KISSIMMEE, Fla. — He wasn’t wearing track shoes, but Daniel Lanier Jr. of Winter Springs, Fla., is running away from the rest of the field at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Central Florida. He leads 197 other pros with 27 pounds, 11 ounces. His closest challenger is two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Tracy Adams of North Carolina who is more than 9 pounds back with 18-7.
Dreams of 30-pound catches and a new B.A.S.S. three-day catch record are mostly out the window after a cold front passed through the night before competition began. Water temperatures dipped, the wind blew, and the water muddied. The result? Fishing was challenging; catching was downright difficult.
“I caught ’em early,” said Lanier, whose best finish in six previous Bassmaster Opens was fifth on the same body of water in 2011. “Most of my best fish came out of 4 or 5 feet of water on topwater baits.”
Lanier also had the biggest bass on the pro side of the tournament with a 9-11 largemouth. A co-angler, Alabama’s Johnny Pittman, leads the race for Carhartt Big Bass honors with 10-4.
Lanier was understandably reluctant to share too much information after the first day. There are still two more days of fishing lbefore a champion is crowned. At stake for the winner is $10,000 plus a Skeeter boat and Yamaha motor combo, critical points toward a spot in the Bassmaster Elite Series and a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic for a champion who competes in all three Southern Opens this season.
Tied for third place are Elite Series pro Derek Remitz and former Elite angler Todd Auten with 18-1. More than half of Remitz’s catch came from one bass, and the Alabama pro is skeptical of his chances at a repeat performance in the second round. “I’m fishing every piece of cover that’s in front of me,” he said. “If it gets colder, I’ll probably go flipping and pitching the heaviest cover I can find.”
Michael Murphy is in fifth place with five bass weighing 17-6. “I caught one off a bed today,” he said. “A lot of my shallow fish are going away. I’m mostly flipping and pitching matted vegetation with a Texas rigged Reins soft plastic bait behind a 2-ounce Reins tungsten sinker. It seems like the better fish are burying up in the heaviest cover.”
On the co-angler side, Pittman leads the way with 19-1, anchored by the day’s biggest bass. The top co-angler in the tournament will win a Triton boat and Mercury motor combo.
All 198 pros and 198 co-anglers will be back for the second round on Friday. After that, the field will be cut to the Top 12 anglers in each division.
2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Boat U.S., Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Luck “E” Strike, Power-Pole. Shimano About B.A.S.S. For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.
The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com and ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, B.A.S.S. Nation events and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.
2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open Lake Toho 1/31-2/2
Lake Toho, Kissimmee FL.
(BOATER) Standings Day 1
Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts
1. Daniel Lanier Jr. Winter Springs, FL 5 27-11 198
Day 1: 5 27-11
2. Tracy Adams Wilkesboro, NC 5 18-07 197
Day 1: 5 18-07
3. Todd Auten Lake Wylie, SC 5 18-01 196
Day 1: 5 18-01
3. Derek Remitz Grant, AL 5 18-01 196
Day 1: 5 18-01
5. Michael Murphy Lexington, SC 5 17-06 194
Day 1: 5 17-06
6. Brandon Lester Fayetteville, TN 5 16-14 193
Day 1: 5 16-14
7. Jamey Caldwell Carthage, NC 5 16-09 192
Day 1: 5 16-09
7. Skip Johnson Wales, MI 5 16-09 192
Day 1: 5 16-09
9. Darrell Pons Gainesville, FL 5 16-08 190
Day 1: 5 16-08
10. Will Evans Winter Haven, FL 5 16-05 189
Day 1: 5 16-05