By BassFan Staff
Ish Monroe's 18 1/2-pound bag on day 1 of the Bassmaster Classic was a pretty solid haul under the altered conditions created by Thursday night's storm. The Californian wasn't the least bit happy with it or his 17th-place standing, however.
"It should've been in the high 20s," he said of his weight. "Fish came off, I broke them off – everything that could go wrong, did go wrong."
His said his day got off to a strong start. He pulled into his first stop and fired up his HydroWave unit, and soon had fish boiling all around him. He boxed several solid keepers, but then a knot in his line caused one to break off. That was the beginning of a series of mishaps.
"I looked in my box and I didn't have anymore swimbait heads, and I'm like, 'here it goes, this is where it starts.' I found one that was left over from practice and tied it on and caught a couple more.
"Then I went over to fish one single dock and I throw my (River2Sea Bling) spinnerbait up there, and I make two turns of the reel and it just loaded up. That fish was big – 7 or 8 pounds – and it just came off. I was sick at that point and things just kept going downhill from there."
He later had a big brush-pile fish break off and one he'd hooked on a jig come unbuttoned.
"It's my fault," he said. "You can't have things like that happen in the Bassmaster Classic – you can't lose fish you need for dumb reasons like not re-tying. I was getting a bite on almost every stop I pulled up on, and they were good bites.
"I have to go out tomorrow with a clear head because the fish I'm after are around. I just need to catch them."
Following are some notes from additional anglers not featured in BassFan's main day-1 story:
16th: Crews a Bit Frustrated
> Day 1: 4, 18-10
John Crews described his day as “frustrating.” Despite a fast start, the muddy water took its toll on his plan of attack.
“I caught a 7-11 on a Missile Baits Shockwave swimbait on my first cast this morning, in the first tournament I’ve fished it in,” he said. “I caught a 6-pounder not long after that, but then it slowed down. It was a struggle the rest of the day.
"I was on a good crankbait pattern in practice that I thought would get me 20 pounds or more, but that went away.”
He ended up weighing only four fish.
“I had the fifth one on a couple times, but I made some execution mistakes. The ones I caught were 12 to 18 feet deep on the swimbait. If I can get that deal going good tomorrow, it’s game on.”
24th: Action Slow for Palaniuk
> Day 1: 5, 16-11
Mired in the middle of the pack after day 1, Brandon Palaniuk lamented a slow start to his fourth Classic.
“The mud messed things up and I had to slow way down to catch anything,” he said. “I caught maybe eight bass today, but I just didn’t get a big bite. My practice was kind of up and down, and today it just continued that way.”
He’s worked the 3- to 6-foot depth range in water that registered 52 degrees.
“I think they’ll keep moving shallow the next 2 days, and tomorrow I’ll start in the same area. After that I may change up and move around, changing spots and maybe techniques. I need to find a way to catch a 30-pound bag tomorrow.”
28th: Martens Disappointed
> Day 1: 5, 15-10
One of the pre-tournament favorites, Aaron Martens found himself about halfway down the leaderboard after day 1.
“I could have had a better day,” he said. “It’s disappointing. I had a 5- or 6-pounder hit the bait several different times but they just didn’t hook up.
"I’m fishing moving baits in 5 to 10 feet of water, and caught some down to 15 feet today. I may have stayed too deep too long, though. I think the bite is moving shallow. The water is about 10 degrees too cold for this time of the year.
“I’m moving through four areas and hitting three to eight spots in each one,” he continued. “I moved a lot. Tomorrow I may do some things a little different, maybe spend more time up shallow. The water is going to stay dirty for days – it’s not going to clear up real soon. But they’ll still move up.”
29th: Cherry's Plan Foiled
> Day 1: 5, 15-09
Hank Cherry had been counting on a one-two punch of a jerkbait alternated with a lipless rattlebait.
“It cost me,” he said. “It was just super muddy. I couldn’t throw the jerkbait in that dirty water. I used the rattlebait and a crankbait today. I caught maybe 20 fish, but they were mostly small males. I’m fishing a pattern following a contour line. There’s a lot of current in my area.
“I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow,” he added. “I just hope it clears up a little so the jerkbait might start working again. I just haven’t fished here enough to know where to go or how to adjust.”
31st: Mud Doomed Kennedy
> Day 1: 5, 15-07
Kennedy was excited about his chances when practice concluded, but Thursday's storm put a damper on them.
“I was on the best swimbait bite in practice that I’ve ever seen, in really clear water,” he said. “I could see 20 pounds swimming around. It was nothing to catch that. But today it was so muddy, and I didn’t catch but six keepers and it took me until 1 p.m. to catch that. I threw the swimbait for an hour with no bites, so I went to a jig and got a 4- and a 3 1/2-ounder.”
He received some company when Ott DeFoe rolled in under the bridge at around 10 a.m.
“He saw me and turned around, and I think he caught one on the way out. Then he found the one rock out there that all my fish must have moved to and did pretty good. Anyway, I’ll go back in there tomorrow and there’s one key tree I can catch a limit from, and then we’ll see what happens.”
35th: Morris Short-Sacked
> Day 1: 4, 15-04
Rick Morris would be higher in the standings if he'd been able to box one more keeper.
“I had the fifth one on a couple times, but they came off,” he said. “I’m fishing a crowded spot and every once in a while those fish suspended out deeper move up and bite. I had several boats (both competitors and locals) move in pretty close to me, so I wasn’t too happy about that.”
He’s fishing a large variety of small crankbaits in shallow water.
36th: Lane's Bites too Small
> Day 1: 5, 15-01
Chris Lane, the 2012 Classic champion who resides on Guntersville, managed just a 3-pound average. He threw a rattlebait and a jerkbait and boated one 5-pounder, but that was his only quality bite.
"I gave it everything I had," he said. "I covered a lot of new water and plan on doing the same tomorrow.
"Things are going to change. There's a lot of mud flowing out of the creeks so that's going to be a big-time factor in this event."
40th: Just 4 for Lee
> Day 1: 4, 13-07
Collegiate champion Jordan Lee weighed a sack that was a fish shy of a limit.
"I had three places (near Alred's Marina) on some rock that I really thought I could catch two or three off of each place. That's what I did most of the day – I threw a jig on those places. I didn't get the number of bites I thought I would and when I did get a bite, they'd take my chunk or bit it weird."
"I think the front had something to do with it and I didn't know how to adjust. I was kind of banking on that to catch 5-pounders. I got one today, but I didn't get five of them.
"I didn't have any jitters. I fished calm and good. I just didn't have the bites."
41st: Lane's Fish didn't Bite
> Day 1: 5, 12-15
Bobby Lane said his mediocre showing on day 1 had nothing to do with muddy water.
"The fish just didn't bite," he said. "I know they were there because I could see them on the graph. I caught my biggest one (a 4-pounder) on my fifth cast of the day and I thought more of them would bite later in the day, but I came back and hit it again and it was still no good."
"I'm a little frustrated. I caught 5-pounders every day in practice, but today they just didn't show up."
53rd: Just 1 for Klein
> Day 1: 1, 4-06
Gary Klein's 30th Classic got off to a horrendous start.
“I’m not going to kid you, I sucked," he said. "I caught one fish. I just didn’t adjust.
"I wish I knew what I could’ve done different. I may have moved around too much or something. I don’t know. The last time I was here it was in May, and I don’t have any experience here in February.”