Stewart ahead after Day 1 at West Point - Major League Fishing

Stewart ahead after Day 1 at West Point

Image for Stewart ahead after Day 1 at West Point
Big largemouth keyed a big day for Louisiana's Tyler Stewart. Photo by Rob Matsuura. Angler: Tyler Stewart.
March 1, 2024 • Jody White • Invitationals

LaGRANGE, Ga. – According to the locals, Day 1 of the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Stop 2 Presented by Suzuki on West Point Lake went about as planned. For Tyler Stewart, it went a lot better than he’d planned.

With 21 pounds, 5 ounces, Stewart is squarely in the lead as the only pro to crack the 20-pound barrier. Still, the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals event is far from over – keeping up the pace figures to be a challenge at West Point, and the rest of the Top 10 is packed pretty tight. 

In second, Derik Hudson sacked 19-3 to get going. Alex Davis sits in third with 18-13 and Troy Stokes is fourth with 17-3. Behind them are a handful of 14- and 15-pound bags, and 12 pounds goes all the way down to 40th – which is really strong for West Point, though there’s obviously very limited recent tournament history for comparison. 

Big largemouth key Stewart’s charge

Tyler Stewart got things started off on the right foot, sacking up 21-5 on Day 1. Photo by Rob Matsuura

Weighing three largemouth over 4 pounds, Stewart turned around a miserable practice in a big way. 

“My roommates are gonna call me ‘sandbagger’ so bad,” Stewart joked. “I told them yesterday that if I have 10 pounds, I’ll be pretty happy. I don’t know if they just bit really good in the rain (today), but it was a lot better than I was expecting.

“It was just one of those days where you couldn’t make a wrong decision,” he said. “I had a terrible practice and just went out with a clear mind and put my head down. I ran into a couple good areas with some big fish and got them in the boat.” 

With West Point representing the smallest lake on the schedule, there’s not much you can do to get away from other anglers. That could be cause for concern as the week goes on, as pressure might get to the fishing in a big way. Still, Stewart hopes he can replicate what worked on Day 1 (maybe not to 20 pounds again, but to some degree). 

“There’s a lot of fish in the areas I’m fishing; I think they could definitely replenish, because fish are moving in and out of those areas,” he said. “I got a lot of bites today that I didn’t hook, fish just slapping the bait and stuff, so I know there’s more fish in the area.”

Worst case, Stewart thinks he’s got some backup spotted bass figured out. 

“This afternoon, I went and targeted some spotted bass,” he said. “I caught four or five and some 2-pounders I had to throw back. My game plan tomorrow is to go and try to catch a few big ones, and if I have to go catch some spots, I don’t know that I will, but I feel like I can.”

Kicker bites also key for Hudson and Davis

Chasing down difference-making largemouth was important on Day 1. Photo by Rob Matsuura

The other top performers both ran into big largemouth to amass their weight, but they did it differently. Hudson spent his day running a spotted bass pattern and came across his kickers along the way. Davis, on the other hand, sought out largemouth specifically.

“In practice, the only thing I could find was a solid spotted bass pattern, and that was just fishing rock transitions with a SPRO RkCrawler,” Hudson said. “It just happened to be, the third spot I pulled up to, I caught a 5-pound largemouth. Then, a little while later, I got to another rock pile, and I looked down on my forward-facing sonar, and I saw a little brush and I saw a dot in it, and I threw my wacky rig over and I caught that other big one.”

On the day, Hudson only weighed two largemouth and had two spotted bass at or around 3 pounds in his creel. So he seems to have a pretty nice safety net beneath him.

Meanwhile, Davis weighed five largemouth, which meant his day went about as good as can be.

“It started off pretty decent – I was going to fish for largemouth for a few hours to hopefully catch one or two, that was the goal. I ended up catching three,” Davis said. “Then, I didn’t have a bite for a long time, so I went and filled my limit with spots. I was trying to catch just one more fish the rest of the day, and I got one just at the end of the day, and it was a 5-pounder. That saved the day.”

Unlike Hudson, Davis is running two separate patterns.

“I’m finesse fishing for spotted bass and power-fishing for largemouth: spinnerbaits, crankbaits, flipping,” he said. “In practice, you’d get one bite every three hours for largemouth, and it was random. Tomorrow, I’m going to try to get a check first, and then worry about catching largemouths.”

Top 10 pros

1. Tyler Stewart – 21 – 5 (5)    

2. Derik Hudson – 19 – 3 (5)   

3. Alex Davis – 18 – 13 (5)            

4. Troy Stokes – 17 – 3 (5)        

5. Brad Jelinek – 15 – 15 (5)      

6. Brock Reinkemeyer – 15 – 8 (5)       

7. Charlie Williams – 15 – 6 (5)               

8. Keith Carson – 15 – 3 (5)     

9. Colby Miller – 14 – 15 (5)        

10. Jake Lawrence – 14 – 13 (5)

Complete results

Fishing Clash AOY

Tackle Warehouse Invitationals anglers will compete throughout the 2024 season for the prestigious Fishing Clash Angler of the Year award and its $50,000 payday. After Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE on Sam RayburnDrew Gill is in the lead.

Fishing Clash – an interactive 3D fishing simulation game that’s played by more than 80 million people worldwide – is the official AOY sponsor of the Bass Pro Tour, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Toyota Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League. You can download Fishing Clash for free in the App Store and on Google Play or log on to for more information.