After the final fish was weighed at the Lewis Smith Lake Dam Access, Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. sat atop the leaderboard and now has his sights set on the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“My weight doesn’t really show the whole story of exactly what went on out there,” said Ehrler, the second-place finisher at the FLW Tour season opener at Lake Okeechobee. “It was pretty interesting how my day went. I mixed it up and did a bunch of different things. I was fortunate enough to get a couple of big bites.”
Ehrler brought a five-fish limit of spotted bass to the scales that weighed 17 pounds, 8 ounces.
He holds a slim 8-ounce lead over Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., who weighed in 17 pounds even.
The top 10 pros after day one on Lewis Smith Lake are: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., five bass, 17-8, Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., five bass, 17-0, Wayne Hauser, Mooresville, N.C., five bass, 16-8, Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 16-2, Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., four bass, 15-2, Koby Kreiger, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 15-0, Blake Nick, Adger, Ala., five bass, 14-15, Jacob Powroznik, Prince George, Va., five bass, 14-11, Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., five bass, 14-11 and John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., five bass, 14-7
McMillan won the Big Bass Award on the pro side with a fish weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces worth $500.
Overall there were 693 bass weighing 1,398 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 161 pros Thursday. The catch included 112 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing.
The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River.
Patrick Stines of Granger, Ind., leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 1 ounce followed by Tom Stark of Angola, Ind., in second place with five bass weighing 10-7.
The remaining top 10 co-anglers are: Rick Bowen, Jackson, Tenn., five bass, 10-6, Mike Hardin Sr., Robertsdale, Ala., five bass, 10-5, Benjie Seaborn, Guin, Ala., four bass, 9-15, Don Harvey, Franklin, Tenn., four bass, 9-14, Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, five bass, 8-15, Alan Woodford, Winslow, Ind., five bass, 8-14, Hoyt Tidwell, West Point, Tenn., five bass, 8-7 and Glenn Day, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 8-6.
Roger Walters of Madisonville, Ky., caught Thursday’s Big Bass weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 349 bass weighing 577 pounds, 3 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 27 five-bass limits.
Anglers will take off from Smith Lake Dam Access at 7 a.m. the first two days of competition. On the last two days takeoff will be at Smith Lake Dam Access at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Smith Lake Dam Access beginning at 3 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart in Jasper beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins.
The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. On Sunday, country music artist Dylan Scott will perform a free concert for fans on the FLW stage starting at 3 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.