GREENVILLE, S.C., March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Diet Mountain Dew pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., crossed the stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 4 ounces to lead day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Hartwell presented by Chevy. Christie holds a 5-ounce lead over Mike Reynolds of Modesto, Calif., who caught five bass weighing 21-15 in a tournament featuring 155 anglers from all across the country and Canada.
"I started on a little stretch that I was hoping to get two or three fish off of," said Christie, who has won more than $359,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. "I made one pass and had 18 or 19 pounds. I didn't know how the day was going to shake out, so I decided to leave and go fish other stuff. I'd fish new water and go to other stuff where I thought I could catch one. I didn't catch a lot of fish today, but I caught good fish."
Christie said he caught "about a dozen" keepers during the course of the day.
"It's hard to tell when you've got all good (fish)," Christie said.
Christie said the warm weather trend has the fish moving up into shallow water and nearly every pocket holds pairs of fish preparing for the spawn. He said he was catching "spawners" but wasn't visually targeting them. Instead, he's fishing slightly dirty water and using BOOYAH brand baits to provoke a reaction strike.
"I don't think they're conducive to being caught while you're looking at them right now," Christie said. "Some guys are going to catch them and there is probably going to be somebody come in with 25 pounds he caught while looking at them. But they're too interested in each other. You just have to get them on a reaction strike on a bait and I can do that better fishing than I can looking at them."
Chevy pro Jimmy Houston of Cookson, Okla., who finished the day in fifth place, also used BOOYAH spinnerbaits and jigs for reaction bites to fill his limit.
"The only time I saw them was when I put them in the boat," Houston said.
Houston said fishing during practice was solid but the bite seems to have slowed with the cold front that has approached Lake Hartwell.
"We're going to have to slow down and fish a lot differently than we did in practice," Houston said. "I think it will get a lot more difficult for me. I don't think the guys who are sight fishing are going to have many more fish come in, and those stringers might deteriorate a little bit.
"I've got fish but I don't think they're going to bite very well," Houston added.
Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one on Lake Hartwell are:
Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 20-0
Joe Thomas, Milford, Ohio, five bass, 19-10
Chevy pro Jimmy Houston, Cookson, Okla., five bass, 19-3
Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 18-9
National Guard pro Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 18-2
Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., five bass, 18-2
Prevacid 24HR pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 17-8
Randy Macabee Jr., Bakersfield, Calif., five bass, 17-5
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Thomas caught the Snickers® Big Bass weighing 6-10 in the pro division to win $500.
Overall there were 713 bass weighing 1,703 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 152 pros Thursday. The catch included 124 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 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. This year's Cup will be in Hot Springs, Ark., Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita where pros will compete for a top prize of $600,000 – the sport's biggest award. Pro anglers are also vying for the prestigious 2011 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg's that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors with the winner receiving $100,000 for their accomplishment.
Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas, leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 16-13 followed by J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., in second place with five bass weighing 16-3.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
Jade Keeton, Florence, Ala., five bass, 14-2
Moo Bae, West Friendship, Mo., five bass, 13-15
Andy Scholz, Reno, Nev., five bass, 13-7
Mike Helton, Jeffersonville, Ind., five bass, 13-3
Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., five bass, 13-3
Chad Pipkens, Holt, Mich., five bass, 12-13
Doug Caldwell, Kane, Pa., five bass, 12-12
Patrick Bone, Cleveland, Ga., five bass, 12-9
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Scholz caught the Snickers® Big Bass weighing 5-6 in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 428 bass weighing 752 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 135 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 36 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 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. The Walmart FLW Tour Co-angler of the Year presented by Kellogg's will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors and the winner will receive a new Ranger 198VX with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
Anglers will take off from Portman Shoals Marina located at 1629 Marina Rd. in Anderson, S.C. at 7:30 each morning. Friday's weigh-in will be held at Portman Shoals Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-in will be held at the Carolina First Center located at One Exposition Drive in Greenville beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Carolina First Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo provides the opportunity for fans to interact with professional anglers, ride Ranger boat simulators, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. The first 300 kids 14 and under to the Expo on Sunday will receive a free rod & reel courtesy of The Greenville News. Plus, one lucky fan will win a Can-Am ATV compliments of 92.5 WESC following Sunday's final weigh-in. You must be present to win. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Lake Hartwell tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors" will air April 30 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper and Laura Schara, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS
FLW Outdoors is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world's richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player's Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.
SOURCE FLW Outdoors