basss press release
MONROE, La. — Jennifer Carden of Calera, Ala., likes to see her husband in first place. And when she comes to Coby Carden’s events, she usually gets exactly that.
Jennifer surprised Coby by driving all day a couple of years ago with their two kids in tow to the 2013 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional, and he not only led each day but he won the event.
Jennifer and the kids showed up again last night — unexpectedly — and Coby now has the Day 1 lead of the 2014 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Louisiana’s Ouachita River.
|Cody Carden's big bass vaults him into the lead.|
“She likes surprises,” said Coby with a laugh after the first weigh-in of the event. “Let’s hope it works out again this time.”
Coby Carden has had a pretty great run the last two years. He won the 2013 divisional, went on to win his division last year at the championship, competed in the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic and finished in the top half of the field, and then won his state again this year at the 2014 divisional.
He wants to get back to the Classic again, but that’s not all: He wants to win it.
“That’s just the competitor in me,” said Carden, a member of the LA Po Boys club in Alabama. “I want to win.”
But he has two more days of tough competition before a Classic win is even a possibility — a fact that has not escaped him.
Carden is referring to the 4-pound, 10-ounce bass he brought to the scales on Day 1, the biggest bass of the day by far and currently the leader in the Carhartt Big Bass competition. His total sack for the day was 11 pounds, 8 ounces, a pound heavier than second place Levi McNeill of Utah.
“I caught the big one flipping my Missile D Bomb in wood,” said Carden. “I had caught a big one in that same area in pre-fish a couple of weeks ago. The tough part will be staying in the lead for the next two days.”
McNeill, who is fishing 1,500 miles from his Utah home, led for a while on Day 1 with his catch of 10 pounds, 8 ounces. He had a slow morning, but he found one laydown that appealed to him, and he ended up pulling three keepers from the spot in the span of only 20 minutes.
McNeill’s weight was not typical, but his experience was. Many anglers said they had dry spells that lasted hours with no bites — or if they had bites, the fish were short.
“There were lots of 11 and 99/100-inch fish,” said Troy Diede of South Dakota, regarding the 12-inch minimum length each bass must meet before being brought to the scales. “There were so many that just didn’t measure.”
“I drove 1,250 miles to get here,” said Scott Sheldon of Colorado, “and the fish here have the same problem the bass in Colorado do: Their heads are too close to their tails!”
The ones that met the length requirement were not very heavy, either. The average size of the bass wasn’t even 1 1/2 pounds.
Still, only three anglers zeroed, and half the field weighed in limits — which is significant in a fishery this tough.
With weights this small, though, it’s still anyone’s game. One 4-pounder can move an angler up 15 to 20 places, so there’s plenty of room for movement on the leaderboard.
Only six anglers will advance to the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic. To earn a Classic berth, an angler must be the best in his division.
As it stands, Carden leads the Southern division, and McNeill leads the Western. The other four division leaders are Teb Jones of Mississippi, Central; Paul Mueller of Connecticut, Eastern; Jeff Lugar of Virginia, Mid-Atlantic; and Gianni Rizzo of Italy, Northern.
Takeoff for Day 2 is at 6:15 a.m. CT at Forsythe Park in Monroe, La., and the weigh-in is in the same place at 2:30 p.m. CT. Competition concludes Saturday, Nov. 8.
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