(Feb 22, 2018 - Leesbirg. FL)
Pro Jamie Horton of Centreville, Alabama, grabbed the early lead at the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Lowrance Thursday with five bass weighing 24 pounds, 13 ounces. Horton will bring a 1-ounce advantage over second-place pro Koby Kreiger of Bokeelia, Florida, into Day Two of the event that features 368 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan coming into today – things just kind of worked out,” said Horton, a third-year FLW Tour pro who is seeking his first win on the circuit. “I made a lot of bad decisions out there, but I also made five good ones. I didn’t get complacent – I changed areas and kept moving.”
Horton said he fished two lakes today, and that he split his time between bass feeding on shad and bass that were spawning. He said he ended up weighing two from the shad pattern and three from the beds.
“I knew I could catch a limit because I knew where enough bucks were on beds,” said Horton. “I didn’t catch many, but I caught a big one late.”
The Alabama pro said he hopes he can piece together another solid day Friday and make the top 30 cut Saturday.
“Can I catch another bag like this one tomorrow? I’m pretty sure I won’t,” said Horton. “But if I can catch a big one and a limit, then maybe I can hang around.”
The top 10 pros after day one on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:
1st: Jamie Horton, Centreville, Ala., five bass, 24-13
2nd: Koby Kreiger, Bokeelia, Fla., five bass, 24-12
3rd: John Devere, Berea, Ky., five bass, 24-4
4th: Jordan Osborne, Longview, Texas, five bass, 24-1
5th: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 22-8
5th: Harry Moore, Valley, Ala., five bass, 22-8
7th: Anthony Gagliard, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 22-7
8th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., five bass, 21-13
9th: Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., five bass, 21-3
10th: Kerry Milner, Bono, Ark., five bass, 21-1
Devere earned the day's $500 Simms Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 9-pound, 9-ounce largemouth.
Kreiger received a 2-pound penalty on Day One after he was found to be in violation of FLW Tour Rule No. 9, which states that all persons must be seated and a driver must be behind the steering wheel in full control of the boat whenever it is on plane or the combustion engine is running and in gear.
Overall there were 902 bass weighing 2,245 pounds, 11 ounces, caught by 183 pros Thursday. The catch included 176 five-bass limits.
Ryan Eckman of Okeechobee, Florida, leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 24 pounds, 1 ounce, followed by George Kapiton of Inverness, Florida, who weighed five bass totaling 21-7, good for second place.
The top 10 co-anglers after day one on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:
1st: Ryan Eckman, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 24-1
2nd: George Kapiton, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 21-9
3rd: Eddie Bussard, Sanford, Fla., five bass, 21-7
4th: J.P. Sims, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 20-4,
5th: Daniel Weaver, Macon, Ga., five bass, 19-15
6th: Fred Rigdon, Belleview, Fla., five bass, 19-10
7th: Timothy Sisk, Gastonia, N.C., five bass, 18-5
8th: Kevin Medine, Port Allen, La., five bass, 17-10
9th: Johnny Douglas, Liberty, Ky., five bass, 16-12
10th: Joel Willert, Lakeville, Minn., five bass, 16-4
Kevin Gordon of Aiken, South Carolina, earned $250 for the Simms Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division with a 8-pound, 15-ounce largemouth.
Overall there were 673 bass weighing 1,367 pounds, 1 ounce, caught by 175 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 91 five-bass limits.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 368 anglers competes in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concludes following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Lowrance is more than $930,000, including $10,000 through 60th place in the Pro Division. The tournament is hosted by Lake County, Florida.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2018 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 10-12 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. EST each day from the Venetian Gardens boat ramp, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive in Leesburg. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the Venetian Gardens beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins, Feb. 24-25, will also be held at the Venetian Gardens, but will begin at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24-25, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at the Venetian Gardens from noon to 4 p.m. each day. The Expo is the perfect opportunity for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at the Venetian Gardens on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9-11 a.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to youth (18 and under) and Special Olympics athletes (all ages). Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. The 1st and 2nd place anglers that catch the biggest fish will be recognized Saturday on the FLW Tour stage, just prior to the pros weighing in.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Lowrance will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) April 11 from Noon-1 p.m. EST. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.