While most everyone else focused on catching bass in various spawning stages, the opposite held true for Clark Reehm. He intentionally avoided spawning bass and took the early lead at the Ross Barnett Reservoir Bassmaster Central Open.
Reehm's 20-15 stringer led 2nd-place Caleb Sumrall (19-08) by about 1 1/2-pounds. Fred Roumbanis was third with 18-08 and Brad Whatley 4th with 18-05
"I am looking for largemouth that are unaffected by the weather," said Reehm. "A cold front like we had this morning can completely change a spawning bite."
Actively feeding bass are his target. That is a smart move for obvious reasons.
"If they are hungry, they will bite," he continued. "Twelve months of the year fish will be hungry, so why bother chasing those doing anything else?"
Reehm also caught the day's biggest bass - an 8-01 specimen that bit on his third cast of the morning.
"I'm not at all concerned about the fishing pressure because I'm using something different," he said.
What that something different is remains a mystery, although a "reaction lure" capable of triggering strikes is a logical assumption.
Searching for new water is a daunting task when beginning a tournament, but that forced move paid off for Sumrall. Incoming cloud cover made the gamble worth the risk.
"The clouds turned on a big-bass bite for me as I moved along," he said. "I'm fishing what I know because it's my first experience here."
Moving along meant using a lure capable of covering water, stimulating a reaction bite along the way. That may change with Friday's weather, and Sumrall plans to be ready. Fishing with an open mind, as he did today, is the game plan.
"Hopefully, I can take what I found today and expand on it tomorrow, given the adjustments."
Here's a look at the intial top 12:
1. Clark Reehm: 20-15
2. Caleb Sumrall: 19-08
3. Fred Roumbanis: 18-08
4. Brad Whatley:18-05
5. Ken Iyobe: 17-11
6. Mark Hicks: 17-00
7. Stephen Mitchell: 17-00
8. Luke Palmer: 16-15
9. Marty Torrence: 15-12
10. M.J. Vihannek Jr.: 15-11
11. Bryan Finch: 15-05
12. David Gillham: 15-02