Jeff Lugar enjoyed the kind of day dreamed of by any tournament angler after taking the lead at the Douglas Lake Bassmaster Central Open in Tennessee.
Lugar, of Cross Junction, Va., by midday stopped fishing his key areas to save those for Friday. He returned to the weigh-in with a five-bass limit weighing 17-09.
“I stopped because I knew I couldn’t cull up, or catch any better bass in my spots,” he said. “I thought it best to leave them biting and come back tomorrow.”
That was a wise strategy with tournament angling pressure high in recent weeks on the east Tennessee fishery. Sustaining a winning catch over three days is the game plan, and doing that takes fishing conservatively until the Saturday finale.
“The lake also has less pressure, and that’s a key reason why I’m staying there,” he added, of his decision to avoid the highly pressured river section of the fishery.
Craig Chambers of Harrisburg, N.C., is in 2nd place with 17-05, and Patrick Walters of Ladson, S.C., is 3rd with 17-03. Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., is 4th with 16-14. Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., is 5th with 15 pounds. Chambers also caught a 5-01 bass that leads the running for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award.
Here are the totals for the initial top 12:
1. Jeff Lugar: 17-09
2. Craig Chambers: 17-05
3. Patrick Walters: 17-03
4. Bobby Lane: 16-14
5. Ott DeFoe: 15-00
6. David Gaston: 14-12
7. Jon Canada: 14-11
8. David Williams: 14-10
9. Alex Wetherell: 14-08
10. Derek Lehtonen: 14-07
11. Toshinari Namiki: 14-06
12. John Cox: 13-15