Cook Cracks 28-9 on Day 1 at Santee Cooper - Major League Fishing
Cook Cracks 28-9 on Day 1 at Santee Cooper
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Cook Cracks 28-9 on Day 1 at Santee Cooper

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April 7, 2022 • Brenden Kanies • Toyota Series

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Day 1 of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Southern Division event on Santee Cooper featured a lot of highs and lows, with excellent top-end weights and struggles for quantity at the bottom. In the lead, local Bryan Cook of Vance, S.C., weighed 28 pounds, 9 ounces to set the pace. Behind him, Matt Wieteha and Zach Crider both topped the 24-pound mark, and the rest of the Top 10 all caught 20 pounds or better.

The scales weren’t the only thing rocking, as high winds produced challenging conditions for anglers to navigate. Broken graph brackets and sore necks seemed more prevalent than full limits for some flights. Despite a back preexisting injury, Cook was able to ride the waves and come out leading the pack on Day 1.

“We took it slow and just enjoyed the day,” said Cook. “We never went over 40 mph. When it’s windy, you just gotta take it easy and enjoy it.”

Sticking to the slow lane didn’t stop Cook from hitting several key areas – fishing in both Marion and Moultrie.

“I fished from mid-upper lake to the top portion of the lower lake,” he said. “I covered a lot of water today. Around 9:00 the bite picked up, and around 1:00 I had what I weighed, so I went practicing for the next few days.”

The multi-day tournament and heavy local pressure kept Cook from giving up all of his secrets on Day 1. With fish positioned across different stages of the spawn and plenty of cover, it truly is “dealer’s choice” when it comes to presentations. Getting the cards to fall in your favor, however, is another matter.

“Santee is weird,” Cook said. “You can hero one day and zero the next. I’m just going to do what I do and go fishing.”

Day 2 Already Postponed

Due to wind, Tournament Director Leroy Hensley has already made the call to postpone Day 2 of the event. Now, weather permitting, the full field will compete on Saturday to decide a winner in two days of competition instead of three.

Top 10 Pros

1. Bryan Cook – 28 – 09 (5)    

2. Matt Wieteha – 25 – 02 (5)

3. Zach Crider – 24 – 05 (5)    

4. Joel Richardson – 22 – 11 (5)         

5. Marshall Robinson – 21 – 10 (5)    

6. Johnny McCombs – 21 – 03 (5)      

7. Kyle Austin – 20 – 09 (5)     

8. Kyle Glasgow – 20 – 05 (5) 

9. Danny L. Shanz – 20 – 03 (5)          

10. Lee Stalvey – 20 – 02 (5)   

Complete Results

Bond Takes Day 1 Strike King Co-Angler Lead

Georgia native Andy Bond secured the top Strike King co-angler spot on Day 1 at Santee Cooper with four fish for 18-2, besting Rodney Tapp (18-3) and Lonnie Drusch (17-10) to round out the top three. With forecasted high winds canceling Day 2, Bond will only need to protect his lead for one more day.

While this is his first visit to Santee, Bond proved to be a quick learner, focusing on some key factors he picked up in practice.

“I was fishing real slow,” he said. “After my practice, I knew I needed to pace myself and slow down. I’m just dragging along and hitting the spots my pro isn’t.”

Fishing slow allowed Bond to come out to a fast start.

“It started good this morning, I had my first two before 9 o’clock,” he said. “Then the wind came in and we moved back to some cypress trees. The fish came right up into this one little opening in the shallows.”

While he may have had a tailwind to start the morning, the treacherous conditions shortened Bond’s tournament day, keeping him one fish below a full limit.

“The wind wasn’t bad on the way out, but coming back in it was pretty rough,” he said. “We had to leave at least an hour earlier to make it back in time.”

With the anglers on the bank and waiting out the wind on Friday, we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out if Bond can put together four (or five!) more Santee giants to take home the title.

Top 10 Strike King Co-Anglers

1. Andy Bond – 18 – 12 (4)                                                                      

2. Rodney Tapp – 18 – 03 (4)                                                                   

3. Lonnie Drusch – 17 – 10 (5)                                                                 

4. Michael Daniels – 15 – 04 (4)                                                               

5. Brennan Gunther – 14 – 10 (5)                                                             

6. Kevin Richbourg – 14 – 05 (4)                                                             

7. Joey Diaz – 13 – 10 (5)                                                                         

8. Frank Lauria – 13 – 06 (4)                                                                    

9. Doug Wooldridge – 12 – 08 (5)                                                            

10. Roger Phillips – 12 – 07 (5)

Complete Results