FLW Press Release
DAYTON, Tenn. – Day one of the Walmart FLW Tour finale on Lake Chickamauga was supposed to be filled with drama. Instead, Eufaula champion Randy Haynes returned to the deep ledges and quickly reasserted his dominance while Andy Morgan took a major step towards claiming his first Angler of the Year title.
|Haynes lead a huge pack of anglers|
mining the off-shore bite.
“I caught around a dozen keepers today, all largemouths,” said Haynes, who is quickly garnering a reputation as one of the best deep sticks in the sport. “A lot of them were pretty small, though. The smallest fish that I weighed in today was 3 pounds, which was kind of disappointing considering I had three over 5 (pounds).”
Haynes said that he was fishing 10 different schools, rotating throughout the day. While he visited Chickamauga for a few days of prepractice, he doesn’t have any water all to himself.
“I think that the areas that I am fishing are all pretty obvious,” Haynes added. “It’s real crowded out there. I was boat No. 50 this morning but several of the places I wanted to start on were already covered up.”
The humble Haynes was characteristically reticent about patterns and baits, but it’s clear he’s fishing offshore. He did say he experienced several flurries throughout the day, but that his bigger bites were solo fish that came at random times.
“I don’t know what I’m doing differently. I’m just doing what I do. This one is going to be a tough tournament. I really think it could wear out tomorrow.”
Haynes’ official weight registered 23 pounds, 8 ounces.
Morgan takes control as Thrift, Powroznik, Ehrler stumble
Morgan couldn’t have written the AOY script any better on day one. While he caught a workmanlike 18 pounds, 1 ounce, his biggest threats struggled. Unofficially, Stetson Blaylock, who came into the tournament 32 points behind Morgan, is now in second. But if Morgan catches a mediocre 14 or 15 pounds tomorrow, the 2013 AOY race is all but over. The hometown hero currently sits in 22nd while Blaylock is 14th, unofficially 24 points behind.
“Today really went smooth,” said Morgan. “I visited a bunch of places, fished real slow and it all worked out. It could be a whole lot worse, but it could also be a little better. But I’m happy with that and I feel like I’m on pace to catch some more fish.”
Morgan said he doesn’t consciously think about AOY or what he’ll need to catch tomorrow, instead focusing on making the cut and possibly making a run at winning the tournament.
“It would great to win Angler of the Year right here in the hills and hollers of east Tennessee.”
Dan Morehead was ecstatic with his 23-pound, 7-ounce opening-day effort. Barring a colossal meltdown on day two, the Kentucky pro punched his ticket to his 13th Forrest Wood Cup.
“I’m not catching a lot of keepers, but when I get a bite, it’s a quality bite,” said Morehead, who weighed all largemouths.
Known for his ledge prowess on Kentucky Lake, Morehead wouldn’t reveal how he’s catching his Chickamauga fish. He did say he stayed on one spot all day and, had just two rods on the deck and that no one came in on him.
“I made a long run this morning and then I caught my limit early – like in 45 minutes to an hour. Then I went a few hours without a bite and thought about leaving. But I knew there were big ones there so I never left.”
Morehead thinks he can duplicate his day-one success if he receives cooperation from other anglers.
“If the guys will honor my spot, I think I can catch them again. I figure if I catch about 7 pounds tomorrow I’ll get a big check and I’ll make the Cup. I’ve won a lot of titles in bass fishing, but I have yet to win that Cup. It might darn-near kill me, but I will win that Cup.”
Third-place pro Casey Martin shared an offshore area with Mark Rose and JT Kenney, but still caught a 22-pound, 15-ounce limit. Coming in to the event, Martin sat 54th in the points race and figured he needed somewhere around a top-10 to make the Cup in his rookie season.
“I knew there were enough fish there to go around and Mark was nice enough to wave me in,” said the New Market, Ala., pro, who left the dock this morning as boat No. 76.
While Martin caught his limit on the shared spot, he upgraded two times elsewhere.
“That main spot is a school of 2 1/2-to 4-pounders and they’re all pretty much suspended fish. It’s a ledge in 15 feet of water that drops into 25 feet. This lake is setting up exactly like Guntersville right now.”
Martin said he’s throwing a Strike King 10XD crankbait and a 3/4-ounce Omega football jig with a Paca Craw.
“I just hope we can get on it again,” Martin said of his main spot. “I did some idling around and I like some other stuff, but I really want to start there. I’m the first of the three, but a lot of people drove by us today.”
In fourth place is Rose, the TVA ledge master. While Martin was intimidated this morning while joining the three-man group, Rose welcomed him as he knew Martin had found the area on his own.
“Yeah, there are boats all around me, but I’m on the Tennessee River in the summertime; I’m in my element,” said the Walmart pro. “I’m right where I want to be, I just wish I had a few areas to myself. Everything I got, everybody knows about. I’m basically just trying to out-fish everybody and that isn’t easy.”
Rose estimates he caught 15 keepers on the day. His key baits were a Strike King 10XD and a 3/4-ounce Strike King football jig with a Rage Craw trailer.
“Hopefully I can get back on my primary area tomorrow. I’ve got some other places where I can punt, but I really don’t want to.”
Rose’s best five weighed 22 pounds, 12 ounces.
Rounding out the top five was Bill Day of Frankfurt, Ky., with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 11 ounces. Anchoring Day’s stringer was an 8-pound, 13-ounce giant, the 3M ScotchBlue Big Bass of the day.
“There were a couple of other guys there and one saw me catch the big one," Day said. "That's OK. It was exciting. I've had a rough year and today was a blast.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros on Lake Chickamauga after day one:
6th: Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., five bass, 22-10
7th: Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 22-3
8th: Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., five bass, 20-8
9th: Tom Redington of Royse City, Texas, five bass, 20-6
10th: Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., five bass, 20-2