Open: Reehm leads Day 1

RIDGELAND, Miss. — While most everyone focused on catching bass in various spawning stages, Clark Reehm did the opposite. On Ross Barnett Reservoir, Reehm intentionally avoided spawning bass, and that helped him take the lead at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open.

Reehm’s limit of 20 pounds, 15 ounces leads over Caleb Sumrall’s second-place catch of 19-8. Fred Roumbanis is third with 18-8, and Brad Whatley is fourth with 18-5.

Most impressive is what Reehm is not doing. Normally, playing the spawning card is a wise move. Bigger bass are shallower and easier to catch, but those same fish can be unreliable under suddenly changing weather conditions. Both scenarios have panned out.

“I am looking for largemouth that are unaffected by the weather,” said Reehm, of Elm Grove, La. “A cold front like we had this morning can completely change a spawning bite.”

Actively feeding bass are his target. That is a smart move for obvious reasons.

“If they are hungry, they will bite,” he saud. “Twelve months of the year fish will be hungry, so why bother chasing those doing anything else?”

Reehm proved the point after catching the big bass of the day — a largemouth weighing 8-1 — on his third cast, and he did that in a crowded area. If no one catches a heavier bass by the end of competition Saturday, Reehm will win the Phoenix Boats big bass award of $750.

“I’m not at all concerned about the fishing pressure because I’m using something different,” he said.

What that something different is remains a mystery, although a “reaction lure” capable of triggering strikes is a logical assumption.

Searching for new water is a daunting task when beginning a tournament, but that forced move paid off for Sumrall. Incoming cloud cover made the gamble worth the risk.

“The clouds turned on a big bass bite for me as I moved along,” said Sumrall, of New Iberia, La. “I’m fishing what I know because it’s my first experience here.”

Moving along meant using a lure capable of covering water, stimulating a reaction bite along the way. That may change with Friday’s weather, and Sumrall plans to be ready. Fishing with an open mind, as he did today, is the game plan.

“Hopefully, I can take what I found today and expand on it tomorrow, given the adjustments,” said Sumrall, who earned paid entry fees for the Opens after winning the 2017 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

While cloud cover benefited Sumrall, it hindered Roumbanis.

“It made it worse, scattering my fish,” he admitted. “I’m running a lot of areas and the change forced me to figure their next move as I went along.”

Anticipating where his fish will move next and remaining confident in the lure choice will be his focus Friday.

“The water is dropping, and that has the fish on the move, so I plan to adjust accordingly,” said Roumbanis, of Russellville, Ark.

The sudden wave of rain and falling temperatures triggered good thinking by Whatley.

“When the front came through at 9 o’clock this morning it changed my presentation, and it will again tomorrow,” said Whatley, of Bivins, Texas.

“Slowing down was all it took to stay in the game,” he added. “After I slowed down my day got better.”

Whatley also has a good idea of where his chosen fish are in the spawning cycle. Should conditions change Friday, he’ll try to adjust accordingly. Whaley said he’s confident the same lure will continue to produce, although working it even slower might be necessary.

Rapidly changing weather conditions were a challenge to most of the field, and that should be the case again Friday. Air temperatures plummeted from a high of 85 degrees on Wednesday to 55 by Thursday’s weigh-in. With the chill came more rain, adding to abnormally high precipitation in previous days. Sunny skies and much cooler temperatures are forecast for the second round of fishing.

Justin Leet of Memphis, Tenn., leads the co-angler division with a three-bass limit weighing 13-4. Larry Savell Jr., holds down second with 12-11, and Bob Burgess of Millington, Tenn., is third with 9-13.

This season’s Opens circuit features the Central and Eastern divisions with four tournaments apiece. The season concludes with an Opens Championship that will be held Oct. 18-20 at a location yet to be announced.

The championship field will include the eight winners from the Opens tournaments along with the Top 10 anglers in the point standings from each division. The 28 competitors will fish for invitations to the 2019 Elite Series and Classic.

Takeoff time is 6:15 a.m. CT from Madison Landing/Pelican Cove Restaurant with weigh-in beginning at 2:15 p.m. on Friday. The championship weigh-in begins Saturday at 3:15 p.m. Location is Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in the Jackson suburb of Pearl.

Local event host is Visit Ridgeland.

Originally posted on Bassmaster Go to Source
Author: Craig Lamb

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