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Attaway on his way with Stren Series lead

Attaway on his way with Stren Series lead
Norm Attaway of Clearwater, S.C., leads the Stren Series Southeastern Division on Santee Cooper after day one with five bass weighing 21-12.

MANNING, S.C. - Despite light winds, partly cloudy skies and clearing water conditions on Santee Cooper lakes, the sight-fishing bite was not as strong as some thought it might be for the Stren Series Southeast event.

Indeed, some pros atop the leaderboard did sight-fish, but most who did noted that many of the fish they found during practice were gone, and they had to hunt new ones today. Other pros said they had to mix in some good, old-fashioned blind-casting to fill out their limits after catching one or two sight-fish.

Similar to last year, Santee Cooper's lower lake seems to be the hot lake once again as most leaders are fishing down in Lake Moultrie.

Norm Attaway of Clearwater, S.C., a strong Walmart BFL stick in the Carolinas, posted a 21-pound, 12-ounce catch to take the early lead.

Attaway is focusing on a shallow grass pattern in the lower lake and is not sight-fishing per se.

"I'm fishing a particular kind of grass," Attaway said. "And up until today, I have not needed to go up and look at the fish - I could just catch them making a long cast up into the grass. But today my bite got a lot tougher, and a couple of times I did go up there and look, just to make sure the fish were still there. I was not trying to sight-fish for them; I was just making sure they were still in the neighborhood."

Attaway described his fish as being both spawning and postspawn fish.

"I'm sure some of them are on beds, but some of them are just up there cruising around," he said. "My bigger fish always seem to come from out in front of the grass, so I think the females are more out in front, just swimming around, while the males are up actually on beds in the grass."

Attaway also said that he only visited two of the six areas that fit his grass pattern today.

"I've got four or five more of these areas with this particular type of grass that I have not fished yet," he added. "Hopefully those fish are still there and I can catch some the next couple of days."

Hutson second

Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner, S.C., is in second place with a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 3
Pro Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner, S.C. is in second place after day one with a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 3 ounces. ounces.

Hutson is a local sight-fishing ace who finished second in the Stren Series tourney here in 2007. He is strictly sight-fishing, but noted that all the fish he found in practice left him high and dry today, and he had to start finding new ones on the fly.

"Last weekend we had the biggest wave of fish move up that I've seen all year," Hutson said. "But they are very here-today-gone-tomorrow kind of fish. One day they'll be paired up, rolling with each other, and the next day they're gone. I'm just hoping that there are still some moving up for the next full moon and that I can find some new ones over the next couple of days."

Canterbury's fire continues

Pro Scott Canterbury is in third place with after day one with 19-1Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., continues to blow the doors off the competition in FLW Outdoors tournaments. Consider that in the last two years he has scored an impressive four top-10s in Walmart FLW Tour competition, and now he is well on his way to snagging his first Stren Series top-10 finish with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce.

"I found three bass on beds in practice, and I caught those this morning and then finished my limit just fishing around," Canterbury said. "My biggest fish came from just fishing - it was not on a bed. I've really got no more bedding fish left to go to, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow."

Canterbury believes this is the tail end of the spawn.

"There are a few left on beds here and there, but they're really spotty," he added. "And they're bedding out deep too. The three I caught off beds this morning were bedded out pretty deep and hard to see. I'd like to find a few more of those kinds of fish tomorrow."

Kendrick fourth

Jay Kendrick of Grant, Ala., is in fourth place with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces.Pro Jay Kendrick of Grant, Ala., is in fourth place on day one with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces.

Kendrick caught his entire limit off two beds today.

"I found a bed in practice that had two big fish on it," Kendrick said. "I ran straight to it this morning; I was boat No. 150, and I was worried someone would beat me to it. There was no one there, and instead of two bass, there were three bass on this one bed, and I caught all three of them. Then I went to another pair I found in practice and caught those two."

Late this afternoon, Kendrick found another bed that had two good fish on it, and he hopes to start on those first thing Friday morning.

Fowler fifth

Wayne Fowler of Terry, Miss., rounds out the top five in the Pro Division with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Stren Series event on Santee Cooper after day one:

6th: Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C., five bass, 17-10
7th: Ryan Worthington of Middleburg, Fla., five bass, 17-7
8th: Matt Peters of Roswell, Fla., five bass, 17-3
9th: Daniel Beckham of Zephyrhills, Fla., five bass, 16-11
10th: Gary Thacker of Athens, Ala., four bass, 16-9

Big bass

Eddie Melton of Charleston, S.C., caught the Folgers Big Bass in the Pro Division on day one weighing 9 pounds, 1 ounces and worth $357.

Breckenridge leads co-anglers

Larry Breckenridge of Dothan, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division of the Stren Series event on Santee Cooper with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces.Larry Breckenridge of Dothan, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division of the Stren Series event on Santee Cooper with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces.

"My biggest fish came on a Skinny Dipper," Breckenridge said of his day. "And the others came on a red-bug-colored 8-inch Culprit worm and a June-bug-colored Zoom G-tail worm."

Buck second

Ron Buck of Port St. Lucie, Fla., is in second place with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 6 ounces.

"We were fishing cypress trees on the lower lake, and I was pitching a Senko to the base of the trees," Buck said.

Rest of the best

Luke Campbell of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is in third place with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces.

Shawn Malcom of Monroe, Ga., is in fourth place with a five bass weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces.

Albert Pieper of Summerville, S.C., rounds out the top five in the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the Stren Series event on Santee Cooper after day one:

6th: Ryan Phillips of McCalla, Ala., four bass, 11-3
7th: Steve Crowley of Lakeland, Fla., three bass, 10-8
8th: Walter Cumbee of Moncks Corner, S.C., five bass, 10-4
9th: Tony Cook of Summerville, S.C., three bass, 10-1
10th: Al Odom of Chapin, S.C. two bass, 9-13

Big bass

David Olinger of Pikeville, Tenn., caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day one weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces worth $179.

Day two of the Stren Series Southeast on Santee Cooper will begin Friday at 7 a.m. from John C Land III Landing located at County Road S-14-260 (Greenall Road) in Summerton, S.C.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2009-04-30-santee-cooper 

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