By MLF Communications Staff

Fishing in his first career Bass Pro Tour event, MLF Pro Circuit angler Spencer Shuffield wasted no time in making an immediate impact. Shuffield boated nine scorable bass Sunday totaling 29-12 to jump out to the early lead in the Group A Qualifying Round in the season opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas .

Just 1 ounce behind Shuffield in 2nd place on the leaderboard is a red-hot Dustin Connell, the reigning REDCREST champion who caught 10 bass totaling 29-11. Kevin VanDam, the sports all-time leading money-winner, sits in 3rd place, just 2 pounds back of Shuffield with 10 bass weighing 27-12.

Ott DeFoe (25-07 on 11 fish) and Edwin Evers (23-09 on five) rounded out the initial Top 5.

The 40 anglers in Group A will now enjoy a day off Monday, while the 40 anglers in Group B will begin their first day of competition. Group A resumes competition on Tuesday.

The six-day competition, which awards a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner, is being live-streamed online and filmed for television broadcast on the Discovery Channel and the Outdoor Channel later this year.

Im really excited about it, Shuffield said when asked about leading after day 1 in his first Bass Pro Tour event. I got on a little something today that I didnt know was happening, but its a way that I really like to catch them. Everything that Im catching is post-spawn, and the way things are looking I think theyre just going to continue coming to me, more and more.

Shuffield said that he caught fish on two different baits a Yo-Zuri 3DB Jerkbait 110 Deep and a dropshot rig.

In practice I was catching 50 to 70 fish a day, but today I probably caught around 30, Shuffield said. I caught a lot of 1-12 to 1-15 (pound) fish, today. But, all in all, Im satisfied. Of course, Id like to have a 5-, 6- or 7-pound cushion over 2nd 1 ounce isnt even really leading but Ill take it for my first day.

Like Shuffield, most of the anglers near the top of the leaderboard were also throwing a jerkbait at certain points of the day, including Connell and VanDam.

I caught a lot of fish on a jerkbait, today, said Connell, who caught a 9-05 bruiser to take big-bass honors for the day. These fish are kind of staging up right now. It got pretty slow for me later in the day, so I was kind of bouncing around and practicing in the third period. I found a little zone that I like, so Ive just been trying to expand on that a little bit.

VanDam spent a lot of the day looking for schools of bass that were grouped up but didnt have any luck, and ended up picking off stragglers.

I wasnt really sure how it was going to happen today, but it ended up being a solid day, VanDam said. I caught some good fish in practice, but I couldnt find the big concentrations of them, and thats the way it was today. One here, one there. I caught a few good ones and just mixed it up to keep myself in the hunt all day long.

VanDam credited a pro blue-colored Strike King KVD jerkbait as being his key bait for most of the day, but he did also boated a few scorable bass with a gold-colored jerkbait as well.

Im just going to grind it out and fish the migration routes where these fish are coming into these big spawning basins fishing points and ditches.

Group A Qualifying Round 1

(Figure at right indicates weight of angler's heaviest fish of the round)

1. Spencer Shuffield -- 29-12 (9) -- 5-08

2. Dustin Connell -- 29-11 (10) -- 9-05

3. Kevin VanDam -- 27-12 (10) -- 6-02

4. Ott DeFoe -- 25-07 (11) -- 2-14

5. Edwin Evers -- 23-09 (5) -- 8-07

6. Jason Lambert -- 20-10 (6) -- 4-09

7. Jacob Wheeler -- 18-03 (5) -- 7-15

8. Anthony Gagliardi -- 17-01 (7) -- 3-06

9. Bryan Thrift -- 17-01 (7) -- 2-11

10. Luke Clausen -- 16-08 (6) -- 3-14

11. Marty Robinson -- 14-05 (4) -- 6-14

12. Zack Birge -- 14-02 (6) -- 2-14

13. Dean Rojas -- 13-13 (5) -- 4-02

14. Fletcher Shryock -- 13-09 (5) -- 3-11

15. Scott Suggs -- 13-06 (5) -- 4-09

16. Bradley Roy -- 12-15 (4) -- 6-09

17. Adrian Avena -- 12-11 (5) -- 2-14

18. David Walker -- 12-04 (5) -- 3-06

19. Brett Hite -- 12-00 (4) -- 3-10

20. Wesley Strader -- 10-06 (4) -- 3-05

21. Alton Jones -- 9-01 (4) -- 2-13

22. Kelly Jordon -- 9-00 (3) -- 3-14

23. Michael Neal -- 7-10 (3) -- 3-06

24. Aaron Martens -- 6-13 (1) -- 6-13

25. Gary Klein -- 6-10 (3) -- 2-08

26. Jonathon VanDam -- 6-02 (2) -- 3-09

27. Jesse Wiggins -- 6-02 (2) -- 3-08

28. Cliff Pace -- 5-02 (2) -- 2-15

29. Cliff Crochet -- 4-15 (2) -- 2-10

30. Mike McClelland -- 4-14 (2) -- 2-13

31. Andy Morgan -- 4-05 (2) -- 2-04

32. Fred Roumbanis -- 4-04 (2) -- 2-04

33. Paul Elias -- 2-08 (1) -- 2-08

34. Ish Monroe -- 2-07 (1) -- 2-07

35. Grae Buck -- 2-02 (1) -- 2-02

36. Andy Montgomery -- 2-00 (1) -- 2-00

37. Dave Lefebre -- 0-00 (0) -- 0-00

38. Jared Lintner -- 0-00 (0) -- 0-00

39. Roy Hawk -- 0-00 (0) -- 0-00

40. Shaw Grigsby -- 0-00 (0) -- 0-00