Ledge-fishing was the name of the game Thursday as Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., brought a five-bass limit to the scales weighing 23 pounds, 8 ounces to take the lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga presented by Chevy. Haynes holds a very slim 1-ounce lead over Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., heading into the second of four days of competition in the tournament that features the world’s best bass-fishing anglers casting for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I caught around a dozen keepers today,” said Haynes, who was earned a victory earlier this season at the FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula. “A lot of them were pretty small, though. The smallest fish that I weighed in today was 3 pounds, which was kind of disappointing considering I had three over 5 (pounds).”
Haynes said that he was fishing around 20 different areas, and rotating around to them throughout the day.
“I think that the areas that I am fishing are all obvious,” Haynes said. “It’s real crowded out there. I don’t know what I’m doing differently. I’m just doing what I do.”
Haynes was not ready to divulge his specific baits or the depths that he was targeting. He did say that a few times throughout the day he would have a two or three fish flurry, but that his bigger bites were coming at random times.
“This one is going to be a tough tournament,” said Haynes.
Coming into this tournament, many pros thought that drawing an early takeoff number in the pre-event boat draw would be a key factor. Haynes did not believe his draw had any effect on his day.
“I was boat 54 today. I’ll be boat 90 tomorrow. It really didn’t matter too much,” Haynes said. “Everyone took up the good areas first thing this morning. I think that it’s best just picking one here, one there. I’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow.”
The top 10 pros after day one on Lake Chickamauga are:
1st: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 23-8
2nd: Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 23-7
3rd: Casey Martin, New Market, Ala., five bass, 22-15
4th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., five bass, 22-12
5th: Bill Day, Frankfort, Ky., five bass, 22-11
6th: Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 22-10
7th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 22-3
8th: Rayovac pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., five bass, 20-8
9th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, five bass, 20-6
10th: M&M’s pro Jim Moynagh, Carver, Minn., five bass, 20-2
Day won the 3M ScotchBlue Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday with a fish weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces, worth $500.
Overall there were 600 bass weighing 1,785 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 139 pros Thursday. The catch included 94 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 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River. Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC when “FLW” airs Sept. 29 from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET.
Anglers are also vying for the prestigious 2013 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg’s title that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour events in 2013. Coming into this final tournament of the season for Angler of the Year points, Dayton, Tenn., native Andy Morgan held a nine-point lead over Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C.
Jason Johnson of Gainesville, Ga., leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 8 ounces followed by Shane Winchester of Glasgow, Ky., in second place with five bass weighing 18-11.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Jason Johnson, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 19-8
2nd: Shane Winchester, Glasgow, Ky., five bass, 18-11
3rd: John Kite, Festus, Mo., five bass, 18-7
4th: Brock Mosley, Collinsville, Miss., five bass, 17-0
5th: Josh Smith, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 16-13
6th: Kenny Beale Jr., Blairs, Va., five bass, 16-5
7th: Wesley Watson, Bracey, Va., five bass, 15-12
8th: Mike Hardin Sr., Robertsdale, Ala., five bass, 15-6
9th: Mike Devere, Berea, Ky., five bass, 15-3
10th: Andrew Luxon, Richmond, Ky., five bass, 15-1
Garrett Olivotti of Rockford, Ill., caught Thursday’s 3M Peltor Big Bass weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 374 bass weighing 968 pounds, 2 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 33 five-bass limits.