EUFAULA, Ala. (May 16, 2013) – In the practice days leading up to the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Eufaula presented by Straight Talk Wireless, many pros debated whether the winning pattern would be found by fishing shallow waters or fishing the ledges out deep. After a tough day one, pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala., proved everyone correct by combining the two patterns and producing a solid five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. He now holds a slim 3-ounce lead heading into day two of the four-day competition featuring the world’s best bass-fishing anglers vying for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I don’t think anyone was expecting the morning to fish the way it did,” said Lucas, who has amassed more than $460,000 in earnings with FLW. “The clouds rolled in and stayed for a long time. It really prolonged the morning bite.”
Lucas used the cloud cover to his advantage and boated an estimated 16 to 17 pounds in the first 90 minutes of competition. He chose not to divulge his shallow-water tactics, but did say that fishing slowly was important. He was able to catch one fish that he had located in practice off of a bed, and also caught a 5-pounder throwing a frog on a random piece of grass.
“I caught 17 or 18 pounds shallow, and then I went out deep to what I feel is like a magic spot,” Lucas said. “It’s an offshore area that I found in practice. It’s a hard spot, out in the middle of nowhere, about 5 to 8 feet deep. They’ve got nothing else to go to out there, so it’s a magnet for them.”
Lucas said he targeted the ledge with a Lucky Craft LC 2.5 DD crankbait, and he was able to cull three or four times in the afternoon.
“I tried throwing a Carolina rig, but I never had a bite on it,” Lucas said.
Lucas said that he caught 10 to 12 keeper bass throughout the day, but he located several bed fish that may help him tomorrow.
“I didn’t want to catch them today because they wouldn’t have helped my weight,” Lucas said. “I just marked them and moved on. I’ll save them for tomorrow. I actually found a couple of more offshore spots in the last hour of the day today as well. We caught a few keepers off of them, so tomorrow that may be something I target. I only had one offshore area this morning, but now I have three or four. I just went fishing today. Tomorrow, I’m going to do the same thing.”
The top 10 pros after day one on Lake Eufaula are:
1st: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 22-6
2nd: Joe Don Setina, Pittsburg, Texas, five bass, 22-3
3rd: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 20-6
4th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 19-15
5th: Keystone Light pro Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 19-14
6th: Todd Hollowell, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 18-6
7th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 18-4
8th: Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 17-13
9th: Keystone Light pro Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., five bass, 17-12
10th: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 17-3
10th: Tommy Martin, Hemphill, Texas, five bass, 17-3
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Scott Martin won the 3M ScotchBlue Big Bass Award on the pro side with a fish weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces worth $500.
Overall there were 593 bass weighing 1,515 pounds even caught by 155 pros Thursday. The catch included 82 five-bass limits.
Pro Kevin Stewart of Elk Grove, Calif., and co-angler Grant Holderman, of Augusta, Kan. had their day one weights zeroed after they inadvertently fished in an area designated as off-limits for competition.
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.
Jason Johnson of Gainesville, Ga., leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 3 ounces followed by Richard Peek of Centre, Ala., in second place with five bass weighing 14-9.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Jason Johnson, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 15-3
2nd: Richard Peek, Centre, Ala, five bass, 14-9
3rd: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., five bass, 14-7
4th: Kenny Moser, Alba, Texas, five bass, 12-10
5th: Keeton Blaylock, Benton, Ark., five bass, 12-8
6th: Mark Horton, Nicholasville, Ky., five bass, 11-10
7th: Justin Jones, Apex, N.C., five bass, 11-8
8th: Andrew Owens, Dividing Creek, N.J., five bass, 11-6
9th: John Devries, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 11-3
10th: Randy Clark, Pascagoula, Miss., five bass, 11-1
10th: James Mignanelli, Harmony, Pa., three bass, 11-1
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Peek caught Thursday’s 3M Peltor Big Bass weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 244 bass weighing 551 pounds, 7 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 12 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 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Lakepoint Resort State Park located at 104 Lakepoint Drive in Eufaula at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at Lakepoint Resort State Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 3176 S. Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Lake Eufaula tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 23 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.