Day 2 of the Bassmaster Classic at Alabama's Lay Lake is currently underway. Yesterday, BassFan's Classic coverage featured most of the anglers inside the Top 25. Below are additional day-1 notes from the field.
17th: Niggemeyer Excited
Texas pro James Niggemeyer qualified through the Bassmaster Tours and will fish as a Bassmaster Elite Series rookie this year. He caught 13-07 on day 1, which puts him just 6 1/2 pounds behind leader Boyd Duckett.
"I'm excited about my catch," he said. "Things went well. I ran two different patterns, and caught a limit on both. When I pulled out (deeper) in the afternoon, I caught some of my better fish on the second pattern. It's a better-quality pattern."
His bag included four largemouths and one spot. The biggest was close to 4 pounds.
"I saw some things where, if I get some of the better-quality fish to bite like that 4-ponuder did, I have a great chance to move up," he added. "I'll just play it by ear and see what happens. I'm hopeful, I'm excited, and I think there's still a lot left out there for me to catch."
25th: Kennedy 'Average'
Steve Kennedy came down with the flu a day before competition began, and didn't have much to eat in a 36-hour period – just half an apple and half a piece of pizza. He was lot better by the start of day 1, and noted the illness didn't affect his performance.
He caught 12-02, and at 25th, he's currently the last man in the Top 25 cut.
"I figured 12 or 14 pounds would be average, so I feel like I'm in there," he said. "I started out on some stuff I found 2 days ago and got one fish out of there. And I raised a big one, but didn't even stick him.
"Then I went out to catch a limit of spots, and only caught 7 or 8 pounds. It took me until noon to do that, then I went flipping. I should have been (flipping) all day, I guess."
He noted his stomach's still upset from the flu. "But once I got in the groove, I didn't feel it. But the (lack of food) has to be catching up with me."
26th: Waterman Deep and Shallow
Maryland's Kevin Waterman, who qualified through the BASS Federation Nation, boated 15 keepers, but the best of that lot was a 3-pounder.
"I caught all that I figured I could catch," he said. "I don't think I'm around big fish."
He had a limit by 9:30 and culled twice in the afternoon to reach his 11-14 weight. If he can have a similar day tomorrow, he'll have a good shot at making the Top 25 cut."
"If I can get another limit quick, I might go to flipping a jig (for bigger bites)."
27th: Faircloth Had To Work
Todd Faircloth decided to start on his limit fish, and he thought it would be an easy process. Instead, he had to work until 10:30 to catch a limit.
With his 11-12 total, the leader's a long way ahead, but he's only 6 ounces behind the cut.
"I'm a little disappointed," he said. "I felt like I could catch a limit pretty quick this morning, but it didn't turn out that way.
"I did fish some new water I hadn't been to yet, and tried to upgrade. I culled four or five times, but it was just ounces, not pounds. And I lost a 3- or 4-pounder.
"I'm scratching my head on how to catch the big largemouths," he added. "I tried some things and they didn't work. I guess I'll try to catch a limit (on day 2) and then try some different stuff. I know there's some big largemouths to catch out there – it's just a matter of getting on the right stretch."
29th: Current Blows Out Tucker
Missouri's Mark Tucker had caught good fish up the river in practice, but there was too much current for his pattern to be effective on day 1. That forced him to come back to the main lake, where he salvaged an 11-10 bag.
He weighed two largemouths and three spots.
'I just never got the good bites," he said. "I'll have to try to catch 16 or 17 (pounds) tomorrow to make a big jump.
"It could happen. The last few fish I caught today were slamming (the bait), so they're getting aggressive."
31st: Hackney Catches Clones
Louisiana's Greg Hackney got plenty of bites, but the size was less than he'd hoped for.
"They were all 2 1/4-pounders – just littermates," he said.
Many anglers currently outside the Top 25 could easily move into the cut with a strong day 2.
He figured he could catch 15 to 16 pounds on day 1, then assess what he needed to do from there. He weighed just 11-02, so now he has to clobber them on day 2.
"I've got myself in a bind and I have to change everything and go largemouths.
"I don't think I can catch five 4-pounders, but I might be able a 6- and a 7-pounder and get a big bag that way."
32nd: Quinn Will Change
Jason Quinn caught an early limit of largemouths, but never improved much the rest of the day. His limit weighed 11-00.
"I kind of learned something (yesterday) – boat traffic affects the spots, and the largemouths here are completely stupid," he said. "I thought I could catch 13 or 14 pounds of spots pretty easily, but that was non-existent.
"I had about 10 boats on me, but the lake's not that big and the spots do not bite (with boats)," he added.
For the day, he caught 25 largemouths, all about the same size, plus one 3-pounder in the last 15 minutes. Today he plans to change up and try to target big largemouths.
32nd: Crews Ran Around
John Crews brought 11-00 to the scales on day 1.
"I'm pretty disappointed," he said. "I lost one over 5. It was nothing I did wrong – I lost it on a jig. I set the hook, reeled him halfway to the boat, and he came off. I don't think I ever had a hook in him, because the hook went flying."
He's hunting largemouths – not spots – and ran around most of the day.
"I'm just trying to catch some quality fish, and it didn't happen. The way the current was pulling, the lake was coming up, and a lot of the places I wanted to fish are good when lake's coming down. For some reason, it took a couple of hours to figure it out."
34th: Thliveros Had Bad Day
Peter "T" had the chance to do much better on day 1, but lost fish left him with just 10-15.
"I had the opportunities and didn't do everything you're supposed to do," he said. "I did get the bites, but when you don't land the fish, there's not much you can do.
"I broke them off, lost them at the boat, missed them, and had them pull off halfway in. I caught mostly spots, but I had one largemouth – the first fish I caught. When you target spots, that's just the nature of the beast."
35th: Reynolds Stuck to Plan
Jeff Reynolds did what he wanted to on day 1 – he targeted spots, then went looking for largemouths. He caught his limit of spots, but never did land a largemouth.
He said he doesn't feel good about his 10-11 limit.
"I had a couple of places where I thought I could catch them, but it just never did pan out," he added. "It could be different (on day 2). I could have stayed with the spots and maybe caught 12 or 13 pounds, but I knew that wasn't going to win.
"I'll fish for only largemouths (on day 2). I need to make a big move."
36th: Omori 'Wasted Day'
Before official practice even began, former Classic champion Takahiro Omori knew he'd target only largemouths. That's what he did on day 1, but he could only scrape up 10-10.
Takahiro Omori's disappointed, but he said he did his best.
"I caught a limit by 8:30, and had no bites the next 6 hours," he said. "I was fishing shallow for largemouths. I wasted my day.
"Sure I'm disappointed," he added. "If somebody catches 19 pounds and I only catch 12, I'm disappointed. At the same time, I did my best."
38th: Limit Suits Tsukiyama
Federation Nation qualifier Shigeru Tsukiyama of Japan was pleased to bring five fish to the stage.
"I caught a limit, so I am happy," he said.
He went through seven keepers to put together his 10-01 sack. He fished primarily stick-ups and other obvious pieces of cover.
He said he'd stay with the same pattern on day 2, but he did find something at the end of the day to try.
39th: Dennington Can't Find Green Ones
Federation Nation National Championship winner Royce Dennington of Oklahoma had caught a mixture of spots and bigger largemouths in practice, but weighed in five spots for 9-15 on day 1.
"I couldn't catch the bigger largemouths," he said. "I'll go back and try to get them (on day 2), and maybe I can catch enough to make the cut. That's all I'm shooting for."
He boated more than 20 keepers, but his biggest was a 2 1/2-pounder.
40th: Lowen lacked Size
"I had a couple of key bites I lost this morning, and that always hurts – you can't lose them," said Bill Lowen, who weighed a 9-14 limit. "I lost two 3s on a crank, which would have helped a little bit.
"My fish changed a bunch," he added. "I had to readjust. I only had one fish in the box at 1:30, and managed to bang out a limit and cull once, but I couldn't get a big bite where I'd got some in practice."
40th: Evers Bummed
Edwin Evers was a little nervous on the final day of practice, because some fish stopped biting in his best areas. The concern was well placed, because he sacked a meager 9-14 to start.
"It's horrible," he said of his weight. "It doesn't get any worse.
"I really didn't get a lot of bites," he added. "In practice, some spots didn't bite like I thought they would, so I thought I was fine going largemouth fishing all day long. I did, and just didn't get the bites."
He'll "back out" and try something new today. "I still feel I can catch fish in some of those areas – it's some pretty good stuff. I just have to go do it."
> He didn't use it as an excuse, but notable is he also went a round with some sort of flu or bug the night before day 1. He didn't eat anything all of day 1.
42nd: Hamlin's Fears Realized
Georgia's Tom Hamlin, who earned his Classic berth by finishing 2nd in the 2006 Bassmaster Southern Tour points, couldn't find the structure fish he'd pinpointed in practice.
"I had a pretty good offshore bite, but it's gone away," he said. "I was afraid it would, and it did."
He caught seven keepers on his way to a 9-09 bag. He spent the last 2 hours of the day in search of a big bite, but couldn't connect.
"I probably should have stayed with what I was doing, but I thought I needed to take a gamble."
44th: Clunn's Search Goes On
Four-time Classic winner Rick Clunn of Missouri couldn't find fish during practice that were of the quality he thought he'd need to compete, and his search continues after a 9-06 limit on day 1.
Georgia's Tom Hamlin lost his offshore bite.
"I'm still trying to find that little bit better grade of fish," he said. "I've built my career on fishing for largemouths, so that's what I focusing on, and we've got the conditions that should get the big largemouths moving.
He got eight bites on day 1. He lost two and caught one short fish.
"I might try a jerkbait a little more (on day 2) and maybe a jig. Usually at this time of year, those are baits that will produce some quality fish."
45th: Remitz Happy For Five
Minnesotan turned Texas Derek Remitz is near the basement of the standings, but he takes some solace in the fact that he caught five fish.
"I'm happy to have five – it was a decent day," he said. "I had a ton of bites, and lost a good one on the third or fourth cast. The really funny thing was, everything I hooked was either on top of the head or underneath the mouth for some reason."
His 9-04 limit was a mixed bag.
"I'm just trying to get 3 solid days together. The main thing is, I want to fish Sunday. You never know what can happen (on day 2). Where I'm fishing, you can catch a 4-pounder as well as a 12-incher on back-to-back casts."
47th: Break-Offs Cost Novack
Federation Nation qualifier Chris Novack of Connecticut broke off his two best bites of the day and lost a 2 1/2-pounder at the boat. He ended up with a 7-02 limit.
"I think I was probably a little nervous in the morning, and I just need to relax and go with the flow," he said. "And I'm going to have to change to heavier line so it won't break."
His fish had shrunk since he last saw them.
"The size of the fish is the only thing that'd changed since practice. I was catching bigger ones then."
48th: Colwell Baffled
Russell Colwell of Maryland, winner of the Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship, said the quality shallow fish he'd found in practice had moved back to the depths in the wake of the previous cold front. He had just three fish in his bag (all spots) for 6-08.
"I thought it'd be pretty easy to get 13 or 14 pounds, but it'd all changed up on me," he said. "These guys (the pros) all know how to adjust, and that's what I've got to learn."
He said he'd check the shallows on day 2, but wouldn't stay long if nothing was happening.
"I can't waste too much time with it. I might have to do a 180."
50th: Just Two for Long
Federation Nation qualifer Brent Long of North Carolina weighed just two fish for 4-14.
"I just didn't get the bites," he said. "I fished the same way I did in practice, when I'd caught a limit every day. I thought it would get better (with the warmer weather).
His only bites were a 3-pound largemouth and another that was barely of keeper length.
"I'm just going fishing (on day 2). I fished slow today to try to get the bites, but I'll cover a lot more water."
> To read yesterday's day-1 coverage of the Classic, click here.