Especially impressive were the first-day scores of Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala. and Byron Velvick of Boulder City, Nev. That 24 hours earlier were in Missouri, fishing in the Bassmaster Elite tournament on Table Rock Lake.
Here's what the top finishers had to say at the U.S. Open:
Aaron Haring anchored his first day catch with a 4.05-pound largemouth and finished with 14.50 pounds. “It was a great day,” said the Corona pro. “We caught 'em early,” he added.
If there is a problem for Haring, it is that he is not alone. “There were a lot of boats around,” he said.
URIBE CLOSE, NIELSEN SCORES LATE
Joe Uribe, Jr. of Lake Forest was pleased with his first day catch of 14.13 pounds, including a 4.85-pound largemouth. “I caught more than thought I would,” he said. “We had fun and stayed close (Vegas Wash) and fished conservative.
Uribe said he concentrated on 10 to 15-foot depths and “caught fish all day.”
Scott Nielson of Salt Lake City weighed in 11.63 pounds, good for third place, but his largest fish was just 2.84 pounds, and the early bite was unproductive. “It slowly got better later in the day,” he said. “I wish I didn't have to come in.”
RACE EXTREMELY CLOSE
Brent Ehrler, the recently crowned FLW Tour Champion from Redlands, Calif. was strong on day one, but not entirely happy with his 11.54 pounds. He referred to his day as spotted with “mixed little flurries” and so he may have to adjust.
“I'm going to change up,” he said. “I've got to find some new stuff.”
In fifth spot, Matt Shura of Mesa, Ariz. Weighed 10.68 pounds and did not have much company. Compared to practice, he said, “It went much better today.” In catching 30 fish on the day, he said, “There was only one other boat in the area.”
Just .01-pound behind in 6th was Ben Koller of Peoria, Ariz. was elated with his 10.67 pounds. “I'm tickled with what I found,” he said. “It got tough with the wind (Friday/Saturday) and I thought I would only get 5 bites a day.”
Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz. was satisfied with his 10.53-pound catch. “I had a good day,” he said. “I didn't' have too much time to practice, but I got some decent bass. “I'm happy with the catch.”
CROSS COUNTRY STARS
Don't let something like a 24-hour drive get in the way of your tournament fishing. That seems to be what Aaron Martens and Byron Velvick were saying, as they went 8th and 9th, respectively on the first day with 10.44 and 9.98 pounds.
Showing signs of fatigue at the weigh-in, nonetheless they had fish in the box. “I need some sleep,” said Martens.
Getting out in an early flight, Velvick, said, “I took advantage of a short day. I fished local. There were lots of boats around.”
Rounding out the top 10 was Mark Walsh of Las Vegas with 9.64 pounds.
NOTABLE: Tim Klinger, the local favorite, was hovering near the top, weighing in 9.57 pounds, despite “a bad decision” on the water. “But,” he said, 9 pounds isn't too bad for the first day.”