"You can catch a lot of threes and fours and fives down here, but this bag here, it blew me away," Rogers said. "I thought I had 25 pounds and I missed a 5 pounder that would have helped a little bit, but it was amazing.
"I don't want to say too much, but I'm (fishing) shallow and I'm flipping," he added. "I don't like sight fishing; it's not my ball game. If I have to, I have to, but hopefully at this tournament I won't have to do it."
Rogers also earned the $1,000 Busch Heavyweight prize for bringing in the largest catch of the day. If his 31-3 sack remains one of the top 10 from the Tour and Bassmaster Elite 50 series, the Florida angler will earn an invitation to the inaugural Busch Shootout, a single-day tournament with a $160,000 prize purse.
Rogers also earned $1,000 for the Purolator Big Bass of the day, and could win a $1,000 bonus from Purolator if it remains the biggest bass caught during the tournament.
Arkansas BASS veteran Ron Shuffield is happy with his day one catch of 23-8, although he is more than 7 pounds out of the lead. Shuffield had what he considers a great day.
"I was in a zone," Shuffield said. "I had a day where nothing went wrong. I caught everything that bit me ... (it was) just a tremendous day. I love this old lake. I think I'm on a little something that I can catch them. The pattern I'm on is not something where I think I'm going to get a lot of bites. I got on this in practice and didn't know I was on a pattern and I think it's just getting better."
While Rogers and Shuffield had a great day today, it was tame in comparison to the one that unfolded for Alabama pro Coby Carden. Carden asked his longtime girlfriend, Jenny, to marry him on stage. She was completely surprised and happily accepted.
"I had no idea," she said. "I would have had my nails done if I would have had any idea."
On the amateur side, South Carolina's Howard Stephens leads the field with 15-15, and Ohio's Robert Miller walked away $500 richer after day one. His 7-pound 2-ounce lunker was the Purolator Big Bass of the day on the amateur side.
The CITGO Bassmaster Tour on Lake Eufaula will continue Friday. Launch will be at the Lakepoint State Park Marina at 6 a.m. Weigh-ins will be at the marina beginning at 2:45 p.m.
Fans can watch "The CITGO Bassmasters" telecast of the Lake Eufaula tournament on Saturday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
The CITGO Bassmaster Tour events this season feature the highly interactive and family friendly BASS Sponsor Expo area. Sponsors present interactive exhibits and provide a fun family experience for all ages. The Expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday at Lakepoint State Park Marina.
The CastingKids program, presented by CITGO will be held in conjunction with the BASS Sponsor Expo Saturday, from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Lakepoint State Park Marina. Children between the ages of 7 and 14 can participate in the contest with the chance to earn a scholarship.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. This April, BASS introduces the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.
Associate Sponsors include G3 Boats and Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning.
Local Sponsors include the Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, State of Alabama Conservation Department.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.