WARSAW, Mo. – A tough bite left many anglers scratching their heads on Day 1 of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. event on Truman Lake, but Minnesota pro Kyle Schutta was able to pull away from the pack with an imposing 18-pound limit caught in a mid-day flurry. Here’s how the rest of the field stacked up behind him.
Fellow Minnesotan Kyle Minke followed Schutta with an impressive limit, getting off to an early start and capitalizing on a few quality fish.
“The morning bite was definitely good,” Minke said. “I never culled in the afternoon. I probably only caught seven keepers today.”
Focusing on visible cover, he is bouncing to a few key spots and taking his time when he finds likely structure.
“I’m fishing pretty slow,” Minke said. “I’m running around a bunch but trying to hit trees and brushpiles—everything you can see.”
He’s happy about his position on Day 1, but unsure if he’ll be able to protect it going into Day 2.
“There’s plenty of people on almost everything I’m fishing—it’s getting pretty competitive out there,” Minke said. “I don’t even know if I can go out and do the same again tomorrow, I’ll be happy if I can go out and get a limit.”
Local legend Brock Reinkemeyer is no stranger to the top of the leaderboard and had no trouble laying a solid foundation for the rest of the week on Day 1. While he was able to find success, he admits today was one of the toughest bites he’s seen lately.
“I was trying to get on a group of fish early so I could catch some and have confidence. I didn’t want to spin out a run all over the place,” Reinkemeyer said. “I went to a couple holes that I haven’t fished in three days, I was saving them hoping I could get one or two bites on them. I pulled up this morning and caught four fish in about 45 minutes. I had to grind for them, I was catching one about every 10 minutes.”
He found that being in a hurry was no use, taking his time around key cover was essential to rounding out a limit.
“When I was on the right spots I’d slow down and pick it apart,” Reinkemeyer said. “You have to because they’re not biting. I threw in the same spot 100 times before I’d finally get one. Everyone is doing similar stuff out here—but it’s the ones who slow down who are going to be more successful.”
Reinkemeyer isn’t as concerned about the competition as other anglers, and seems to be confident in his ability to go out and follow up his Day 1 performance.
“I’m not too worried about other guys hitting the same spots I’m on,” Reinkemeyer said. “I think I have enough options. I have a plan C, D and F.”
Topeka, Kansas resident Chris Savoie was able to overcome a slow start and land a spot in the top five on Day 1.
“It took us a while to get going this morning,” Savoie said. “We were hitting a few key locations, and none of them were really panning out. I had most of them to myself, and started wondering ‘Am I in the wrong spot?’”
Eventually, Savoie and his co-angler were able to pull up to a location where all of the conditions came together. At that point, the action became fast and furious.
“We finally pulled into the right spot where the wind was blowing and shad were coming in,” Savoie said. “We got on a flurry of fish and that made the day.”
Conveying a similar story as others up top, Savoie found it important to hit as many spots as possible, but to move the bait slowly and pick cover apart.
“We were fishing slow, really fast,” he said. “We had to cover a lot of water, but were forced to take it slow when we got there.”
Rounding out the top five, Truman Lake local Brad Jelinek was also able to break the 15-pound mark. He started off Day 1 full-throttle, but was able to let off the gas later in the afternoon.
“I had a pretty good start to slow the nerves down,” Jelinek said. “I had a limit by 8:30, and then culled by a couple ounces a few times. I kept catching more fish about the same size and started laying off of them a bit. I didn’t run to some of my other spots. I know this lake is very tough, especially on a three-day event, and I wanted to leave some open water for myself tomorrow so I can try to make Day 3.”
While he may be saving some fish for the rest of the tournament, that didn’t keep Jelinek from helping fellow competitor and current AOY leader Michael Harlin round out his Day 1 limit.
“Michael is one of my boys,” said Jelinek. “I want to win it just as bad as he does. I know for a fact that if I was in his same spot he would do the same for me. I was on a spot where I was catching 2-pounders that weren’t helping my weight. Instead of someone else hitting it, I told him to come over there and he ended up catching his limit.”
Jelinek notes that while the bite may be tough, there’s many different baits and tactics on the table right now. The difficult part is deciding which one is best for the day.
“Right now you can catch ‘em from zero to 16 feet of water–from the dam all the way up in a creek arm,” Jelinek said. “You just never know when you’re going to get a bite and then you just try and run with it for the day––then tomorrow will be completely different.”