Pam Martin-Wells of Bainbridge, Ga., weighed in a five-fish limit of Coosa River spotted bass of 12 pounds, 6 ounces, for an opening-round advantage of almost three pounds over Tammie Muse of North Little Rock, Ark. The winner of the event will receive $10,000 in cash plus a fully rigged Triton boat with Mercury outboard valued at $50,000.
“I was kind of surprised that all I caught were spotted bass,” Martin-Wells said. “I thought I would have a mixed-species limit. I didn’t stay in any one place too long, but I was fortunate in that I caught fish just about everywhere I went.”
Martin-Wells expects the fishing conditions to change if the current weather pattern of sunshine holds throughout the three-day tournament.
“I think it’s going to take about 35 pounds to win if the fishing stays like it was today,” said Martin-Wells, who was the winner of the WBT preview event. “If the largemouths bite, everything will be different.”
Muse, who is battling a case of pneumonia, said she felt the bout may have helped her to a weight of 9-8.
“My doctor wanted to put me in the hospital, but I told him I couldn’t do that,” Muse said. “I wasn’t about to miss this tournament. We’re making history here. I just don’t have my complete energy back. But that turned out to be a good thing, because the fish wanted it slow.”
Dianna Clark of Bumpus Mills , Tenn., the reigning Toyota WBT Angler of the Year, was in third place with 8-15 after what she considered a difficult day on the water, which started with a fog delay of a little more than an hour.
“The fish I had been catching in practice just shut down,” said Clark. “I just wish the weather hadn’t made such a drastic change from what I call ‘junky’ weather to a bluebird sky.”
Rounding out the top five were Sheri Glasgow of Muskogee, Okla., with 8-1 and Juanita Robinson of Highlands, Texas, with 8-0. Robinson is riding a wave of momentum from winning the season-opening event of the 2007 Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats. That event was on Lake Amistad two weeks ago.
On the co-angler side, Angie Everett of Livingston, Texas, leads with 4-15, followed by Sharon Rushton of Kimberling City, Mo., at 4-12.
Friday’s weigh-in will be at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in the ESPN Classic Expo presented by Under Armour at 3 p.m. The women will weigh in Saturday on the Bassmaster Classic stage at 3:15 p.m., just before the Bassmaster Classic contenders begin to weigh-in their catches.
Sponsors of the Women's Bassmaster Tour include Mercury Marine, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advance Auto Parts and Plano.
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