It looks like a cold front that brought some clouds and a little bit of wind was just what High Rock Lake's bass needed to emerge from their post-spawn doldrums.

After a lackluster practice period that had many of the 51 anglers in the Bassmaster American Major wondering how they were going to catch a limit, a strong bite emeged on day 1. Nearly 3/4 of the field caught at least 10 pounds – a mark that was considered the standard of excellence prior to today – and Oklahoma's Edwin Evers set the pace with a 19-08 sack.

He has a 14-ounce edge over Missouri's Brian Snowden, who's 2nd with 18-10. Right behind him is Clarks Hill Elite Series winner Mike McClelland – who's in 3rd with 18-07.

Defending champion Dave Wolak of North Carolina is 4th with 17-10, and Alabama's Gerald Swindle rounds out the Top 5 with 17-02.

Here's a look at the current Top 12 (red numbers in parentheses indicate deficit margin from leader):

1. Edwin Evers: 19-08
2. Brian Snowden: 18-10 (0-14)
3. Mike McClelland: 18-07 (1-01)
4. Dave Wolak: 17-10 (1-14)
5. Gerald Swindle: 17-02 (2-06)
6. Shaw Grigsby: 16-01 (3-07)
7. Mike Wurm: 16-00 (3-08)
8. Skeet Reese: 15-10 (3-14)
9. Denny Brauer: 15-07 (4-01)
10. Lee Bailey: 15-03 (4-05)
11. Kevin VanDam: 14-15 (4-09)
12. Russ Lane: 14-09 (4-15)

The prevailing opinion was that the weather change was the biggest factor in the improved mood of the fish. Some of the leaders did the same things today that they did in practice, but instead of getting just a few bites, they got a handful or more. Others didn't get bitten in their primary areas, but scored big-time on what they'd considered their secondary stuff.

The front brought overnight rain to the Greensboro, N.C. area, and some of the clouds lingered for about half the day, along with a north wind that topped out at about 10 mph. The water temperature dropped 5 degrees (to around 70) in a lot of places, which apparently pleased the fish.

Thirty-nine anglers caught double-digit bags, and they went about it a lot of different ways. Some of the leaders said they used several different baits.

Those in 30th place or higher are all within 3 pounds of the Top 12. The field will be reduced to that number after tomorrow's weigh-in, and the survivors will advance to fish a six-hole course on Lake Townsend. And since tomorrow will be the final day on High Rock, nobody will hold anything back.

Tomorrow's weather forecast is for mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 71 degrees, with the wind continuing out of the north to 13 mph.

Evers Doubles Up

Evers caught nearly twice as much weight as he expected. Like much of the field, his practice was uninspiring.

"I would've been tickled pink to have 10 pounds," he said. "I didn't expect this at all, but I'll take it.

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Photo: ESPN Outdoors

Three big bites on day 1 pushed Brian Snowden into the No. 2 slot.

"God was smiling down on me today. I really didn't know those kind of fish existed in here."

He caught 15 keepers, and the best of the lot was a 4-12. He used "three or four" different baits."

"I didn't get to start where I wanted to, so I just went fishing and hit a lot of areas. I caught them pretty much throughout the whole day – I caught one of my biggest ones real early and another one at the very end."

He figures he'll need about 10 pounds tomorrow to ensure his spot in the Top 12.

"I think I'm doing enough different things that I'll be able to catch some. But this is a humbling sport, and anything can happen."

2nd: Snowden Slammed 'Em Early

Snowden had a 15-pound limit by about 8:00 and improved his bag little by little throughout the rest of the day.

"I really expected to catch 12 to 13 pounds, maybe 15 at the outside," he said. "I'd gotten one good bite each practice day, and luckily today I got three that I landed and two others that I lost.

"I could have had a little more, but I'm happy with it."

His biggest fish was a 5-pounder, and the other two better-than-average specimens were between 3 3/4 and 4 pounds.

"I'm moving around quite a bit – not Kevin VanDam-speed, but pretty good for me. The only thing that worries me is the changes in the water level. They draw it down 6 to 8 inches a day, then it'll come back up, and the fish will move shallower.

"I found some new areas and tried some different things today. I'll just have to keep an open mind."

3rd: A Pig for McClelland

McClelland's stringer was headed up by the big bass of the day – a 6-09 brute. He also had two others that went 3 1/2 pounds or better.

"I only caught one big fish in practice, but I had four or five other bites right around where I caught that one," he said. "I felt that if we got the right conditions, I had the opportunity for a good bag.

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Photo: ESPN Outdoors

Mike McClelland said today's weather conditions suited him perfectly.

"The conditions were really favorable this morning. The cloud cover and the wind provided the perfect scenario for the way I caught them."

He said he's fishing a typical post-spawn pattern.

"The baitfish are critical. That's when they bite – when a big school of baitfish comes across.

"I've had a lot of opportunities to fish structure this year, and a football jig is always a good producer. I also signed a deal with Spro recently and they've provided me with some medium- and deep-running crankbaits that I'm using, and I'm mixing in a few other baits as well."

He thinks he'll need at least a moderate wind to catch another upper-teens bag tomorrow. His goal on the lower end is about 10 pounds.

He used the latter half of the day to become more familiar with his primary area.

"I marked three or four brushpiles and some other key stuff that I can slow down and fish if I get into a bind."

4th: Wolak Bouncing Around

Wolak said he visited at least 25 spots to compile his limit, which was topped by a 6-pounder.

"I was one of the guys who was a little more optimistic (after practice), but you still need everything to come together," he said. "I knew I had some good potential if I got the right bites, and a 6-pounder always helps."

He said he could've had close to 20 pounds had he not lost a fish that weighed at least 5.

"It was coming right toward the boat and I didn't think it was that big. Then I saw it and it turned the other way, and it just straight-lined me and snapped that 14-pound line."

Unlike most of the leaders, his best action came later in the day.

"I'm just junk-fishing a milk-run, and this lake kind of suits my style of fishing. Some of the spots that I'd presumed would be the best, I didn't catch a fish. And some that I'd considered the last options, that's where I caught them.

"I've still got about 10 spots that I haven't run yet. I'll put about 10 rods on the deck and catch as much as I can tomorrow."

5th: Swindle Shocked

Swindle didn't think he had a prayer of catching a 17-pound bag when the day began.

"In my entire career, I've never seen a bite turn around as fast as it did here," he said. "It was just overnight, and there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

"The weather wasn't all that much different. The only big difference for me between today and yesterday was that my line was jumping on the other end."

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Photo: ESPN Outdoors

Defending champion Dave Wolak is in contention again.

He had most of his weight by 9:30, but caught one 3-pounder late in the day. He also lost a 7-pounder.

I hooked it in a blowdown and I had it up to the top twice, but I just couldn't get it out of there."

He'll shoot for 11 pounds or more tomorrow.

"I think I can get some bites, but who knows. They might all be shorts."

6th: Grigsby Surprised

Florida's Shaw Grigsby was another angler who far exceeded his expectations. He caught a 16-01 sack.

"It just happened, which is a good thing," he said. "I found a little point that was loaded up in practice, and I caught one good one on a (Strike King) King Shad.

"When I went back today I couldn't get them to blow up on it, but I caught them on other stuff."

He boated 10 keepers on the day, and the biggest was a 5-pounder.

"I thought I'd have a tough time catching a limit, and I ended up culling one. I backed off a little bit knowing that I had another day to go, but I didn't know that everybody was catching the fire out of them.

"There's a lot of bags in the 13s and 14s, so I definitely need to catch some more tomorrow."

7th: Wurm Scores with Worms

Arkansas' Mike Wurm used finesse worms to catch his 16-pound sack.

"I knew I had a chance for a good bag because I caught one on Monday (the first practice day)," he said. "I didn't know if it would pan out or not because of the way the lake fluctuates and whether there would be other people in the area."

All of his fish came from water that was no deeper than 3 feet.

"I had a limit by 8:45, and then I culled a few later. I made one pass in my main area but I didn't go all the way through it. Hopefully nobody else showed up after I left."

His will be the first boat out tomorrow, so that will be an advantage.

"I'll go and beat the place to death. I'd love to catch 12 pounds – that should put me close (to the cut) and 13 should be a lock.

"My first goal will be to get a bite, and then I'll try to catch a limit."

50th: Rowland Couldn't Hook Up

Texas veteran Zell Rowland is having an off year (he's 65 in the Elite Series points), and it didn't get any better today.

"I had one of those days that guys don't want to have, but it's not the first time," he said. "One time I went six straight tournaments without catching a keeper. Guys were calling me Six-Pack, but then I caught the heck out of them in that seventh one."

He got several good bites, but none made it into the boat. He was one of four anglers sharing his area, and the other three all caught good bags.

"For some reason my year's been sort of like that. I just haven't gotten into the click, and it's about to drive me nuts.

"I think I'll go out and bust their (butts) tomorrow just to be mean."


> Day 1 stats – 51 anglers, 38 limits, 5 fours, 3 threes, 2 twos, 1 one, 2 zeroes.

> McClelland started the day with back-to-back 14 1/2-inchers, and was thrilled with them at the time. "After the practice I had, I was ready to jump for joy."

> Wolak fished through a huge school of shad this morning, to no avail. "I couldn't get a bite. But then when (the shad) went down in the afternoon, the bass were easier to catch."

Weather Forecast

Here's the forecast for the remaining tournament days. For more weather news, including radar and satellite imagery, visit

> Fri, May 18 – Mostly Sunny – 71°/44°
- Wind: From the N at 13 mph

> Sat, May 19 – P.M. Showers – 75°/48°
- Wind: From the NW at 13 mph

> Sun, May 20 – Partly Cloudy – 82°/58°
- Wind: From the W at 8 mph

Day 1 Standings

1. Edwin Evers -- Talala, OK -- 5, 19-08
Day 1: 5, 19-08
2. Brian Snowden -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 5, 18-10
Day 1: 5, 18-10
3. Mike McClelland -- Bella Vista, AR -- 5, 18-07
Day 1: 5, 18-07
4. Dave Wolak -- Wake Forest, NC -- 5, 17-10
Day 1: 5, 17-10
5. Gerald Swindle -- Warrior, AL -- 5, 17-02
Day 1: 5, 17-02
6. Shaw E Grigsby, Jr -- Gainesville, FL -- 5, 16-01
Day 1: 5, 16-01
7. Mike Wurm -- Hot Springs, AR -- 5, 16-00
Day 1: 5, 16-00
8. Skeet Reese -- Auburn, CA -- 5, 15-10
Day 1: 5, 15-10
9. Denny Brauer -- Camdenton, MO -- 5, 15-07
Day 1: 5, 15-07
10. Lee Bailey -- Boaz, AL -- 5, 15-03
Day 1: 5, 15-03
11. Kevin VanDam -- Kalamazoo, MI -- 5, 14-15
Day 1: 5, 14-15
12. Russ Lane -- Prattville, AL -- 5, 14-09
Day 1: 5, 14-09
13. Peter E Thliveros -- Jacksonville, FL -- 5, 14-06
Day 1: 5, 14-06
14. Alton Jones -- Waco, TX -- 5, 14-02
Day 1: 5, 14-02
15. John Murray -- Phoenix, AZ -- 4, 14-01
Day 1: 4, 14-01
16. Mark Tucker -- Saint Louis, MO -- 5, 13-14
Day 1: 5, 13-14
17. Jeff Kriet -- Ardmore, OK -- 5, 13-05
Day 1: 5, 13-05
18. Tommy Biffle -- Wagoner, OK -- 5, 13-03
Day 1: 5, 13-03
19. John Crews -- Salem, VA -- 5, 13-02
Day 1: 5, 13-02
20. Gary Klein -- Weatherford, TX -- 5, 12-13
Day 1: 5, 12-13
21. Ray Sedgwick -- Cross, SC -- 5, 12-11
Day 1: 5, 12-11
22. Jared Lintner -- Arroyo Grande, CA -- 5, 12-07
Day 1: 5, 12-07
23. Terry Scroggins -- San Mateo, FL -- 5, 12-06
Day 1: 5, 12-06
24. Derek Remitz -- Madison, TX -- 5, 12-05
Day 1: 5, 12-05
25. Matt Reed -- Madisonville, TX -- 5, 12-04
Day 1: 5, 12-04
26. Michael Iaconelli -- Runnemede, NJ -- 5, 11-13
Day 1: 5, 11-13
27. Ishama Monroe -- Hughson, CA -- 5, 11-12
Day 1: 5, 11-12
27. Timmy Horton -- Muscle Shoals, AL -- 5, 11-12
Day 1: 5, 11-12
29. Brent Chapman -- Lake Quivira, KS -- 5, 11-11
Day 1: 5, 11-11
30. Fred Roumbanis -- Auburn, CA -- 4, 11-09
Day 1: 4, 11-09
31. Scott Rook -- Little Rock, AR -- 5, 11-08
Day 1: 5, 11-08
32. Todd Faircloth -- Jasper, TX -- 5, 11-04
Day 1: 5, 11-04
33. Randy Howell -- Springville, AL -- 5, 11-02
Day 1: 5, 11-02
34. Takahiro Omori -- Emory, TX -- 5, 11-00
Day 1: 5, 11-00
35. Jason Quinn -- Lake Wylie, SC -- 5, 10-13
Day 1: 5, 10-13
36. Bill Lowen -- North Bend, OH -- 5, 10-12
Day 1: 5, 10-12
37. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, LA -- 5, 10-09
Day 1: 5, 10-09
38. Kelly Jordon -- Mineola, TX -- 5, 10-02
Day 1: 5, 10-02
39. Stephen Browning -- Hot Springs, AR -- 5, 10-01
Day 1: 5, 10-01
40. Aaron Martens -- Leeds, AL -- 5, 9-14
Day 1: 5, 9-14
41. Greg Gutierrez -- Red Bluff, CA -- 3, 8-09
Day 1: 3, 8-09
42. Jeff Reynolds -- Idabel, OK -- 4, 8-03
Day 1: 4, 8-03
43. Dean Rojas -- Grand Saline, TX -- 3, 8-01
Day 1: 3, 8-01
44. Chris Lane -- Winter Haven, FL -- 4, 7-11
Day 1: 4, 7-11
45. Davy Hite -- Ninety Six, SC -- 4, 6-06
Day 1: 4, 6-06
46. Mark Menendez -- Paducah, KY -- 3, 5-01
Day 1: 3, 5-01
47. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, AL -- 2, 4-07
Day 1: 2, 4-07
48. Kevin Wirth -- Crestwood, KY -- 2, 3-00
Day 1: 2, 3-00
49. Paul Elias -- Laurel, MS -- 1, 1-14
Day 1: 1, 1-14
50. Boyd Duckett -- Demopolis, AL -- 0, 0-00
Day 1: 0, 0-00
50. Zell Rowland -- Montgomery, TX -- 0, 0-00
Day 1: 0, 0-00

Big Bass

Day 1: Mike McClelland -- Bella Vista, AR -- 6-09 -- $1,000