UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Gray Paces TBF Field at Table Rock

Gray Paces TBF Field at Table Rock
Daniel Gray of the Mid-Atlantic Division took the day-one lead in the 2016 TBF National Championship on Table Rock Lake with 13 pounds, 13 ounces.

Though better was expected of Table Rock Lake this week, it was a stingy fishery that greeted anglers in the opening round of the 2016 The Bass Federation National Championship Thursday. Symptomatic of the lake’s sour disposition, of the 94 anglers in the three-day event, only 10 brought in limits to the weigh-in at Port of Kimberling Resort & Marina – and none of them was hauled to the scale by a co-angler.

However compassionate he might have felt toward his struggling competitors, Daniel Gray didn’t show it when he was acclaimed the tournament’s leader by TBF President and CEO Robert Cartlidge. Gray, who represents the Mid-Atlantic Division in the venerable event, had a five-fish sack that totaled 13 pounds, 13 ounces. Heading into Friday’s second round, Justin Parrott of the Northern Division is second with 13-01, and Corey Cook of the Mid-Atlantic Division is third with 12-13. On the co-angler side, Dennis Hastings of the Central Division is leading with three fish and 7-14.

Gray admits that he is mildly surprised to lead the opening round, but feels confident that he could do at least as well the next two days.

“I lost my first two fish. They came up and shook off. Considering how the fishing has been going downhill for just about everybody the last few days, it bothered me, but then I caught my limit by 10 o’clock,” recalls Gray. “All day, I caught 16 keepers and culled six times. I’m doing several things to get bites, but mainly I’m cranking. That was the most consistent thing.”

A resident of Pennsylvania who qualified through the District of Columbia state team, Gray says he moved around quite a bit Thursday, but eventually found two areas that he thinks he can count on for more limits the next two days. Unlike several other contenders, Gray isn’t counting on early spawners to fill out his sack, but rather is relying on prespawn bass staging in deeper water.

Some big ones are out there, as Stan Fisher of Montana proved Thursday when he brought in a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth. It was his only fish, not counting the 50-pound spoonbill he hooked on the next cast.

 

2. Justin Parrott – Northern Division, Illinois – 13-01

Justin Parrott didn’t have any fish in his Ranger until well up in the morning. Then, as was the case for most anglers, he “caught one here and one there, just grinding it out.” Parrott boated six keepers in all and culled once. Like Gray, he admits that he was fishing offshore. His best move of the day might have been the shout-out he gave to his wife, Heidi, back home in Maroa, Ill. It was her birthday and the couple’s ninth wedding anniversary.

 

3. Corey Cook – Mid-Atlantic Division, West Virginia – 12-13

Fishing in his first TBF National Championship, Corey Cook echoed what most other competitors said: “It was a grind.” He caught his first fish at 8 o’clock, then averaged a keeper an hour until 11. After that, he had to scramble to boat his last 15-inch fish. With about an hour to go, he caught a sixth keeper, but it didn’t help him. Cook wound up with three largemouths, a smallmouth and a spot.

“I had to throw quite a few different baits, but I really only caught them on one specific thing. I’ll be throwing that tomorrow,” he confesses. “I think there are quite a few fish that have moved up and are on the beds, but you have to back off and fan-cast around where you think they are. I imagine the weights are going to go up with the water temperature the next couple of days.”

 

4. Pat Klausen – Central Division, Nebraska – 12-07

Pat Klausen heads up a scrum of Central Division fishermen in the top six. Like Cook, he was one of those anglers who spent a lot of time running from one area to another and fished all the way from near the dam to up the James River.

“I had four keepers in the well all day and didn’t get my fifth until there was about two hours left to fish,” he recalls. “I do feel like I’ve got a good pattern going for me. It’s just that the fish are not very aggressive right now.”

 

5. Jason Benjamin – Central Division, Kansas – 12-07

The Kansas angler boated four solid keepers to amass his weight. He tried bed-fishing for a while but couldn’t get the fish to commit and switched to cranking shorelines.

“I wasn’t using a [Storm] Wiggle Wart, which is the deal on this lake, because I wanted to show them something different,” says Benjamin. At least four bass appreciated the difference.

 

Hastings is Ahead in Co-angler Ranks

Texas fisherman Dennis Hastings weighed his three bass early Thursday afternoon and didn’t figure 7-14 would stay at the top of the co-angler standings. He was wrong. He heads into the second round with a 15-ounce lead over Wisconsin angler Brooks Gullixon, who also had three fish.

“Mostly I threw an A-rig all day,” confesses Hastings, of Flower Mound, Texas. “I caught three fish, and they were all keepers. I believe I could have done better if I’d had some wind. The sun came out, and that was a help, but they sure weren’t eating it up.”

The tournament winner plus the divisional leaders on the boater and co-angler side will win spots in the upcoming FLW Bass Fishing League All-American on Lake Barkley. The current leaders are:

 

Boater

Central Division: Pat Klausen, Nebraska, 12-07 (5)

Eastern Division: Tim Farrell, Massachusetts, 11-12 (4)

Mid-Atlantic Division: Daniel Gray, District of Columbia, 13-13 (5)

Northern Division: Justin Parrott, Illinois, 13-01 (5)

Northwest Division: Aaron Echternkamp, Washington, 12-04 (5)

Southern Division: Nelson Walker, South Carolina, 11-08 (4)

Southwest Division: Sam Heckman, Colorado, 11-09 (5)

 

Co-Angler

Central Division: Dennis Hastings, Texas, 7-14 (3)

Eastern Division: Scott Balasco, Rhode Island, 6-00 (3)

Mid-Atlantic Division: Mike Renshaw, Virginia, 5-10 (2)

Northern Division: Brooks Gullixon, Wisconsin, 6-15 (3)

Northwest Division: Danny Stamper, Montana, 5-14 (3)

Southern Division: Adam Wood, Georgia, 6-06 (3)

Southwest Division: Inder Lopez, California, 5-14 (3)

 

 

Tags: tbf-championship  table-rock  daniel-gray  colin-moore  article 

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