LUFKIN, Texas, March 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Professional angler Rick Cotten of Guntersville, Ala., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Thursday weighing 25 pounds, 15 ounces to take the lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Chevy. Cotten now holds a 1-pound, 4-ounce lead over second-place pro Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., who brought five bass weighing 24-11 to the scales, heading into day two of the four-day event that features 176 of the world's best bass-fishing anglers competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
"This was a total surprise for me based on my practice," said Cotten, a third-year pro who has one previous top-10 finish in FLW Tour competition. "I caught a lot of fish in practice but my best five were only going about 16 pounds. These are not the same fish that I was catching in practice. They just randomly moved in."
Cotten said that he spent the entire day in one area, which he described as a grass line that was a couple of acres long.
"I had several different areas that I was ready to fish, but I didn't run them today because of the weather," Cotten said. "So I stayed in one spot and it paid off. Those fish aren't holding to anything, so who knows if I'll be able to catch them tomorrow. There is no hard structure there. The fish are just holding to the grass line.
"I'm going back to that same spot tomorrow and plan on camping out all day," Cotten continued. "I'm working it very thoroughly and fishing very slow. I feel like these are pre-spawn fish."
Cotten said that he caught seven keepers throughout the entire day, and although he was not ready to divulge his baits of choice he did say that all of his fish came on just two baits.
"I used to live in Houston and I got to fish on this lake quite a bit," Cotten went on to say. "It's really fun getting to come back here and I can't wait to go fishing again tomorrow."
The top 10 pros after day one at Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:
1st: Rick Cotten, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 25-15
2nd: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., five bass, 24-11
3rd: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., five bass, 23-14
4th: Ryan Davidson, Huntington, W.Va., five bass, 21-6
5th: Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 18-14
6th: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 18-12
7th: Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., five bass, 18-8
8th: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., five bass, 17-12
9th: Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, five bass, 17-9
9th: Lendell Martin Jr., Nacogdoches, Texas, five bass, 17-9
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Chevy pro Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., won the Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday with a fish weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces to win $500.
Overall there were 729 bass weighing 1,815 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 173 pros Thursday. The catch included 105 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country. Anglers could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing's richest prize.
Tim Beale of Hernando, Miss., and Eric Self of Lawndale, N.C., tied for the lead in the co-angler division after each brought five bass to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Tim Beale, Hernando, Miss., five bass, 18-4
1st: Eric Self, Lawndale, N.C., five bass, 18-4
3rd: Nick Thliveros, St. Augustine, Fla., five bass, 16-3
4th: Stephen Crawley, Bush, La., five bass, 15-4
5th: Jake Gipson, Niceville, Fla., three bass, 13-10
6th: Joey Romano, Denham Springs, La., five bass, 13-8
7th: Jeff Gengler, Fort Collins, Colo., four bass, 13-2
8th: Forrest Smith, Pickerington, Ohio, four bass, 12-14
9th: Kyle Monti, Okeechobee, Fla., four bass, 12-12
10th: Casey O'Donnell, Bradenton, Fla., five bass, 12-11
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Beale also caught Thursday's Big Bass in the co-angler division weighing 8-9 to win $250.
Overall there were 465 bass weighing 997 pounds, 2 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 29 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Cassels-Boykin County Park located at FM Road 3123 (off State Highway 147) in Zavalla, Texas., at 7 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the final day of competition, the top 10 anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. Friday's weigh-in will be held at Cassels-Boykin County Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 2500 Daniel McCall Drive in Lufkin beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Also on Sunday, country music star Michael Ray will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.
Coverage of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs June 7 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2014 over the course of 229 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the "Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water." For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.