HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Boater Jason Grape of Southside, Ala., landed five bass weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces Thursday to lead day one of the 2010 BFL All-American presented by Chevy on DeGray Lake. He holds a 4-pound, 1-ounce lead in the tournament featuring the top 55 BFL boaters and 55 BFL co-anglers from across the country.
“I may go from hero to zero tomorrow,” said Grape, who is a salesman appearing in his first ever All-American. “I live and die by the jig and don’t plan to change anything for tomorrow. I got really lucky today and was fortunate enough to land some pretty decent fish. My goal was to catch five fish, I never expected to land in first place.
“I had a really good practice and located an area that is loaded with some good sized fish. I am pretty much fishing in the same area, just rotating between three different spots. I am not sure if it will hold up, but I’m going to try it again tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.”
Normally fishing the BFL Choo Choo Division, Grape qualified for the All-American by winning the BFL Wild Card presented by Chevy. He said that he was fishing deep, in about 25-30 feet of water using a Bo’s jig. All his fish today were largemouths with the largest weighing about 5 pounds.
Troy Morrow of Toccoa, Ga., trails Grape in the No. 2 spot with five bass weighing 13-12. Morrow fishes the Savannah River Division and is appearing in his second All-American.
“I can still see the ones that got away,” said the self-employed Morrow. “I had two missed opportunities that are probably going to come back and haunt me and in a tournament of this magnitude you just can’t make mistakes. We had a slow start and worked all day. I covered a lot of water and fished every which way you can imagine; it was tough out there.”
Rounding out the remainder of the top-10 boaters after day one at DeGray Lake are:
3rd: Brad Hallman, Norman, Okla., five bass, 13-6
4th: Shonn Goodwin, Moore, Okla., five bass, 12-6
5th: Jay Brewer, Collinwood, Tenn., four bass, 11-8
6th: Keith Green, Arkadelphia, Ark., five bass, 11-5
7th: Richie Eaves, Nauvoo, Ill., five bass, 10-14
8th: Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum, Idaho, five bass, 10-7
9th: Ryan Deal, Haubstadt, Ind., five bass, 9-4
10th: Charles Cummings, Leeds, Ala., five bass, 9-3
Adding to the challenge of the All-American are the slot limits in place; all fish must be a minimum 12 inches, largemouth between 13 – 16 inches must be released immediately, and they can only have two smallmouth in their bag per day. Many anglers walked across the stage saying that those slot limits have really hurt them.
Overall there were 155 bass weighing 319 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 55 boaters Thursday. The catch included 12 five-bass limits.
Boaters in the All-American are competing for up to $130,000 plus a spot in the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.
Ben Due of Mauston, Wis., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 11-10 followed by David Hamilton of Rogers, Ark., in second place with four bass weighing 9-15.
“My knees are still shaking,” said Due, who fishes in the BFL Great Lakes Division. “By the end of the day a lot of the boaters figured out how to catch the fish which will put many co-anglers in great position to do well tomorrow.
“We were fishing fairly deep, about 15-20 feet, outside spawning areas. Most of the fish were in a holding pattern. I was using a Carolina rig with a green pumpkin baby brush hog to land all my fish.
Due caught his bass fishing with pro Patrick Bone of Cleveland, Ga., who is currently in 32nd place with three bass weighing 4-15.
The remainder of the top-10 co-anglers are:
3rd: Ray Holloway, Snellville, Ga., three bass, 6
4th: Boyd Golightly, Preston, Idaho, five bass, 5-13
4th: George Hirapetian, Charlotte, N.C., two bass, 5-13
6th: Rollie Truehl, Deforest, Wis., two bass, 5-9
7th: Mike D’Angelo, Jr., Remlap, Ala., three bass, 5-2
7th: Ryan Ollard, Pell City, Ala., two bass, 5-2
9th: Martin Wallace, Lexington, Ky., two bass, 4-10
10th: Mike Lemons, Huntington, W.Va., three bass, 4-8
Overall there were 80 bass weighing 146 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 55 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included only two five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are competing this week for up to $60,000 and for a coveted spot in the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off from Spillway Ramp located at 284 Skyline Drive in Arkadelphia at 7 each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the Summit Arena beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s final weigh-in will begin at 3 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. 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 BFL All-American tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air Nov. 28 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.