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Quick Bites: EverStart Championship, Day 1

Quick Bites: EverStart Championship, Day 1
Pro Richard Grosse enjoys some limelight after capturing the day-one lead with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 8 ounces.

2001 EverStart Series Championship
Pickwick Lake, Florence, Ala.
Day one, Opening round

Last to first ... Pro Division leader Richard Grosse of Hebron, Ohio, couldn't believe his luck today. He finished in 55th place in the season's Northern Division standings and qualified for the championship in the division's last spot. With only one top-10 finish under his belt on the EverStart Series, he now finds himself leading the richest EverStart event of the year.

Rockin' Robertson ... EverStart Series pro heavyweight and $600,000 winner of the inaugural Ranger M1 Millennium tournament in 1999, Darrel Robertson has started strong again at this year's championship. At last year's EverStart Challenge at Cypress Gardens, the Jay, Okla., native led the opening round and eventually finished in third place. Today he caught one of the day's rare five-fish limits and weighed in 12 pounds, 10 ounces. It looked for a while like he might repeat as the championship's leader, but was eventually passed up by Richard Grosse and ended the day in second place. Robertson modestly said he was truly "blessed" today with his fish. And maybe he was. He had trouble catching fish in practice, but found some schooling this morning. With just three fish in his livewell, he managed to hook two bass at the same time on a crankbait cast to fill out his limit. "If a guy gets close to the right ledge, there's fish out there," he said. "But there's also a lot of ledges without fish."

The yo-yo effect ... Third-place pro Joe Balog of Independence, Ohio, has a history of up-and-down performances in his first year on the EverStart Series. Fishing the Northern Division, he caught a 20-pound stringer on day one at Sandusky Bay and followed it up on day two with a feeble one-bass, 3-pound catch weight. At Lake Erie he "bonked," as he put it, on day one with one fish weighing just over two pounds and came back on day two with a five-bass weight pushing 20 pounds. Simply catching a five-bass limit was exceptional in today's competition, and Balog happens to be one of the few anglers who did it. Will history repeat itself? Is he destined to "bonk" tomorrow? "If I get some current or wind, I don't think I'll have any problems," he said. Balog said he thinks he's found a way to catch these finicky Pickwick bass - but he wouldn't elaborate. "I can't say," he said. "I need those fish for tomorrow."

Pro Arlie Napier watches as two of his fish are DQed for being too short.Time for boarding school, perhaps? ... Tournament favorite Arlie Napier of Middlesboro, Ky., brought five bass to the weigh-in tent today but only weighed in three of them. Two of his fish were disqualified because they were too short. Just barely. As tournament officials measured the fish, they reached just past the 14 1/2-inch line on the measuring board. The minimum size for this event is 15 inches. Napier, who measured the fish on the same type of board before he brought them in, said he confused the 14 1/2-inch line with the 15-inch line. "It's all right," he said. "I'm on (fish). I'll get `em tomorrow."

Renee Flesh took day-one Big Bass honors in the Co-angler Division with this 5-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth.Geared up for gar ... Fifth-place Renee Flesh of Edwardsburg, Mich., caught the Big Bass on the co-angler side today. The sweet smallmouth weighed in 5 pounds, 6 ounces and earned her $250 for the award. Her only keeper bass of the day, Flesh almost didn't even try to bring the smallie into the boat when she hooked it. "When it hit, I thought I had a gar on the line," she said. "We were catching gars all day long."

Quick Number

3: Number of five-fish limits caught by the entire tournament field, Pro and Co-angler Division, on day one. It was a record low number of limits for one day of EverStart Series competition.

Sound Bites

"Dynamite."
- Overheard response to the question, "What are you fishing with tomorrow?"

"I think this place is cool."
- Joe Balog, expressing his opinion of Pickwick Lake.

Quick Links, Day 1:

Photos
Results
Tomorrow's pairings
Grosse grabs lead in 2001 EverStart Championship
Press release

Tags: jeff-schroeder  quick-bites  2001-11-07-pickwick-lake 

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