After an hour-and-a-half fog delay Wednesday morning, anglers hit the water for the FLW Tour’s Chevy Open. Later that afternoon, Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., and Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark., both crossed the stage with five-bass limits weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce to lead day one on Lake Ouachita. They now hold a six-ounce lead over pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., with five bass weighing 17-11 in a tournament featuring anglers from all across the country.
“I tried to stay shallow most of the morning,” said Auten, who has won more than $235,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. “I fished a lot of topwater and a little bit of crankbaits here and there. It was a slow bite all day and a grind, but I stuck with the topwater all day, and I think that’s what helped me.”
Auten said he caught “nine or 10” keepers throughout the course of the day and said he saw the most bites every time clouds covered the water.
“You just had to be in the right place at the right time,” Auten said. “If you could get back in a little pocket with a little shade it would help. It seems like you had to have a little piece of structure there to hold the fish.”
Auten said falling water levels seemed to help him target cruising fish that were keying in on pieces of structure.
“I fished a place a couple of times today and caught my biggest one on the second time by,” Auten said. “It’s just timing and making the right casts. Hopefully one will get it.”
Bolton said he had a rough go of it on the first day of competition, as he weighed in two fish that perished and cost him a 1-pound penalty. He said he fished two offshore spots with familiar techniques, much as he would on his native Kentucky Lake.
“I kind of figured out where I made my mistakes in practice,” said Bolton, who has won more than $728,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. “I think I kind of understand sort of what’s going on. They’re coming out, but their stopping points are a little different. It may have something to do with this water being higher.
“I caught a ton of fish, and I may not catch a bass tomorrow, but I was really on a lot more than I thought,” Bolton added. “I was fortunate to get the good bites and to get them all in. I’m still having trouble in the afternoons, but the mornings (have) been good. I was pretty well done by 11 o’clock and I got there at 8:30. It was a good day. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. At least I feel a lot better about it than I did.”
Rounding out the top-10 pros after day one on Lake Ouachita are:
4th: Keith Monson, Burgin, Ky., five bass, 16-0
5th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 15-6
6th: Jacob Powroznik, Prince George, Va., five bass, 15-5
7th: Chad Brauer, Osage Beach, Mo., five bass, 15-3
8th: Rusty Salewske, Alpine, Calif., five bass, 14-7
9th: Ishama Monroe, Hughson, Calif., five bass, 14-5
10th: Tim Klinger, Boulder City, Nev., five bass, 14-3
Overall there were 563 bass weighing 1,217 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 136 pros Thursday. The catch included 82 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 Forrest Wood Cup which will be held Aug. 5-8 at Lake Lanier in Atlanta, Ga., where they could win as much as $600,000 – the sport’s biggest award.
Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 12-1 followed by Steve Reed of Bonita, Calif., in second place with five bass weighing 11-4.
Rodgers took the early lead in the tournament while fishing with James Christian of Dickson, Tenn., who is currently in 85th place with four bass weighing 7-12.
Rounding out the top-10 Co-anglers are:
3rd: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., three bass, 9-15
4th: Spender Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., five bass, 9-14
5th: Mark Denney, Cottontown, Tenn., five bass, 9-11
6th: Michael Brunson, Dubberly, La., three bass, 9-8
7th: Cory Leonard, Castalia, N.C., four bass, 9-2
8th: Ken Keirsey, Owasso, Okla., three bass, 8-1
9th: Elton Cleveland, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 7-14
10th: Alan Hults, Gautier, Miss., five bass, 7-11
Overall there were 244 bass weighing 449 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 104 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included six five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off from Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa located at 994 Mountain Harbor Rd. in Mount Ida, Ark., at 6:30 each morning. Thursday and Friday weigh-ins will also be held at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center located at 134 Convention Blvd. in Hot Springs beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Hot Springs Convention Center on Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday prior to the final weigh-in from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The final weigh-in will be held at Summit Arena. There will be a drawing for a Can-Am ATV and rod and reel combos will be given to the first 300 kids under 14 in attendance on Saturday. The FLW Outdoors Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events, additional information and to register for the ATV, visit FLWOutdoors.com/chevyopen.
Coverage of the Lake Ouachita tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air June 27 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com.