With nothing better than a 76th-place finish in the last four Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments, Kurt Dove hadn't had many great days on the water recently. That changed today at Texas' Lake Amistad.

The Virginian caught a 30-08 sack that gave him the lead after the first day of competition in the weather-shortened event. He's running a pattern that he discovered during the last half of the final practice day and found some new areas to run it in today after loading up early.



He had a 1-03 lead over Mike McClelland, who's bidding for his second win on the young season and his fourth in 3 years on the Elite Series. The Arkansan caught 29-05 today.

Louisiana rookie Clark Reehm settled into 3rd with 28-14. California's Ish Monroe, the winner here in 2006, and South Dakota's Jami Fralick rounded out the Top 5 they each bagged 27-12.

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

1. Kurt Dove: 30-08
2. Mike McClelland: 29-05 (1-03)
3. Clark Reehm: 28-14 (1-10)
4. (tie) Ish Monroe: 27-12 (2-12)
4. (tie) Jami Fralick: 27-12 (2-12)
6. Kevin Wirth: 27-10 (2-14)
7. Gary Klein: 27-07 (3-01)
8. Denny Brauer: 27-03 (3-05)
9. Edwin Evers: 26-04 (4-04)
10. Jason Williamson: 25-15 (4-09)
11. Cliff Pace: 25-13 (4-11)
12. Billy Brewer: 25-12 (4-12)

As anticipated, weights were down a bit from the past two events here both of which were held about a month earlier on the calendar and right on top of the spawn. This is primarily a post-spawn affair, although some anglers reported catching stragglers still on their way to the beds and a few big ones were spotted on nests.

Fourteen anglers weighed at least 25 pounds today that number was 21 on day 1 last year. Today's Top 27 all had at least 20 pounds, compared to the Top 40 a year ago.

The weather today was superb in the wake of Thursday's cancellation due to powerful winds. Early-morning clouds gave way to sun at midday, and the strongest gusts didn't top 20 mph.



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Photo: ESPN Outdoors

It's been a rough start to the 2008 season for Kurt Dove, but he was finally able to relax a little bit today.

With just 1 more day to go before the cut to the Top 12, nobody's concerned about saving fish. No angler who's 38th or higher in the standings is more than 7 pounds off of the current cutline, and that kind of deficit can be made up on one cast around here.

More sun but some cooler temperatures are forecast for the Del Rio area for the weekend. Tomorrow's high should be about 78 degrees, with the wind continuing its northerly path at a maximum speed of 11 mph.

The winner will be determined by highest cumulative weight over the 3 competition days.

Dove Surprised

Dove, who was coming off a 103rd-place finish at Falcon, expected to have a decent day. He had no inkling that he'd be leading the tournament.

"I thought if I got the right bites, I could catch 20-something," he said. "Even when I came in (at the end of the day), I thought I was in the mid to high 20s. I never would've guessed that I'd eclipsed 30.

He caught 30 to 40 fish a day over the first 2 practice days, but his best five were adding up to no more than 15 or 16 pounds.

"In the last part of practice I decided I needed to do something different, so I got out there a lot deeper than I'd been fishing and started to get on a little bit of a pattern. I was able to duplicate it three times on three different areas that last afternoon, and I started on those areas this morning."

His first fish was an 8-pounder, which ended up being his best of the day. He culled four times and the runt of his bag was a 4-pounder.

"It's a typical post-spawn situation. The difference between Falcon and here is that here, you're fishing in a bathtub (gin-clear water).

"I'm just trying to find areas the fish are using to recover (from the spawn) and getting ready to go on a heavy feed again. I'm fishing a very slow presentation."

He hopes to catch at least 20 pounds tomorrow.

"This was a little bit of gratification because I've struggled in the first three events. I just kind of relaxed a little bit today and capitalized on what I'd found in practice, and what I found as the day progressed."

2nd: McClelland Mixed it Up

McClelland used several baits to compile his big sack.

"I caught them a variety of ways," he said. "I caught some on a swimbait, and then I used the new Spro prototype stickbait to fill out my limit and cull once. I also caught some on a Carolina rig.

"I had an area where I thought I could catch 20 pounds if everything went just right. But I pulled in there, and the bigger fish were biting. It was just one of those days when everything flowed together."

He caught about 15 keepers on the day. His bag was headed up by an 8-06 and he had another close to 7.

He thinks his primary area could replenish.

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Photo: ESPN Outdoors

Mike McClelland's fish weren't too picky about the baits they'd bite.

"It's definitely the kind of area they're going to, so there should be more showing up. It's a place where they'll live most of the year once they're done spawning."

He doesn't have a specific backup plan.

"I think I can just go out and cover water and catch 15 pounds or so, but there aren't any guarantees."

3rd: Reehm Getting 'Em Both Ways

Reehm's primary area harbors a mix of pre-spawn and post-spawn fish.

"I'm catching them both coming and going," he said. "It's just a staging spot, and there are some big fish that haven't spawned yet.

"I got the majority of them from that one general area, and I have fish left over that I haven't touched. Of course, I don't know who might've been sitting on them today."

His bag would have been even bigger had he not weighed a dead 2 1/4-pounder. He lamented that he had several chances to cull it when it was still alive, but he thought it would survive.

If his main spot doesn't produce tomorrow, he'll just go run his pattern somewhere else.

"I will say I'm not throwing a swimbait I couldn't get the big fish to come up on it in practice, so I just went junking."

4th: Monroe Swimming to Win

Monroe made about 20 casts with a jerkbait and 20 with a Senko, and then threw a Tru-Tungsten Tru Life swimbait the rest of the day.

"I thought I could maybe catch 20 to 22 pounds, but I didn't know about 27," he said. "I lost one really big bite that kept me from going over 30 it got off about 2 feet from my hands."

He went through fewer than a dozen keepers for the day. His biggest fish was a 6 1/2-pounder, and he had another right around 6.

"I had a lot of followers, so I'm thinking that the day off really helped. On lakes like this, they love to bite a swimbait after an off day."

He's not overly concerned about competition on his primary water.

"There's a few guys around, but I've got a lot of areas and there's a lot of stuff I didn't get to hit. I stayed with the three primary areas where I got most of my bites in practice.

"I'm here to fish to win, and I'll probably either do well with the swimbait, or I'll die with it."

4th: Fun Day for Fralick

Like Dove, Fralick came in off a triple-digit finish at Falcon (101st).

"I was expecting about 17 pounds," he said. "I caught some good fish in practice, but not a lot. About 16 or 17 pounds was all I was pretty sure I could catch.

"But today it seemed like every spot I went to, I caught a big one. I got on a deal where I was just looking around for the same stuff, and there were good fish on all of it."

He threw a big swimbait and a big football jig, and the first five fish he boated gave him 20 pounds. He ended up with three that weighed between 6 and 7 pounds, along with a 5 and a 3.

"It really surprised me how well they bit today it was one of the funnest fishing days I've ever had. I was just running around and everything I was doing was working."

He'll shoot for another big sack tomorrow.

"I figure I might need about 25 pounds to make the Top 12. Having only 2 days instead of 3 before the cut might make it tougher."

7th: Klein Keeping Quiet

Texan Gary Klein wouldn't reveal much about how he caught his 27 1/2-pound bag.

"It was a typical Amistad day you could catch all the keepers you wanted," he said. "I was lucky to get three big ones and two decent ones."

His two biggest fish were both around 7 pounds.

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Clark Reehm's bag was a mix of pre-spawn and post-spawn fish.

"I'm liable to not catch squat tomorrow or maybe just an 11- or 12-pound limit. It's a matter of getting the big ones to bite.

"It's the post-spawn and they might start eating, but now we've got the weekend (crowds) to contend with. There are a lot of locals out there just bent-rod fishing right now."

He hopes to come in with a weight similar to today's.

"I'm here for one thing, and that's to win. And I'm not going to win by catching little bags."

8th: Brauer on Good Ones

Unlike some of the other leaders, Denny Brauer wasn't surprised to catch as much as he did.

"You never really know, but I had 3 good days of practice and I knew I was around quality fish," he said. "I thought I might even do better I missed one opportunity to upgrade by about 3 pounds.

"The day pretty much went as planned except for one part when I went biteless for awhile. I don't know if the weather moved the fish or other anglers had run the area, but it just seemed dead. I didn't utilize my time real good, and I'll try to do better with that tomorrow."

He worked his way through 30 keepers and caught a couple in the 7-pound class. He fished exclusively with a Strike King jig and said his pattern should hold up.

"I'll be real surprised if it doesn't, but I've been at this game long enough to know that you should never get ahead of yourself. The fish are real fickle this time of year, but I feel really good about it."

109th: Rough Day for DeLong

The day started off well enough or Ohio's Glenn DeLong he caught a 2-pounder on his third cast. Then he lost a 6-11 that his co-angler ended up catching, had several more pull off and broke off two in trees.

The third-year pro is coming off two rugged outings 97th at Toho and 107th at Falcon.

"I've been having a rough time, and I have to thank my sponsors (Jackson Geothermal, Gorman Rupp Pumps, Berkley and Powell Rods) for staying behind me. I know I've got the right equipment, but I've just had some misfortune."

He has a new gameplan for tomorrow.

"I've got an area where I caught two huge swimait fish in practice, so I'm thinking I'll go there and swing for the fence. I really don't have anything to lose."

Notable

> Day 1 stats: 109 anglers, 107 limits, 1 four, 1 three.

> Reehm was surprised that he had a fish die on him. "It came from deep water, but I fizzed it and everything seemed fine. Then I went to cull a smaller one than that, and it was just deceased."

> Brauer doesn't know whether he's on enough good fish to make at run at victory. "I'm fishing a little differently than I normally do. Sometimes you have a real good feeling about your potential, but right now I can't read the water good enough to tell. There are too many variables like wind direction, etc."

> Alabama's Randy Howell, who took big-bass honors with an ultra-long 10 1/2-pounder that was spawned out, is first out of the cut right now.

Weather Forecast

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

> Sat., April 12 - Mostly Sunny - 78/52
- Wind: From the N at 11 mph

> Sun., April 13 - Sunny - 81/54
- Wind: From the NE at 4 mph

Day 1 Standings

1. Kurt Dove -- Fairfax, VA -- 5, 30-08 -- 305
Day 1: 5, 30-08

2. Mike McClelland -- Bella Vista, AR -- 5, 29-05, 295
Day 1: 5, 29-05

3. Clark Reehm -- Russellville, AR -- 5, 28-14 -- 290
Day 1: 5, 28-14

4. Ish Monroe -- Hughson, CA -- 5, 27-12 -- 282.5
Day 1: 5, 27-12

4. Jami Fralick -- Martin, SD -- 5, 27-12 -- 282.5
Day 1: 5, 27-12

6. Kevin Wirth -- Crestwood, KY -- 5, 27-10 -- 276
Day 1: 5, 27-10

7. Gary Klein -- Weatherford, TX -- 5, 27-07 -- 272
Day 1: 5, 27-07

8. Denny Brauer -- Camdenton, MO -- 5, 27-03 -- 268
Day 1: 5, 27-03

9. Edwin Evers -- Talala, OK -- 5, 26-04 -- 264
Day 1: 5, 26-04

10. Jason Williamson -- Aiken, SC -- 5, 25-15, 260
Day 1: 5, 25-15

11. Cliff Pace -- Petal, MS -- 5, 25-13 -- 257
Day 1: 5, 25-13

12. Billy Brewer -- Bruceville, TX -- 5, 25-12 -- 254
Day 1: 5, 25-12

13. Randy Howell -- Springville, AL -- 5, 25-04 -- 251
Day 1: 5, 25-04
14. Kotaro Kiriyama -- Moody, AL -- 5, 25-03 -- 248
Day 1: 5, 25-03
15. Todd Faircloth -- Jasper, TX -- 5, 23-14 -- 245
Day 1: 5, 23-14
16. Elton Luce -- Jr. -- Brookeland, TX -- 5, 22-00 -- 243
Day 1: 5, 22-00
17. Brian Clark -- Haltom City, TX -- 5, 21-15, 241
Day 1: 5, 21-15
18. Kevin Short -- Mayflower, AR -- 5, 21-13 -- 239
Day 1: 5, 21-13
19. Bill Lowen -- North Bend, OH -- 5, 21-07 -- 237
Day 1: 5, 21-07
20. Dean Rojas -- Lake Havasu City, AZ -- 5, 21-05, 235
Day 1: 5, 21-05
21. Bradley Hallman -- Norman, OK -- 5, 21-01 -- 233
Day 1: 5, 21-01
22. Jon Bondy -- Windsor, Canada -- 5, 20-15, 230
Day 1: 5, 20-15
22. Byron Velvick -- Del Rio, TX -- 5, 20-15, 230
Day 1: 5, 20-15
24. Grant Goldbeck -- Gaithersburg, MD -- 5, 20-13 -- 227
Day 1: 5, 20-13
25. Jay Fuller -- Kingston, OK -- 5, 20-08 -- 225
Day 1: 5, 20-08
26. Derek Remitz -- Grant, AL -- 5, 20-05, 223
Day 1: 5, 20-05
27. Russ Lane -- Prattville, AL -- 5, 20-00 -- 221
Day 1: 5, 20-00
28. Scott Campbell -- Springfield, MO -- 5, 19-15, 217
Day 1: 5, 19-15
28. Mark Davis -- Mount -- Ida, AR -- 5, 19-15, 217
Day 1: 5, 19-15
28. Alton Jones -- Waco, TX -- 5, 19-15, 217
Day 1: 5, 19-15
31. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 5, 19-14 -- 213
Day 1: 5, 19-14
32. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, LA -- 5, 19-12 -- 211
Day 1: 5, 19-12
33. Dustin Wilks -- Rocky Mount, NC -- 5, 19-11 -- 209
Day 1: 5, 19-11
34. Stephen Browning -- Hot Springs, AR -- 5, 19-07 -- 207
Day 1: 5, 19-07
35. Skeet Reese -- Auburn, CA -- 5, 19-05, 205
Day 1: 5, 19-05
36. Bernie Schultz -- Gainesville, FL -- 5, 19-04 -- 203
Day 1: 5, 19-04
37. Brent Chapman -- Lake Quivira, KS -- 5, 19-01 -- 201
Day 1: 5, 19-01
38. Scott Rook -- Little Rock, AR -- 5, 18-13 -- 199
Day 1: 5, 18-13
39. Jeff Kriet -- Ardmore, OK -- 5, 18-09 -- 197
Day 1: 5, 18-09
40. Fred Roumbanis -- Bixby, OK -- 5, 18-06 -- 195
Day 1: 5, 18-06
41. Takahiro Omori -- Emory, TX -- 5, 18-05, 193
Day 1: 5, 18-05
42. Jared Lintner -- Arroyo Grande, CA -- 5, 18-04 -- 191
Day 1: 5, 18-04
43. Greg Gutierrez -- Red Bluff, CA -- 5, 18-03 -- 189
Day 1: 5, 18-03
44. Timmy Horton -- Muscle Shoals, AL -- 5, 18-02 -- 187
Day 1: 5, 18-02
45. Brian Snowden -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 5, 17-15, 185
Day 1: 5, 17-15
46. Jimmy Mize -- Ben Lomond, AR -- 5, 17-14 -- 183
Day 1: 5, 17-14
47. Rick Morris -- Virginia Beach, VA -- 5, 17-11 -- 181
Day 1: 5, 17-11
48. Bobby Lane -- Lakeland, FL -- 5, 17-05, 179
Day 1: 5, 17-05
49. Kelly Jordon -- Mineola, TX -- 5, 17-02 -- 177
Day 1: 5, 17-02
50. Preston Clark -- Palatka, FL -- 5, 17-01 -- 175
Day 1: 5, 17-01
51. Dave Wolak -- Wake Forest, NC -- 5, 16-12 -- 173
Day 1: 5, 16-12
52. Ken D Cook -- Lawton, OK -- 5, 16-10 -- 171
Day 1: 5, 16-10
53. Rick Clunn -- Ava, MO -- 5, 16-08 -- 169
Day 1: 5, 16-08
54. Yusuke Miyazaki -- Forney, TX -- 5, 16-04 -- 167
Day 1: 5, 16-04
55. Kenyon Hill -- Norman, OK -- 5, 16-02 -- 165
Day 1: 5, 16-02
56. Michael Iaconelli -- Runnemede, NJ -- 5, 15-15, 163
Day 1: 5, 15-15
57. James Niggemeyer -- Van, TX -- 5, 15-13 -- 160
Day 1: 5, 15-13
57. Mark Tyler -- Vian, OK -- 5, 15-13 -- 160
Day 1: 5, 15-13
59. Jeff Connella -- Bentley, LA -- 5, 15-09 -- 157
Day 1: 5, 15-09
60. Jeremy Starks -- Charleston, WV -- 5, 15-08 -- 155
Day 1: 5, 15-08
61. David Smith -- Del City, OK -- 5, 15-07 -- 153
Day 1: 5, 15-07
62. Zell Rowland -- Montgomery, TX -- 5, 15-04 -- 151
Day 1: 5, 15-04
63. Mark Tucker -- Saint Louis, MO -- 5, 15-00 -- 148
Day 1: 5, 15-00
63. Kevin VanDam -- Kalamazoo, MI -- 5, 15-00 -- 148
Day 1: 5, 15-00
65. Pete Ponds -- Madison, MS -- 5, 14-15, 145
Day 1: 5, 14-15
66. Chris Lane -- Lakeland, FL -- 5, 14-12 -- 143
Day 1: 5, 14-12
67. Ray Sedgwick -- Cross, SC -- 5, 14-11 -- 141
Day 1: 5, 14-11
68. David Sherrer -- Shreveport, LA -- 5, 14-10 -- 139
Day 1: 5, 14-10
69. Jason Quinn -- York, SC -- 5, 14-09 -- 136
Day 1: 5, 14-09
69. Matthew Sphar -- Pavilion, NY -- 4 -- 14-09 -- 136
Day 1: 4 -- 14-09
71. James Kennedy -- Lacombe, LA -- 5, 14-00 -- 132
Day 1: 5, 14-00
71. Morizo Shimizu -- Osaka, CA -- 5, 14-00 -- 132
Day 1: 5, 14-00
73. John Crews -- Salem, VA -- 5, 13-15, 128
Day 1: 5, 13-15
73. Marty Robinson -- Lyman, SC -- 5, 13-15, 128
Day 1: 5, 13-15
75. Guy Eaker -- Cherryville, NC -- 5, 13-11 -- 124
Day 1: 5, 13-11
75. Bryan Hudgins -- Orange Park, FL -- 5, 13-11 -- 124
Day 1: 5, 13-11
77. Terry Butcher -- Talala, OK -- 5, 13-10 -- 120
Day 1: 5, 13-10
77. Steve Daniel -- Clewiston, FL -- 5, 13-10 -- 120
Day 1: 5, 13-10
79. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, AL -- 5, 13-09 -- 117
Day 1: 5, 13-09
80. Todd Auten -- Lake -- Wylie, SC -- 5, 13-07 -- 115
Day 1: 5, 13-07
81. Wade Grooms -- Bonneau, SC -- 5, 13-06 -- 111
Day 1: 5, 13-06
81. Charlie Hartley -- Grove City, OH -- 5, 13-06 -- 111
Day 1: 5, 13-06
81. Marty Stone -- Fayetteville, NC -- 5, 13-06 -- 111
Day 1: 5, 13-06
84. Davy Hite -- Ninety Six, SC -- 5, 13-05, 107
Day 1: 5, 13-05
85. Shaw E Grigsby -- Gainesville, FL -- 5, 13-04 -- 105
Day 1: 5, 13-04
86. Mark Menendez -- Paducah, KY -- 5, 13-01 -- 103
Day 1: 5, 13-01
87. Terry Scroggins -- San Mateo, FL -- 5, 12-13 -- 101
Day 1: 5, 12-13
88. Peter E Thliveros -- St Augustine, FL -- 5, 12-12 -- 99
Day 1: 5, 12-12
89. Mike Wurm -- Hot Springs, AR -- 5, 12-11 -- 97
Day 1: 5, 12-11
90. Boyd Duckett -- Demopolis, AL -- 5, 12-10 -- 95
Day 1: 5, 12-10
91. Tommy Biffle -- Wagoner, OK -- 5, 12-07 -- 93
Day 1: 5, 12-07
92. John Murray -- Phoenix, AZ -- 5, 12-05, 91
Day 1: 5, 12-05
93. Corey Waldrop -- Fort Worth, TX -- 5, 12-02 -- 89
Day 1: 5, 12-02
94. Rick Ash -- Pottstown, PA -- 5, 11-13 -- 87
Day 1: 5, 11-13
95. Matt Amedeo -- Clinton, OH -- 5, 11-11 -- 84
Day 1: 5, 11-11
95. Kevin Langill -- Terrell, NC -- 5, 11-11 -- 84
Day 1: 5, 11-11
97. Jim Murray -- Arabi, GA -- 5, 11-07 -- 80
Day 1: 5, 11-07
97. Jeff Reynolds -- Idabel, OK -- 5, 11-07 -- 80
Day 1: 5, 11-07
99. Paul Hirosky -- Guys Mills, PA -- 5, 11-04 -- 77
Day 1: 5, 11-04
100. Pat Golden -- High Point, NC -- 5, 11-03 -- 76
Day 1: 5, 11-03
101. Matt Reed -- Madisonville, TX -- 5, 11-02 -- 75
Day 1: 5, 11-02
102. Gerald Swindle -- Warrior, AL -- 5, 11-00 -- 74
Day 1: 5, 11-00
103. Britt Myers -- Lake Wylie, SC -- 5, 10-13 -- 73
Day 1: 5, 10-13
104. Paul Elias -- Laurel, MS -- 5, 10-09 -- 72
Day 1: 5, 10-09
105. Randy Allen -- Shreveport, LA -- 5, 10-07 -- 70.5
Day 1: 5, 10-07
105. Ben Matsubu -- Hemphill, TX -- 5, 10-07 -- 70.5
Day 1: 5, 10-07
107. Aaron Martens -- Leeds, AL -- 5, 09-08 -- 69
Day 1: 5, 09-08
108. Bobby Myers -- Tulsa, OK -- 5, 09-07 -- 68
Day 1: 5, 09-07
109. Glenn Delong -- Bellville, OH -- 3, 06-04 -- 67
Day 1: 3, 06-04

Big Bass

Day 1: Randy Howell -- Springfield, AL -- 10-08 -- $1,000