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Walker's 21-pound brown bag leads on Day 1

Walker's 21-pound brown bag leads on Day 1

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – So far, so good at the MLF Invitational on Lake Champlain.

Day 1 of the event was windy, so much that few ventured very far south of Malletts Bay, but the results showed that the bass on Champlain are alive and well. Though the smallmouth spawn was not as major a factor as it theoretically should be, the pros proved that there are plenty of ways to catch a bass. Notably, though not the case for the leader, quite a few largemouth hit the scale. With good weather for a run to Ticonderoga in the forecast for Sunday, those numbers could increase on Day 2.

In the lead, Jacob Walker of Springville, Alabama, sacked up 21 pounds, 4 ounces, fishing for exclusively smallmouth. Behind him, Milford, Delaware’s Kurt Mitchell and Aspen Martin f White, Georgia, both crossed into 20-pound territory, and nine others caught something in the 19-pound range.

The full field of 150 anglers will conclude the two-day opening round on Sunday, with only the Top 30 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advancing to Monday's final round.

Raised on flipping a jig in Alabama, Walker is no slouch with forward-facing sonar, and he made it work to perfection today. Beaming up a big limit quickly, Walker looked like a local in his first trip to Champlain.

“It was very fun,” said Walker. “I caught a lot of big bass and I’m ready to go catch more big bass tomorrow.”

According to Walker, practice was good, but 21 pounds wasn’t on the menu – things really went well on Day 1.

“I was confident that I could catch 18 pounds today. I didn’t really fish my areas super hard, but I knew I could catch at least 18, which, I would have been happy with,” he said. “I was fortunate today to catch the bigger than average fish – hopefully tomorrow it’s like that again. I don’t think 20 pounds will be a problem, and I know I can catch 18. I can survive tomorrow for sure.”

Fishing without too much competition around, Walker has been able to trigger fish to bite consistently, which not everyone can say.

“A bigger bait, a bigger profile, is part of it,” he said. “And I think I’m just around the right quality. They just weigh a little bit more than the average in the couple areas I’m fishing.”

Here are the totals for the initial Top 10:

1st: Jacob Walker, Springville, Ala., five bass, 21-4
2nd: Kurt Mitchell, Milford, Del., five bass, 20-7
3rd: Aspen Martin, White, Ga., five bass, 20-2
4th: Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., five bass, 19-14
5th: Troy Stokes, Trenton, Mich., five bass, 19-7
5th: Kyle Cortiana, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 19-7
5th: Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., five bass, 19-7
5th: Brett Carnright, Plattsburgh, N.Y., five bass, 19-7
9th: Evan Barnes, Dardanelle, Ark., five bass, 19-6
9th: Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tenn., five bass, 19-6

Anglers launch at 6:30 a.m. ET each day from the Plattsburgh City Marina, located at 5 Dock St. Weigh-ins are held at the marina beginning at 2:30 p.m.

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