The Leader in Pro Bass Fishing News!
Facebook Twitter

Hahner takes early lead at Hartwell

Hahner takes early lead at Hartwell

When the window of opportunity opened, Cody Hahner of Wausau, Wis., seized the moment and nabbed a pair of big largemouth bass to anchor a limit of 20-04 that gave him the day-1 lead at the Lake Hartwell Bassmaster Eastern Open

“My morning started off fine and I was on course to catch 11 to 12 pounds, and then I stumbled across something special,” Hahner said. “It was one of those days where, if you fish enough, it will happen. But for it to happen in a tournament was unbelievable. I took advantage of a situation that just materialized.”

Hahner is proud that his plan produced two big fish that went 6-03 and 5-08.

He caught those two kickers and several more bass on a mix of reaction baits selected to mimic Hartwell’s sizable blueback herring population. He rotated through a big walking topwater bait, a jerkbait and a fluke.

The key to success, Hahner said, was a blistering retrieve.

“These herring are quick baitfish and you have to keep a bait moving fast to get them to react,” he said. “I was watching spotted bass chasing my bait and there was no way I could keep it away from them.

“A fast, slashing bait was the key. I was just mixing it up and whatever I felt was right at the current moment is what I threw. It seemed like every decision I made was a good one.”

During the usual mid-day slowdown, Hahner turned to a dropshot and a shaky-head.

“There was definitely a midday lull and even into the end of the day, it was tough,” Hahner said. “The fish are getting really beat up. Everybody knows where to fish and it’s just a matter of if you get there at the right time and you just pop one in the head.”

Despite holding a lead of 3-12, Hahner said his day was no cakewalk. With the exception of his magical mid-morning flurry that produced his heaviest two bass, Hahner described a lake full of often indecisive fish.

“Most of the time, the fish are just following your bait back,” he said. “It’s really hard to get a bite. I was just on the bookend of a very fortunate event.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s second round, Hahner said he wouldn’t hesitate to exploit another golden opportunity like the one he faced today. However, he feels confident that a solid day 2 will advance him to Friday's final round.

“I’m never going to count on something like that happening again, but if it did, it would be great,” Hahner said. “If I can catch 10 to 11 pounds, I’d feel pretty comfortable going into the Top 10.”

Bobby Stanfill of Greenwood, S.C., is in 2nd place with 16-08. With a limit comprising four spotted bass and one kicker largemouth of approximately 5 pounds, Stanfill caught all of his fish on topwater lures. He, too, reported a tough and often frustrating bite.

“Today was just torture,” Stanfill chuckled. “They didn’t bite good today. All the fish were tentative and it was really hard to get a bite. So many would just come up and nip at my bait.”

Stanfill said he tried several combinations of bait styles and presentations. Ultimately, he found a high-speed retrieve with a silent bait (no interior rattles) was most effective.

Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., is in 3rd place with 15-12. Noting that he used a mix of reaction baits and slower presentations, Martin said he stayed on the move and hit several dozen spots throughout the day.

“I had to mix it up all day; different times, they’d trigger on different things,” Martin said. “It was a wide range of lures. I just made some good decisions today. That’s what it boiled down to.”

Here's how the initial Top 12 stacks up:

1. Cody Hahner: 20-04
2. Bobby Stanfill: 16-08
3. Scott Martin: 15-12
4. Andy Wicker: 15-11
5. Alex Wetherell: 15-04
6. (tie) Derek Lehtonen: 14-15
6. (tie) Patrick Walters: 14-15
8. Jason Christie: 14-14
9. (tie) Jason Burroughs: 14-13
9. (tie) Marc Frazier: 14-13
11. Andrew Upshaw: 14-10
12. Matt Lee: 14-00

Latest News