Scroggins, who already has officially qualified for the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic (Pittsburgh, Penn., July 29-31), stormed to the Day One lead on West Point Lake with a limit of 14 pounds, 10 ounces. He narrowly leads angler Gerald Beck of Lexington, N.C., by five ounces.
Scroggins used a run and gun style, but his best fish came while finessing a Zoom plastic worm which he worked in six to 10 feet of water.
” We fished from the dam to Yellow Jacket and back,” Scroggins said. “These fish are in a transition period and just hard as heck to locate. I feel like I was on them today, but it was really tough out there,” Scroggins said.
Scroggins is one of many BASS pros in the field this week. And though Scroggins is eager to fish the Classic in Pittsburgh, his mind was in just one place this week.
“I just want to make the cut,” Scroggins said. “We can talk about the Classic after this one is over with.”
Trailing Scroggins by a mere five ounces is Beck.
Beck, a Classic competitor three times prior, had a peculiar day. Although he only caught two fish, they totaled 14 pounds, five ounces. Included in his bag was a 7-7 lunker, which earned him the Purolator Big Bass for Day One and an extra $1,000.
But the day was fractured for Beck. Though he had a strong performance, he agonized at weigh-in over a 4-pound bass that got away.
“He broke the line before I could get him in the boat,” Beck said. “That was a great crank bait he broke off and I wish I still had it.”
Beck worked a crank bait along with a Zoom Z-Nail for most of the day with the 7-7 big bass striking a crank bait.
In third place at the end of Day One was Mark Menendez, who is recovering from a recent hospitalization.
During a BASS pro stop on Lake Guntersville four months ago, Menedez was hospitalized for a week due to meningitis. It now appears Menendez is on the fast track to recovery, as he bagged a limit of 12 pounds, two ounces.
“It is great to be fishing again,” Menedez said. “I really want a shot at qualifying for the 2006 Classic.”
Much like Scroggins, Menendez used a run and gun approach looking for small stretches of cover to fish. “I had a pretty good day,” Menendez said. “I slowed down enough on one stretch that I caught four keeper fish. That was really the highlight of my day.”
Rounding out the top five are Ohio’s Brent Broderick (11-14) and Alabama’s Chuck Thurlow (11-13).
The Day One leader on the non-boater side was Alabama’s Tim Windham who caught a three-fish limit of nine pounds, seven ounces. Trailing Windham is Florida’s Steve Chandler (8-7) and Alabama’s Steve Graziano (8-1).
After Friday, only the top 50 boaters and non-boaters will move on to fish the final day.
The next stop on the Southern Open schedule is Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala., Sept. 22-24. The Southern Open will close on Oct. 27-29, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla., site of the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
BASS last visited West Point Lake in 1987.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Open Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).
Local sponsors include the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208.