Day 1 of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. event at Truman Lake went mostly as expected, with limits being fairly hard to come by for much of the field. What was surprising was the supremacy of Minnesota – Kyle Schutta tallied an even 18 pounds for the lead, with fellow Minnesotan Kyle Minke right behind in second. Behind the northerners, Brock Reinkemeyer bagged 16-14 for third and is one of a number of stout locals who’ll likely keep the heat on the leaders as the event goes on.
Schutta’s Day 1 success did not come easily, and he had to overcome quite a bit of adversity to land at the top of the leaderboard.
“The day was trying, it was actually a really tough day of fishing,” Schutta said. “I had one really good flurry around mid-day, and put four keepers in the boat at that point.”
Fishing hours from home on a new body of water, he had to adapt quickly and find new spots—while competing against locals who call this lake home.
“I don’t know this lake at all, I burned a lot of my water,” Schutta said. “I’m buzzing all over—I’m burning up a good amount of gas and fishing all the creeks.”
With plentiful cover but bites being few and far between, Schutta was forced to slow down when he did find a good spot.
“We were grinding, we weren’t moving very fast,” Schutta said. “I felt like I went through areas where I should’ve got more bites than I did and even when I got a bite it took a while to coax them into it.”
He was hesitant to give up too many secrets on Day 1, noting that low-water conditions have the lake fishing fairly small—especially in his key areas.
“A lot of my stuff is getting hit by other anglers,” Schutta said. “You just have to outfish them. I think tomorrow is going to be really tough.”
Schutta is tentative about his ability to back up his performance on Day 1, but with other anglers facing the same tough conditions, a solid limit could keep him in contention to make a Top 25 cut and compete on Saturday for the win.
“My day looks good on paper, but it was really far from a great day,” Schutta said. “I’m definitely nervous about tomorrow but excited to get back out there.”
Schutta will have the chance to back up his performance tomorrow, as anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CT from Sterett Creek Resort and Marina in Warsaw. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 3 p.m. CT each day. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the action online through the live weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage.
1. Kyle Schutta – 18 – 0 (5)
2. Kyle Minke – 17 – 5 (5)
3. Brock Reinkemeyer – 16 – 14 (5)
4. Chris Savoie – 15 – 10 (5)
5. Brad Jelinek – 15 – 5 (5)
6. Austin Culbertson – 15 – 3 (5)
7. Zach Crider – 15 – 0 (5)
8. Kevin Smith – 14 – 11 (5)
9. Chris Bridges – 14 – 6 (5)
10. BJ Miller – 14 – 1 (5)
As the only Strike King co-angler to bag a five-bass limit, Kevin Hesson of Seneca, Pennsylvania took a commanding lead with 11-7 on Day 1. Rounding out the top three are Troy Karafa with 9-7 on four fish and Tate Brumnett with 8-5 on just three bass.
Hesson was quickly rewarded for making the 14-hour drive from Pennsylvania, catching three quick fish around 7:30 a.m. and never looking back.
“Everyone else seemed to be pretty disappointed with the bite, but it ended up being the perfect day for me,” Hesson said. “We caught fish all day long and had over 25 fish each, it was a blast.”
Looking to make the Toyota Series Championship out of the Wild Card division has brought Hesson hallway across the country, but he doesn’t want to get to Guntersville just for the bass. Hesson is on a mission for his mother, hoping to bring home a championship and prize money to cover her medical expenses.
“My mom is in need of a kidney transplant, and I’m trying to make the championship for her,” Hesson said. “Looking at the points I realized that even if I finished at the top of the next Northern Division event, I wouldn’t qualify for the championship. That meant I needed to fish Truman and then make my way to Massena to qualify.”
No matter what, his parents are sure to be proud of his Day 1 start–including his dad who helped him make the drive–stopping only for food and gas.
“I was blessed with a good pro today, and have already talked to my boater for tomorrow,” Hesson said. “He’s excited for me, and I’m looking forward to getting back out after them again.”
1. Kevin Hesson – 11 – 7 (5)
2. Troy Karafa – 9 – 7 (4)
3. Tate Brumnett – 8 – 5 (3)
4. Steve Duncan – 7 – 4 (3)
5. Scott Hill – 7 – 1 (3)
6. Mark Horton – 6 – 12 (3)
7. Jason Sandidge – 6 – 9 (3)
7. Bart Burford – 6 – 9 (2)
9. J P Northcutt – 6 – 4 (2)
10. Dewey Larson – 6 – 0 (3)
10. Dan Bowman – 6 – 0 (2)