my same areas. I fished the mid lake first thing, then ran up river and then came back down late in the day. There later in the day I caught a keeper then went 15 minutes and caught another and then caught another. So if you can just be in right place at the right time you can catch a good bag.”
Casey Ashley, 15-5
“This was a practice day for me. I did not catch them in practice. It took me until 11 am to find them today and then it got better. I caught them cranking today and I feel like I can catch them again tomorrow. I’m going to run that same stuff today because it seems to be a timing deal and I feel like it’s going to get better everyday. I ran way up the river and I’ll do that again tomorrow.”
Todd Faircloth, 14-15
“It went about like I expected. It was a grind for me in practice, and it was a grind today. I’ve got one main area that I got those bites today. So I will definitely fish there tomorrow. I have to. I feel like it’s tough right now. and I’ve got one area. And when I leave that area it’s going to get a lot tougher for me. But I know that’s probably what I have to do to catch a big one. So I will go to my main area and then expand out from there.”
James Elam, 13-11
“I thought I was going to catch them good today. All I can figure is the weather affected them. The big ones just didn’t bite today like they had in practice. I feel like it will get better. I ran up and down about 8 arms of the lake today from one end to the other. I’ve got to do that to catch them but I think I’m doing the right thing to catch a good weight. I’ll run around and do the same thing tomorrow but maybe change the order a little bit.”
Brent Ehrler, 10-13 (3 fish)
“I really didn’t have a good practice. I caught some good fish but just not enough of them. Today I caught more fish but more shorts than I have been catching in practice. I think you get them to bite a little in practice and then it starts getting tough. Then you have a couple days off. Then you catch them again on the last day of practice. Then a day off and then you catch them.
I’m wondering what the pressure will do to them. They bit funny today. I had the bites to have a good limit. I felt like I had them and had them coming and they would just pull off. I can’t explain it. But I feel like if I can catch a good limit and things are getting better every day.”
“I was on good fish catching a lot of numbers in practice in a complete wintering pattern. I’m cast away from 80 feet of water, but I’m not fishing that deep. I think I’ve got to move and get further away from that channel. I really didn’t think the fish would move as much as they did. I kept tweaking and moving around in my areas but I just think I’ve got to go farther away from that channel because these fish are on the move.
I fished a jig just pitching it around whatever transitions I found. I’m in the area that has the right fish but I lost them. I’ve just got to move with them tomorrow and I’ll be alright.”
ON THE WATER PHOTO GALLERY
LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
DAY ONE STANDINGS
1 Jason Christie 5 / 20-14 5 / 20-14
2 Greg Vinson 5 / 18- 1 5 / 18- 1
3 Alton Jones 5 / 17-13 5 / 17-13
4 Randy Howell 5 / 17- 6 5 / 17- 6
5 Bill Lowen 5 / 16- 9 5 / 16- 9
6 Matt Herren 5 / 16- 4 5 / 16- 4
7 Greg Hackney 5 / 16- 2 5 / 16- 2
8 Casey Ashley 5 / 15- 5 5 / 15- 5
9 Todd Faircloth 5 / 14-15 5 / 14-15
10 Marty Robinson 4 / 14-12 4 / 14-12
11 David Walker 5 / 14- 2 5 / 14- 2
12 Josh Bertrand 5 / 13-14 5 / 13-14
13 Edwin Evers 4 / 13-12 4 / 13-12
14 James Elam 5 / 13-11 5 / 13-11
15 James Watson 5 / 13-10 5 / 13-10
16 Aaron Martens 5 / 13- 8 5 / 13- 8
17 Micah Frazier 5 / 13- 2 5 / 13- 2
18 Brandon Lester 5 / 12-15 5 / 12-15
19 Keith Combs 5 / 12-14 5 / 12-14
20 Brandon Card 5 / 12-12 5 / 12-12
21 Skeet Reese 3 / 12-12 3 / 12-12
22 Dean Rojas 5 / 12- 7 5 / 12- 7
23 Brandon Palaniuk4 / 12- 7 4 / 12- 7
24 Chris Dillow 3 / 12- 7 3 / 12- 7
25 Thomas Martens 3 / 11-12 3 / 11-12
26 Bernie Schultz 4 / 11-10 4 / 11-10
27 Bobby Lane Jr. 4 / 11- 2 4 / 11- 2
28 Ott DeFoe 5 / 11- 1 5 / 11- 1
28 Chris Lane 5 / 11- 1 5 / 11- 1
30 Brent Ehrler 3 / 10-13 3 / 10-13
31 Gene Bishop Jr 3 / 8-14 3 / 8-14
32 Boyd Duckett 3 / 8- 8 3 / 8- 8
33 Brandon McMillan4 / 8- 3 4 / 8- 3
34 Russ Lane 3 / 8- 1 3 / 8- 1
35 Clifford Pirch 3 / 7-15 3 / 7-15
36 Justin Lucas 3 / 7-14 3 / 7-14
36 Kevin VanDam 3 / 7-14 3 / 7-14
38 Mark Davis 3 / 7-10 3 / 7-10
39 John Proctor 3 / 7- 6 3 / 7- 6
40 John Crews Jr 3 / 7- 2 3 / 7- 2
41 Albert Collins 2 / 6-12 2 / 6-12
42 Brett Hite 2 / 6- 8 2 / 6- 8
43 Jordan Lee 2 / 6- 0 2 / 6- 0
44 Charles Sim 2 / 4- 6 2 / 4- 6
45 Fabian Rodriguez1 / 4- 2 1 / 4- 2
46 Greg Vance 1 / 3- 1 1 / 3- 1
47 Jacob Powroznik 2 / 3- 0 2 / 3- 0
48 Michael Iaconelli1 / 2-13 1 / 2-13
49 Whitney Stephens1 / 2- 1 1 / 2- 1
50 Chad Pipkens 1 / 2- 0 1 / 2- 0
51 Billy McCaghren Jr1 / 1- 7 1 / 1- 7
52 Trevor Lo 0 / 0- 0
52 Levi McNeill 0 / 0- 0
52 Chad Morgenthaler0 / 0- 0
52 Chris Zaldain 0 / 0- 0