In the days leading up to the 2019 WON Bass U.S. Open on Lake Mead, the weather did anything but cooperate. Strong winds kept the field of 254 pro anglers and their AAA partners confined to areas that weren’t pounded by the resultant waves. On the eve of the 37th edition of the event, the wind laid down.
When those conditions present themselves to tournament anglers, the immediate thought is that the bite is going to be tough. While the results showed that much of the field found the fishing to be difficult, someone will always find a way to put together a bite.
On day 1, that proved to be former U.S. Open champion Justin Kerr and his partner Bo McNeely. Their 11.67-pound limit put Kerr in position to claim his second victory in the event. Nick Salvucci, who has been close to winning the past two years, and his AAA partner Brandon Smith came in with 11.35 pounds to end the day in 2nd place.
Kerr (at left in photo), a resident of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., said that he just took what Lake Mead gave him.
“We had an early draw today and it took a while for the bite to get going, but when it did, we were able to put it together,” he said. “There were a lot of boats in the area, so we had to kind of lock down in one spot and do what we could; everything just kind of worked out.”
Kerr said that his partner helped the cause. “These events become a team event for the day, and my partner caught a 3-pounder that really helped. I don’t know how tomorrow will go, but I’ll go out there and see what I can put together.”
Salvucci said he used a variety of techniques in the mid-lake area to sack his day’s weight. “I used about 20 different rods today to catch my fish; it was a junk-fishing day,” he said. “I never really knew what I was going to get bit on, so I just picked something up and culled as many times as I could. I’ve been close the past two years and I’m ready to see if I can make it happen this year.”
Pro Cody Spetz and AAA Aaron Manning brought a 10.49-pound limit to the scales to finish the day in 3rd place. They were followed by the pairing of Jordan Collom and Dominick Mohameds in 4th with 10.35, and rounding out the top 5 was pro Jared Lintner and partner Austin Kubica with 10.20.
The pro winner of the three-day event will receive $100,000 cash and the keys to a 2019 Bass Cat Puma FTD powered by a Mercury Pro XS 250 outboard. The live broadcast, presented by Bridgford Foods and Life Source Water Systems, is streaming the action from the waters of Mead, the weigh-in at Callville Bay Marina and the awards ceremony from the Railhead Room at Boulder Station Casino. All can be found at www.WONBass.com.
For complete day-1 results, click here.