UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Robinson takes early lead at FLW Series

Robinson takes early lead at FLW Series
South Carolina pro Marty Robinson take the early lead in the FLW Series event on Clarks Hill with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 4 ounces.

APPLING, Ga. - There is no magic bullet for fishing clear-water southeastern impoundments in the middle of September, but some clouds and a little breeze can go a long way in improving the overall bite. That's exactly what the pros got Wednesday at the Walmart FLW Series event being held on Clarks Hill Reservoir.

After the day-one takeoff this morning, heavy clouds with a little drizzle and breeze moved in and held over the lake for few hours, allowing pros to capitalize on low-light conditions. As a result, the bite was a little better than expected. In all, 64 limits crossed the stage in the Pro Division, and the top-10 cut stands at 11 pounds, 2 ounces.

Marty Robinson of Lyman, S.C., took the early lead with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 4 ounces. His leading catch included the Folgers Big Bass in the Pro Division for day one, which weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces and earned him $453.

In all, Robinson caught eight keepers on the day, most of which came before 10 a.m.

"I started on grass this morning, and that cloud cover really helped prolong that bite," Robinson said. "I've got a little deal that produced one or two decent fish each morning of practice, but it's over after about an hour. This morning the cloud cover allowed me to keep working that pattern until about 10 o'clock. And after I boated the big fish, I kind of laid off and tried to help my co-angler catch a few fish."

Although Robinson does not consider Clarks Hill his home lake, he did say he fishes it five or six times a year, which gives him a little advantage in knowing how the fish act with changing weather conditions.

"I've got some deep places that I never went to today," Robinson added. "If it slicks off and gets sunny, I might resort to that kind of fishing later in the week. But hopefully we'll get some more clouds and rain in here the next couple of days to keep things going."
Vic Vatalaro is on a roll: He weighed in 13-15 on day one of the FLW Series event to start the event in second place.
Vatalaro second

As proof that momentum and confidence go hand in hand in tournament bass fishing, Iams pro Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, is in second place after winning the last FLW Series tournament on Lake Dardanelle.

He weighed in five bass today for 13 pounds, 15 ounces, which included a 5-1 kicker.

"After that win at Dardanelle, I've got a ton of confidence in that little Berkley Power Finesse Worm," Vatalaro said. "I tried throwing other stuff here in practice, but every time I picked that little worm up, I'd start catching them."

Vatalaro is fishing depths of 5 to 10 feet with the Power Worm.

"In practice I just covered miles and miles of water with the worm," Vatalaro said. "I'd spread my casts out about 30 feet apart, just trying to get bites. I'd go a long while without a bite and then suddenly catch three or four in a row in a place that looked just like the other five miles I just fished. I marked those places on my GPS, and those fish are still there. I honestly have no idea why they're in these certain little spots, but they are and they really like that worm."

Brauer third
Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Mo., is in third place with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces.
Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Mo., is in third place with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces.

Brauer's limit was anchored by a 4-pound, 12-ounce kicker.

"The only way I've been able to catch fish consistently is to stay in the grass," Brauer said. "It's a matter of covering a lot of water to get a bite; I wouldn't exactly say it's fast and furious, but it was better than I expected overall. I think the cloud cover and breeze really helped today. If we could get some more clouds and rain this week, catches might even go up."

Murphy fourth
National Guard pro Michael Murphy of Gilbert, S.C., is in fourth place with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 1 ounce, which included a 4-1 kicker.
National Guard pro Michael Murphy of Gilbert, S.C., is in fourth place with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 1 ounce, which included a 4-1 kicker.

Murphy also noted that cloud cover was a big key in his fishing today, especially for the shallow fish.

"Some places I'm fishing are 25 feet deep, and some are 6 inches deep," Murphy said. "The shallower places were definitely better today thanks to the cloud cover. I probably cranked my boat engine 80 times today trying to stay on the move and take advantage of those clouds."

Butcher fifth

Terry Butcher of Talala, Okla., rounded out the top five with a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 12 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Walmart FLW Series BP Eastern on Clarks Hill after day one:

6th: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 12-3
7th: Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., five bass, 11-9
7th: Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga., five bass, 11-9
7th: Bud Pruitt of Houston, five bass, 11-9
10th: Jimmy McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., five bass, 11-2

Blackerby leads co-anglers
Bob Blackerby leads the Co-angler Division of the Clarks Hill FLW Series thanks to this 6-13 lunker.
Bob Blackerby of Chelsea, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division of the FLW Series event on Clarks Hill with two bass weighing a total of 8 pounds, 14 ounces.

No, that's not a misprint: Blackerby caught just two keeper bass today, but one weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, easily taking the Folgers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division worth $302.

Blackerby caught the giant bass while fishing behind last year's Clarks Hill winner, David Fritts.

"I caught it on a Fluke, and the whole time I thought I had a big striper or something," Blackerby said. "I could not believe it was a largemouth."

Divis only 11 ounces behind

Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., is in second place with a five-bass limit weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

Divis fished behind pro Will Hardy and caught his fish on a split-shot rig and his famous football-head jig.

Rest of the best

Brian Jones of Verbena, Ala., is in third place in the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces.

Tied for fourth are Bart Blackburn of North Augusta, Ga., and Matt Krekovich of Granite City, Ill., both with 7 pounds, 2 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the FLW Series BP Eastern on Clarks Hill after day one:

6th: Van Roy Foster of Dalton, Ga., four bass, 6-15
6th: Rodger Ray of Social Circle, Ga., five bass, 6-15
8th: James Soden of Grant, Ala., four bass, 6-12
9th: Tyler Bray of Malvern, Ark., two bass, 6-6
10th: Frank Mackin of New Port Richey, Fla., three bass, 6-5

Day two of the Walmart FLW Series BP Eastern on Clarks Hill will begin Thursday at 7 a.m. at Wildwood Park locate at 6212 Holloway Road in Appling, Ga.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2009-09-16-clarks-hill-lake 

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