The third stop of the 2013 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series got underway on beautiful, balmy Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri today. The field of 65 pros and their co-anglers had mixed results with 34 out of 65 pros bringing 5-fish limits to the scales today. Overall, fish were scattered with some fish shallow on the banks, some deep, some schooling on the surface at times, while many others were bunched up and suspended from 10 to 20+ feet down in the water column near docks, brushpiles or other underwater structure.
For many anglers, plenty of fish were showing up on their advanced electronics although coaxing them to bite proved challenging. Quite a few fell short of Table Rock’s 15â€ keeper limit for black, brown and spotted bass, and immediately released.
A feared local angler hero took his place atop the leaderboard. Thirty-eight year old Shane Long of Willard, Missouri leads Day 1 with a 17.53 pound five bass limit anchored by a 6.20 hog. Long won the Bass Prop Shops PAA Series event on Table Rock Lake in October 2010. So he’s in a familiar place here â€“ first place.
â€œIt was a good day,â€ said a satisfied Long. â€œI got lucky and had a six-pounder bite. The others were just nice quality keepers; all good 16- to 17-inch fish, and then I had one big’un which made the difference.â€
Long said he’s just hunting and pecking away at them. â€œI’ve got a lot of brushpiles and I catch a good quality bite out of one every once in a while. I’m just making the rounds and cycling through them all. I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow. I think I’ve got what I’m doing pegged down, but the king-maker is that one big bite that’s just so elusive. Hopefully I’ll get lucky and maybe I’ll get that big bite again tomorrow. We’ll see what happens,â€ said Shane Long.
In second with 15.98 pounds, James Watson from Waynesville, Missouri had a great day today. Watson credited his success to having good batteries because he put his trolling motor on nearly full blast to run as much water as possible, running and gunning all day.
Watson felt good to have gotten a big bag under his belt today. He hopes tomorrow he can catch at least 11 or 12 pounds and stay in the hunt.
â€œI’m going to run all new water tomorrow. My fish are few and far between. What I’m doing requires that I’ve got to run vast amounts of new water every day,â€ said Watson.
In third place with 14.55 pounds, Fred Roumbanis of Bixby Oklahoma said, â€œI got lucky and hit a school of smallmouth this morning that I was able to limit out on. After that, I was able to relax and slow down. I just kept running around and caught fish here and there for the duration. It was the best day I have ever had on Table Rock.â€
â€œCan I go back out tomorrow and back it up? I’m not sure,â€ admitted Fred. â€œI’m reading a certain style of bank and I’m just running around looking for more of that same thing. I feel good about it, but then again, I could only catch 10 pounds tomorrow.â€
Stacey King of Reed Springs, Missouri is in fourth place. His 14.53 pound limit included a 5.30 beauty.
â€œFishing was pretty hard actually, and I really wouldn’t have had such a good stringer if I hadn’t caught that one big one, but that’s the way it works out. I got lucky and got him,â€ said a thankful King.
â€œI’m fishing fairly close (to the launch site) and I’m fishing deep structure primarily. I’m trying to catch shallow fish early in the morning, and then I’m fishing deep structure the rest of the day. I caught six keepers today, and I think I can get some bites tomorrow. We’ll just have to go out and see what happens. I’m going to change a few areas. I’ve got a lot more places I’m going to fish. I’ve fished here all my life, so I know the lake very well and I’m going to change up on some areas but other than that I’ll fish the same way as today. The lures and technique will be the same,â€ explained King.
In fifth with 13.64 on Day 1, Jeff Hager of Alexis, NC said, â€œI got a lot of bites today, probably about 8-9 keeper bites (and I also missed 4-5 keepers) plus I probably caught 15 to 18 short fish. I caught a lot of fish today and had a lot of fun. I was pretty much flipping and swimming a jig all day.â€
The full field fishes Days 1 & 2 while just the top 15 fish the final Day 3. The top 15 in the PAA Tournament Series Angler of Year standings at end of this event qualify for the 2013 Toyota Texas Bass Classic world championship on Lake Conroe in Conroe, TX in October 2013.
The top 15 at the end of Day 1 are:
In 11th, pro Doc Seger of Kimberling City, MO had the biggest bass of Day 1, weighing 6.71 lbs. He’s in the running to win a Humminbird 898 c SI unit (valued at $1,500) which will be awarded to the pro who weighs the overall biggest bass of the event.
For a full list of pro results visit www.FishPAA.com
Wataru Iwahori of Palestine, TX leads the co-angler competition with 3 fish weighing 8.36 lbs. Iwahori credited Game & Fish/Sportsman Magazine pro Tim Carini with putting the pair on good fish all day. Iwahori said he used a relatively new 6-3/4â€ Gary Yamamoto Pro Senko on a shakey jig to coax tight-lipped suspended bass into the boat. He’s followed by Brandon Durr of Republic, MO in second place with 2 fish weighing 6.74 lbs.
Durr also earned the Daily Big Bass award of $250 for weighing the biggest bass (4.72 lbs) on the co-angler side.
For a full list of co-angler results visit www.FishPAA.com