UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Fritts brings ‘Blitz’ to Falcon

Fritts brings ‘Blitz’ to Falcon
David Fritts of Lexington shows off a portion of his record-breaking 37-2 catch on Falcon Lake.

ZAPATA, Texas - Going into the Walmart FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, the words "feast or famine" were used to described the conditions.

After day one of the Fish-Off, feast or famine is a dead-on description of what is happening on what has become known as America's top big bass location.

Indeed, Falcon did represent with some true glory bags today. In all, four limits over 30 pounds crossed the stage. Behind those, another five bags came in between 25 and 30 pounds.

But at the same time, there were 15 pros who did not break the 10-pound mark - feast or famine.

In the overall count between the Eastern and Western Division match-ups, the East did more feasting today. All total, 20 Eastern Division pros won their match-ups compared to 10 Western Division pros who beat their opponents.

And already the leaderboard is littered with some serious landslides. After day one there are now seven match-ups that feature a 20-plus pound deficit between the two pros.

Two Eastern Division pros in particular who are feasting big time, complete with momentum appetizers, include Chevy pro David Fritts and Yamaha pro Terry Bolton.

Fritts, who is coming off a Clarks Hill Eastern Series win, carried his momentum to Falcon to catch the biggest bag of the day: five bass for 37 pounds, 2 ounces.

What's more, Fritts' catch now stands as the heaviest single-day catch in FLW Outdoors history.

Just behind him is Bolton with 36 pounds, 13 ounces. Bolton, too, is on roll after a third place finish in the recent Forrest Wood Cup at Murray and a fifth place finish at Clarks Hill.

Fritts takes overall lead, blisters Meyer

"This is the most incredible tournament day I've ever had in my career," said Fritts after weighing in his 37-2. "This place is unreal, I've never had my string stretched like that; I'm not used to catching fish like this, it's a different universe here."

Fritts' bag consisted of two 8-pounders with the biggest weighing in at 8-13.

He caught his fish on a mixture of crankbaits, plastics and jigs. He fished just three areas, with the first area giving up several giants on his first three casts.

"After that, it kind of slowed down and I had to work for them," he added. "I've only hit three of my best places and I've got four other places I did not touch."

"And here's the scary part," Fritts warned. "That might be the smallest bag I weigh-in this week. All the places I'm fishing have big fish like that."

That news does not bode well for Fritts' opponent, Western Division pro Cody Meyer of Redding, California. While Fritts was feasting, Meyer experienced famine with just two bass weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces.

But it's not all bad news for Meyer because he has already qualified for the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup by being the top finisher in the Stren Series Championship from the West.

Bolton experiences Falcon at its best, but Riehl lurks

Yamaha pro Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark., will forever remember five consecutive A lasting memory: Terry Bolton shows off a part of his 36-13 catch from Falcon. Bolton's catch is now the third biggest single-day stringer in FLW Outdoors history.casts he made on Falcon Lake on day one of the East-West Fish-Off.

His first five fish he put in the boat today weighed an estimated 34 pounds. A few casts later he culled up to 36-13 before leaving his spot to let it rest.

Bolton's magnificent limit consisted of a 9-1 and an 8-7 as his two biggest bass to put him in second place overall.

"I might not catch another bass the rest of the week, and you know what, I don't really care," said Bolton as his hands still shook uncontrollably from his surreal fishing day. "That's the most unbelievable fishing day I've ever experienced; I'll have that memory for as long as I live."

Bolton, however, did not get lined up on his best spot correctly first thing this morning.

"I fished around it about 30 minutes without a bite when I looked at my GPS and discovered I was just a tick off the right spot," he related. "I moved down just a tad, made a cast and it was on. I caught a giant and in the next four casts I caught all her big sisters."

Ironically, Bolton noted that his magic spot does not look all that impressive on a depthfinder.

"You'd think there would be something major down there holding on those fish, but there's not," he explained. "Honestly, it does not look all that impressive."

Bolton caught his fish on a Zoom Ol' Monster worm and a Rapala DT 20 crankbait.

"I can you tell one thing, though," he added. "I'll have some bigger hooks tomorrow. I jumped a big one off today. And come to think of it, you know it's been a good day when you jump off a 7-pounder and say to yourself, `oh well, no big deal.'"

But even after such a tremendous day, Bolton can not quite count his ticket to the Forrest Wood Cup punched just yet. That's because his opponent, Rob Riehl of Tracy, Calif., did not have too shabby of a day either.

Riehl checked in a respectable 25 pounds, 1 ounce to hold his ground against Bolton. He is now some 12 pounds behind Bolton, which is nothing on Falcon, especially with two more days to play.

"I was feeling pretty good about my day until I saw Terry's bag," laughed Riehl. "But I'm fishing well, I feel good about what I'm doing and we still have two more days. Terry is one heck of a fisherman and if I have to catch even more than what I caught to beat him, then I need to live up to that."

Hackney on the attack with 32, Billheimer trails with 7-2

Greg Hackney is well on his way to a Forrest Wood Cup berth with 32-pound catch, some 25 pounds ahead of his competition.Eastern Division pro Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., cracked the 30-pound mark with 32 pounds to initiate an avalanche against young Western Division pro John Billheimer of Discovery Bay, Calif., who brought in three bass for 7 pounds, 2 ounces.

Hackney noted that Falcon Lake bass are some of the meanest on the planet and that he even had trouble getting a few of the monsters in the boat today.

"I broke my first one off, lost a couple more and then had one on that I could not even turn the reel handle on," Hackney said shaking his head. "I'm telling you, these are a different breed of bass on this pond. And they have a whole world of trees and brush down there to use to their advantage."

Hackney added that he is not really running a pattern, but is "spot fishing."

"I have no pattern," he said. "I've got three or four key areas that I'm bouncing around on and that's it."

Rose breaks 30, Spence close to 16

Eastern Division Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., broke the 30 pound barrier by Mark Rose shows off part of his 30-1 catch.one ounce to take a 15-pound lead over his competition, Bill Spence of Livermore, Calif., who weighed in 15-15.

Rose, currently fourth overall, has one little area he's hoping will hold up for three days and put him in the Forrest Wood Cup.

"I've got one school of fish and all my eggs are in that basket," Rose said. "From the looks of my limit, you'd think I jacked them up all day, but it was not really that easy. My bites were few and far between and it took all day to get my limit."

"You can not even imagine how big and mean these fish are here," he added. "I have a newfound appreciation for largemouth bass after today."

Baker represents Western Division by doling out 29-3 to McMillan's 5-4

Dustin Baker represented the West on day one with 29-3.All in all it was a tough day for the Western Division pros. Not only is the East ahead 20 to 10, but the first four positions in the tournament are taken up by Eastern Division pros.

But Western pro Dustin Baker of Lakeside, Calif., refuses to let his Western brethren down. He represented the West today with a limit weighing 29 pounds, 3 ounces to take fifth overall and leave his Eastern Division opponent Jimmy McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., in the dust at two bass for 5 pounds, 4 ounces.

Baker has found one creek channel break from 10 to 28 feet that is holding some quality fish.

"It was the very first place I checked in practice," Baker said. "I caught a couple of decent ones off it and thought: this is nothing, I'm going to find some real bass. Well, after spending the rest of practice struggling, I went right back there this morning and it turned out to be better than I thought."

Too close to call

With so much disparity in almost half the match-ups, there are a couple that are turning into real nailbiters.

For starters, Eastern Division Kellogg's pro Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas has a slim lead of 3 ounces over National Guard Western Pro Brent Ehrler of Redding, Calif.

Tutt caught 16 pounds, 12 ounces, while Ehrler reeled in 16 pounds, 9 ounces.

Another close contest is that of Eastern Pro Jake Deeds of El Dorado, Ark., and Western pro R.J. Bennett of Roseville, Calif.

Deeds has 21-13 to Bennett's 21-8, making the margin just 5 ounces, which is basically a single scale off a Falcon Lake monster.

Action continues Friday

Day two of the Walmart FLW Series Fish-Off on Falcon Lake begins at 7 a.m. Friday at the Zapata County Public Boat Ramp.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2008-11-20-east-west-fishoff 

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