Fishing & Boating News

Rojas Tames Cold For Bassmaster Classic Lead

Day One

by: Helen Northcutt,

Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., leads Day 1 of the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro held out of Greenville, S.C., Friday, with 21 pounds, 2 ounces.
Photo by Gary Tramontina/Bassmaster
(Feb 20, 2015 - Greenville, SC)

 Doesn’t it just figure that after the coldest day in the history of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, four anglers from warm, sunny climates are sitting atop the standings?
 
Elite Series pro Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., wowed the crowd at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., with five Lake Hartwell bass that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces despite frigid temperatures that were in the neighborhood of 10 degrees just before takeoff at Green Pond Landing in Anderson, S.C.
 
Rojas also overcame a 28-minute penalty as punishment for being late for check-in to Wednesday’s practice period.
 
He leads Bassmaster Elite Series pros Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., (20-2); Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, (18-8); and Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., (15-7).
 
“This is our biggest stage that we perform on, and to be able to catch a big bag like that on the first day is amazing,” Rojas said. “How could you script it any better than that? Obviously, I’d rather finish it that way. But hey, I’ll take it.”
 
Though Rojas hasn’t won a Classic in 12 previous appearances — and hasn’t finished first in an event since the 2011 Elite Series event on Toledo Bend Reservoir — he said he’ll be more excited than nervous to lead the field into Saturday’s second round.
 
He’s taking his Day 1 success in stride, much like he did the 28-minute penalty he endured Friday morning.
 
“It was my fault,” Rojas said. “I worked really hard all year, and I wasn’t going to let that ruin the whole event for me.
 
“I know if things are going to happen, they’re going to happen. I was very relaxed this morning. I wasn’t thinking about all the fish that were biting without me being there. I was just waiting until it was my time.”
 
Rojas wouldn’t say much about how he was fishing.
 
“I was just using two or three baits,” he said. “Fishing shallow and deep — a little of both.”
 
Reese also tamed the cold for his bag of 20-2 and was equally secretive about his techniques. He allowed a B.A.S.S. media boat close enough to photograph him fishing docks at one point during the day, but asked that they not photograph the lure he was using.
 
“There’s definitely one good pattern I’m running, but it only produced three fish,” Reese said. “The fish were stubborn today. A lot of the schools of fish I located in practice pulled out or went deeper or did something. They just hid from me today, but I got some good ones anyway.”
 
The conditions for Saturday are expected to improve slightly with a high of 48 degrees in the forecast. But it’s not something Reese is expecting to really help the fishing.
 
“If you want to call that an improvement,” Reese said, laughing. “It’s still freezing cold outside right now, and it’s not going to get any warmer overnight.
 
“Maybe we won’t have to wash ice out of our guides until no later than 11 o’clock tomorrow. But I don't know that anyone will be able to go out and duplicate a 20-pound catch day after day.”
 
Friday’s takeoff was delayed until 8:30 a.m. due to concerns about ice on the new concrete ramp at Green Pond, and then even later when anglers had trouble launching. The fiberglass boats were actually frozen to the trailers, and it took a little extra effort from the boat drivers to get them into the water.
 
Once anglers ventured onto the lake, many experienced trouble throughout the day with ice forming in the spools of their reels and in the guides of their rods. Some rubbed Vaseline on their guides to help with icing, while others dipped their rods in the lake frequently or even used saliva to prevent ice from forming.
 
The tournament is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday at Green Pond Landing. The public is encouraged to attend the takeoff, just as a large crowd of fans did Friday morning..

Competitors such as Combs, who are only expecting five to seven bites a day for the remainder of the event, said the extra two hours could make a huge difference.
 
“It was one of those days where I would catch one and feel really good about it, and then it would be two hours before I would catch another one,” said Combs, who was pleased with his catch of 18-8. “So during that two hours, you’re starting to ask yourself if you’re ever going to get another bite.”
 
Combs said today was no different than any of his practice days — and while it leaves him little margin for error, if he stays on the quality of fish he caught Friday, he’ll be in contention.
 
“I said before the tournament I thought it would take 52 pounds to win it,” Combs said. “I still think that.”
 
Reigning Classic champion Randy Howell is in fifth with 15-5, and South Carolina pro and local fan favorite Casey Ashley is sixth with 15-3, just ahead of Texas pro Takahiro Omori with 15 pounds even.
 
Doors open to the public for Saturday’s weigh-in at 3:15 p.m. at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Doors will open at 3 p.m. for B.A.S.S. Nation and Life Members.

The local host for the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro are VisitGreenvileSC, Visit Anderson, Greenville County, Anderson County and the state of South Carolina.

2015 Bassmaster Classic Title Sponsor: GEICO
 
2015 Bassmaster Classic Presenting Sponsors: GoPro

2015 Bassmaster Classic Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2015 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo Presenting Sponsor:
Dick’s Sporting Goods

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines, website, television show, social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
 
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

 

2015 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic Presented By GoPro
Lake Hartwell 2/20-2/22
Greenville  SC.

(ANGLER) Standings Day 1

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  21-02    0
  Day 1: 5   21-02  
2.  Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  20-02    0
  Day 1: 5   20-02  
3.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  18-08    0
  Day 1: 5   18-08  
4.  Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  15-07    0
  Day 1: 5   15-07  
5.  Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  15-05    0
  Day 1: 5   15-05  
6.  Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  15-03    0
  Day 1: 5   15-03  
7.  Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  15-00    0
  Day 1: 5   15-00  
8.  Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             4  14-15    0
  Day 1: 4   14-15  
9.  Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          4  14-07    0
  Day 1: 4   14-07  
10. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  14-06    0
  Day 1: 5   14-06  
11. David Kilgore          Jasper, AL               5  14-01    0
  Day 1: 5   14-01  
12. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  14-00    0
  Day 1: 5   14-00  
13. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  13-12    0
  Day 1: 5   13-12  
14. Jacob Wheeler          Indianapolis, IN         5  12-10    0
  Day 1: 5   12-10  
15. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          4  12-03    0
  Day 1: 4   12-03  
16. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  12-02    0
  Day 1: 5   12-02  
17. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  11-13    0
  Day 1: 5   11-13  
18. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  11-08    0
  Day 1: 5   11-08  
19. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  11-00    0
  Day 1: 5   11-00  
20. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             4  10-10    0
  Day 1: 4   10-10  
21. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  10-09    0
  Day 1: 5   10-09  
22. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  10-06    0
  Day 1: 5   10-06  
23. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  09-06    0
  Day 1: 5   09-06  
24. Coby Carden            Shelby, AL               5  09-03    0
  Day 1: 5   09-03  
25. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         4  09-02    0
  Day 1: 4   09-02  
26. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  08-13    0
  Day 1: 5   08-13  
27. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  4  08-10    0
  Day 1: 4   08-10  
28. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         4  08-08    0
  Day 1: 4   08-08  
29. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  08-04    0
  Day 1: 5   08-04  
30. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         3  08-04    0
  Day 1: 3   08-04  
31. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             4  08-01    0
  Day 1: 4   08-01  
32. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           4  07-11    0
  Day 1: 4   07-11  
33. Teb Jones              Hattiesburg, MS          3  07-09    0
  Day 1: 3   07-09  
33. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                3  07-09    0
  Day 1: 3   07-09  
33. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 3  07-09    0
  Day 1: 3   07-09  
36. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                2  07-08    0
  Day 1: 2   07-08  
37. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            3  07-06    0
  Day 1: 3   07-06  
38. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  07-04    0
  Day 1: 5   07-04  
39. Shin Fukae             Palestine, TX            5  06-14    0
  Day 1: 5   06-14  
40. Brandon Gray           Bullock, NC              3  06-07    0
  Day 1: 3   06-07  
41. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          3  04-13    0
  Day 1: 3   04-13  
42. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         2  04-08    0
  Day 1: 2   04-08  
43. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                2  04-05    0
  Day 1: 2   04-05  
44. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              2  03-09    0
  Day 1: 2   03-09  
45. Andy Young             Mound, MN                2  03-08    0
  Day 1: 2   03-08  
46. Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL         2  03-04    0
  Day 1: 2   03-04  
47. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               1  03-00    0
  Day 1: 1   03-00  
48. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          1  02-13    0
  Day 1: 1   02-13  
49. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          1  02-12    0
  Day 1: 1   02-12  
50. Jeff Lugar             Cross Junction, VA       1  02-04    0
  Day 1: 1   02-04  
51. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             1  01-07    0
  Day 1: 1   01-07  
52. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       1  01-05    0
  Day 1: 1   01-05  
53. Troy Diede             Sioux Falls, SD          0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00  
53. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00  
53. Steve Lund             Glendale, AZ             0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00  
53. Van Soles              Haines City, FL          0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00  
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Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        24       195       490-09
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          24       195       490-09