Kelly Jordon is a proficient sight-fisherman and always relishes the opportunity to catch bass off the spawning beds in a tournament. But for him, it's not the most relaxing way to spend a day on the water.

"I've won several sight-fishing tournaments and I usually do pretty well, but it's nerve-wracking," the Texan said. "It's not really all that enjoyable until it's over.

"It's all about, will they bite? Can I catch them? Can I even see them? Will somebody else catch them? Will they come in? Will they back off? Do I have to worry about pollen coming off the trees? Will boat traffic spook them? When it's over, you just say, Whew, let's go to the coast for a week and sit on the beach."



He took the first step to winning another bed-based event today with a 20-09 sack that gave him a lead of more than 2 pounds at the Smith Mountain Bassmaster Elite Series in Virginia. He lost a 4-pounder that would've given him an even bigger advantage and still has some decent-sized spawners to try for tomorrow.

Arizona's Dean Rojas caught 18-07 off the beds today to slide into 2nd. Like Jordon, he has a few marked fish left and found several new pairs this afternoon.

New Yorker Matt Sphar began the day sight-fishing, but quickly abandoned that tactic in favor of a finesse pattern. That move resulted in a 17-13 stringer that put him in 3rd.

Alabama's Matt Herren caught a 17-11 bag of spawners that put him in 4th, but he doesn't have anymore quality fish pinned down. Like a lot of the lookers, he hopes a big wave moves up prior to launch tomorrow, or at least by the end of the day.

Derek Remitz, the 2007 rookie sensation from Alabama who's fared no better than 60th in the three tournaments this year, rounded out the Top 5 with 16-15. From there, the 6th- through 12th-place anglers (of which there are nine of them due to ties) are separated by only a pound.

Here's a look at the current Top 12 (red numbers in parentheses indicate deficit margin from leader):

1. Kelly Jordon: 20-09
2. Dean Rojas: 18-07 (2-02)
3. Matt Sphar: 17-13 (2-12)
4. Matt Herren: 17-11 (2-14)
5. Derek Remitz: 16-15 (3-10)
6. Jeff Reynolds: 16-07 (4-02)
7. Matt Reed: 16-06 (4-03)
8. (tie) John Murray: 16-05 (4-04)
8. (tie) Dave Wolak: 16-05 (4-04)
10. Mike Iaconelli: 15-13 (4-12)
11. Marty Stone: 15-09 (5-00)
12. (tie) Kevin VanDam: 15-07 (5-02)
12. (tie) Mark Tyler: 15-07 (5-02)
12. (tie) Terry Butcher: 15-07 (5-02)

There were still thousands of smaller bucks on beds around the lake today, but many of the larger females had backed off after a mid-week weather front. It was basically a first-come, first-served proposition regarding the ones that remained, and most were picked off.

Tonight will be relatively warm in comparison to the past few evenings and air temperatures are expected to make a big jump (into the mid-80s) tomorrow. A big migration to the bank is anticipated within the next few days, but no one can predict exactly when it'll happen.

That makes tomorrow a dicey proposition: If the big move doesn't happen, the sight-guys will have few sows to peer at. If it does happen, the non-lookers such as Sphar and Remitz might have to change things up.

The 99-angler field will be cut to the Top 50 after tomorrow's weigh-in, and then to the Top 12 on Saturday. The winner will be determined Sunday by highest 4-day weight.

Jordon in Good Shape

Jordon figured he could top the 20-pound mark today if things went right, and his day proceeded pretty much according to plan. He boated six fish and the biggest was a 5 1/2-pounder.

"They were all fish that I'd found in practice, except one of the big ones that I caught just fishing," he said. "Every one I fished for that was locked on, I caught. There was one big one that wouldn't sit down it just wasn't ready and there were a couple of 4s and 5s that I didn't even go to.

"Things changed a lot today and got tougher. When they're about to go (to the beds), you'll see them sitting on docks and suspended in trees, and today I saw less of that than I have all week. It could be slim pickings tomorrow, but by Saturday or Sunday it should be wide open. If you really want to catch them, come here on Monday."

He's in the last flight tomorrow, so that could be an advantage of there's a big migration during the day.

"It could be amazingly tough if they don't make a move and you're probably going to see some shake-ups (in the standings) unless they're moving right now. But I get to go out and try it again tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited about that."



ESPN Outdoors/Seigo Saito
Photo: ESPN Outdoors/Seigo Saito

Dean Rojas used a prototype of a new bait to catch most of his 2nd-place bag.

2nd: Rojas Confident, Too

Like Jordon, Rojas expected to have a solid day catching the spawners.

"The ones I found in practice, I knew they were good ones," he said. "I wanted to catch as many of the biggest ones as I could today because it's getting warm and there should be a new group coming in."

He had all of his weight by 10:00 and spent a good portion of the day just cruising and hunting.

"Some of them I'd located had gotten picked off, but some were still there and I found a couple of new ones today. I'd like to think the ones that are in transition will move on up.

"If they don't, I still think I have enough to catch a limit tomorrow. I don't know about the size, but maybe I can stumble across a big one."

His bag was headed up by two chunky females a 5-pounder and a 4 3/4. He culled just one time.

"I caught most of them on Big Bite soft plastics. The biggest one was on a prototype of the new Cane Stick, which is a bait that'll be introduced at ICAST."

3rd: Sphar Finessed 'Em

Sphar began the day in the shallows, but found that the spawners he'd located during practice had disappeared. So he pulled out a spinning rod with 8-pound-test line and went to work.

"I had a small limit, then I finally popped a big one and that was kind of the turning point," he said. "The bite was better later in the day.

"I fished kind of the same stuff I did 2 years ago (during the June 2007 event, which was a post-spawn tournament). I'm glad I had the confidence I needed to back off and do that."

He went through about 15 keepers and his biggest fish was a 5-pounder.

ESPN Outdoors/Seigo Saito
Photo: ESPN Outdoors/Seigo Saito

Matt Sphar abandoned sight-fishing in favor of a finesse pattern, and it proved to be a good move.

"I'll do the same deal tomorrow, but probably in different spots. They don't reload in some places here, so I'll have to bounce around and try to make the right calls and hope I pull up on the right spots at the right times. I think that's my best bet to have a strong tournament.

"I'm just happy I caught the bag I did after getting such a late start catching the better ones."

4th: Herren Needs New Ones

Matt Herren had a good day on the beds, but doesn't know whether he can repeat it. He said all of the quality fish he had marked were picked off by either him or somebody else.

"I've got some males located, but I caught up what quality I had," he said. "It'll be warm tonight, so hopefully more will move in.

"If not, I'll have to go to plan B, but I don't know what plan B is. I'll just have to go fishing."

His bag contained one 5-pounder and a quartet of 3s, and he had all of those by 10:00. He'll go back to looking tomorrow.

"If I could get in a pre-spawn bite that would hold up, I might be better off. But if all of them hit the bank and you're out there trying to (blind-fish) for them, these guys will clobber you.

"I'll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I'm pretty much flying by the seat of my pants."

5th: Remitz Caught On Quickly

Mechanical problems kept Remitz's boat sidelined during practice, so he rode around with a couple of other anglers and searched for beds. He did that for most of the morning today, but switched gears when it didn't produce.

"I said to heck with it and just caught them fishing," he said. "I just played the conditions.

"I looked until almost 11 and I had nothing. There were two that I maybe could've caught, but it would've been hard. The wind was blowing and I saw some stuff I wanted to fish, and within an hour I had all my weight."

He ended up catching about 10 keepers, including a 5 1/2-pounder.

"I'll start out fishing again tomorrow, but I still have to look because of the way the weather's setting up. If that plan goes well, I'll catch a decent limit and then try to find one or two big ones on the beds.

"It just feels good to finally catch some this year. I'm happy to be back."

8th: Murray Feels Fortunate

John Murray's day was considerably better than he expected coming off a lackluster practice.

"I definitely got a little lucky," he said. "I threw a swimbait in the wind this morning and caught a (5-pounder) and a 4, and then I ended up sight-fishing the rest of them."

ESPN Outdoors/Seigo Saito
Photo: ESPN Outdoors/Seigo Saito

Matt Herren burned up all of his quality bed-fish today, so he'll be in search of more tomorrow.

He caught six keepers and his bag was topped by the largest swimbait fish. He found some hefty spawners, but they never saw the inside of his livewell.

"They're tough fish to try to catch. I had three different 6- to 7-pounders that I spent a total of 4 hours on and I never got any of them to bite. Even the 2-pounders are finicky.

"The goal tomorrow will be to get 10 or 12 pounds to get in the cut. If I can catch five keepers, then I'll go try for a big one."

95th: Bad Day for Davis

Nothing went right for Mark Davis today and the three-time Angler of the Year (AOY) found himself mired near the bottom of the field.

"I'm just glad the day's over," he said. "It was just one of those deals I took off in the last flight and the place where I decided to start, all the fish had left. Then I ended up behind somebody.

"I was sight-fishing for the most part and it didn't work out. If you miss out on two or three key fish, that makes a big difference. I did a lot of zigging when I should've been zagging."

He hadn't settled on a gameplan for day 2.

"I'll just have to start all over. Being that far behind, I'll have to totally change tactics and gamble on trying to catch a big stringer."

Notable

> Day 1 stats 99 anglers, 90 limits, 5 fours, 2 threes, 1 two, 1 one.

> Jordon plans to do some sun-worshipping tomorrow. "I can't wait to put on my shorts for the first time all year and show off my pasty-white legs, and wear sandals and let my feet get sunburned. If I catch a good bag early, I might just lay out on the deck and soak up some rays."

> The much-publicized "Beat the Elites" local tournament that was set up to run concurrently with this event is apparently a no-go at least not in its original form. "The last I heard was that if it happened, it was only going to be eight or 10 boats," Remitz said. "I think some of the people around here might've stopped it from happening. The people here are great they're some of the best fans you'll find anywhere."

> Less than 3 pounds separate the three anglers tied for 12th place and the two (Chris Lane and Takahiro Omori) tied for 50th.

Weather Forecast

Here's the weather forecast for the remaining tournament days.

> Fri., April 23 - Mostly Sunny - 83/59
- Wind: From the SE at 10 mph

> Sat., April 24 - Mostly Sunny - 90/62
- Wind: From the SW at 10 mph

> Sun., April 25 - Sunny - 90/59
- Wind: From the W at 7 mph

Day 1 Standings

1. Kelly Jordon -- Mineola, TX -- 5, 20-09 -- 305
Day 1: 5, 20-09

2. Dean Rojas -- Lake Havasu City, AZ -- 5, 18-07 -- 295
Day 1: 5, 18-07

3. Matthew Sphar -- Pavilion, NY -- 5, 17-13 -- 290
Day 1: 5, 17-13

4. Matt Herren -- Trussville, AL -- 5, 17-11 -- 285
Day 1: 5, 17-11

5. Derek Remitz -- Grant, AL -- 5, 16-15 -- 280
Day 1: 5, 16-15

6. Jeff Reynolds -- Idabel, OK -- 5, 16-07 -- 276
Day 1: 5, 16-07

7. Matt Reed -- Madisonville, TX -- 5, 16-06 -- 272
Day 1: 5, 16-06

8. John Murray -- Phoenix, AZ -- 5, 16-05 -- 268
Day 1: 5, 16-05

8. Dave Wolak -- Wake Forest, NC -- 5, 16-05 -- 268
Day 1: 5, 16-05

10. Michael Iaconelli -- Runnemede, NJ -- 5, 15-13 -- 260
Day 1: 5, 15-13

11. Marty Stone -- Fayetteville, NC -- 5, 15-09 -- 257
Day 1: 5, 15-09

12. Terry Butcher -- Talala, OK -- 5, 15-07 -- 254
Day 1: 5, 15-07

12. Mark Tyler -- Vian, OK -- 5, 15-07 -- 254
Day 1: 5, 15-07

12. Kevin VanDam -- Kalamazoo, MI -- 5, 15-07 -- 254
Day 1: 5, 15-07

15. Marty Robinson -- Lyman, SC -- 5, 15-06 -- 245
Day 1: 5, 15-06

16. Rick Clunn -- Ava, MO -- 5, 15-04 -- 243
Day 1: 5, 15-04

16. Greg Vinson -- Wetumpka, AL -- 5, 15-04 -- 243
Day 1: 5, 15-04

18. Fred Roumbanis -- Bixby, OK -- 5, 15-03 -- 239
Day 1: 5, 15-03

19. Shaw E Grigsby -- Gainesville, FL -- 5, 15-02 -- 237
Day 1: 5, 15-02

19. Bradley Hallman -- Norman, OK -- 5, 15-02 -- 237
Day 1: 5, 15-02

21. Billy Mccaghren -- Mayflower, AR -- 5, 14-14 -- 233
Day 1: 5, 14-14

22. Todd Faircloth -- Jasper, TX -- 5, 14-12 -- 231
Day 1: 5, 14-12

22. J Todd Tucker -- Moultrie, GA -- 5, 14-12 -- 231
Day 1: 5, 14-12

24. Todd Auten -- Lake Wylie, SC -- 5, 14-11 -- 227
Day 1: 5, 14-11

24. Paul Elias -- Laurel, MS -- 5, 14-11 -- 227
Day 1: 5, 14-11

26. Bobby Lane -- Lakeland, FL -- 5, 14-09 -- 223
Day 1: 5, 14-09

27. Mark Tucker -- Saint Louis, MO -- 5, 14-07 -- 221
Day 1: 5, 14-07

28. Bill Lowen -- North Bend, OH -- 5, 14-06 -- 219
Day 1: 5, 14-06

28. Morizo Shimizu -- Osaka, Japan -- 5, 14-06 -- 219
Day 1: 5, 14-06

30. Wade Grooms -- Bonneau, SC -- 5, 14-04 -- 215
Day 1: 5, 14-04

31. Randy Howell -- Springville, AL -- 5, 14-03 -- 213
Day 1: 5, 14-03

31. Kotaro Kiriyama -- Moody, AL -- 5, 14-03 -- 213
Day 1: 5, 14-03

33. Aaron Martens -- Leeds, AL -- 5, 14-02 -- 209
Day 1: 5, 14-02

33. Terry Scroggins -- San Mateo, FL -- 5, 14-02 -- 209
Day 1: 5, 14-02

35. Charlie Hartley -- Grove City, OH -- 5, 14-00 -- 205
Day 1: 5, 14-00

36. Boyd Duckett -- Demopolis, AL -- 5, 13-14 -- 203
Day 1: 5, 13-14

37. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, LA -- 5, 13-13 -- 201
Day 1: 5, 13-13

38. Jason Quinn -- York, SC -- 5, 13-12 -- 199
Day 1: 5, 13-12

39. Dustin Wilks -- Rocky Mount, NC -- 5, 13-11 -- 197
Day 1: 5, 13-11

40. Timmy Horton -- Muscle Shoals, AL -- 5, 13-10 -- 195
Day 1: 5, 13-10

41. Cliff Pace -- Petal, MS -- 5, 13-09 -- 193
Day 1: 5, 13-09

41. Gerald Swindle -- Warrior, AL -- 5, 13-09 -- 193
Day 1: 5, 13-09

43. Elton Luce Jr. -- Brookeland, TX -- 5, 13-08 -- 189
Day 1: 5, 13-08

44. Byron Velvick -- Del Rio, TX -- 5, 13-05 -- 187
Day 1: 5, 13-05

45. Skeet Reese -- Auburn, CA -- 5, 13-03 -- 185
Day 1: 5, 13-03

46. Davy Hite -- Ninety Six, SC -- 5, 13-02 -- 183
Day 1: 5, 13-02

47. Russ Lane -- Prattville, AL -- 5, 13-01 -- 181
Day 1: 5, 13-01

48. Gary Klein -- Weatherford, TX -- 5, 12-15 -- 179
Day 1: 5, 12-15

49. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 4, 12-11 -- 177
Day 1: 4, 12-11

50. Chris Lane -- Lakeland, FL -- 5, 12-10 -- 175
Day 1: 5, 12-10

50. Takahiro Omori -- Emory, TX -- 5, 12-10 -- 175
Day 1: 5, 12-10

52. James Niggemeyer -- Van, TX -- 5, 12-08 -- 171
Day 1: 5, 12-08
53. Edwin Evers -- Talala, OK -- 5, 12-07 -- 169
Day 1: 5, 12-07
54. Kevin Short -- Mayflower, AR -- 5, 12-06 -- 167
Day 1: 5, 12-06
55. Brian Clark -- Haltom City, TX -- 5, 12-04 -- 165
Day 1: 5, 12-04
56. Vince Fulks -- Purcell, OK -- 5, 12-02 -- 163
Day 1: 5, 12-02
57. Yusuke Miyazaki -- Forney, TX -- 5, 12-00 -- 161
Day 1: 5, 12-00
58. John Crews -- Salem, VA -- 5, 11-15 -- 159
Day 1: 5, 11-15
59. Mike Wurm -- Hot Springs, AR -- 5, 11-13 -- 157
Day 1: 5, 11-13
60. Jason Williamson -- Aiken, SC -- 5, 11-11 -- 155
Day 1: 5, 11-11
61. Pete Ponds -- Madison, MS -- 5, 11-10 -- 153
Day 1: 5, 11-10
61. Jeremy Starks -- Charleston, WV -- 5, 11-10 -- 153
Day 1: 5, 11-10
61. Kevin Wirth -- Crestwood, KY -- 5, 11-10 -- 153
Day 1: 5, 11-10
64. Jeff Connella -- Bentley, LA -- 5, 11-09 -- 147
Day 1: 5, 11-09
65. Jared Lintner -- Arroyo Grande, CA -- 5, 11-06 -- 145
Day 1: 5, 11-06
66. Guy Eaker -- Cherryville, NC -- 5, 11-01 -- 143
Day 1: 5, 11-01
66. Scott Rook -- Little Rock, AR -- 5, 11-01 -- 143
Day 1: 5, 11-01
68. Jami Fralick -- Martin, SD -- 3, 11-00 -- 139
Day 1: 3, 11-00
69. Brian Snowden -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 5, 10-15 -- 137
Day 1: 5, 10-15
70. Scott Campbell -- Springfield, MO -- 5, 10-14 -- 135
Day 1: 5, 10-14
71. Tommy Biffle -- Wagoner, OK -- 5, 10-13 -- 133
Day 1: 5, 10-13
71. Pat Golden -- High Point, NC -- 5, 10-13 -- 133
Day 1: 5, 10-13
71. Rick Morris -- Virginia Beach, VA -- 5, 10-13 -- 133
Day 1: 5, 10-13
74. Luke Gritter -- Kalamazoo, MI -- 5, 10-10 -- 127
Day 1: 5, 10-10
75. Jimmy Mize -- Ben Lomond, AR -- 5, 10-09 -- 125
Day 1: 5, 10-09
76. Jeff Kriet -- Ardmore, OK -- 5, 10-08 -- 123
Day 1: 5, 10-08
76. Mark Menendez -- Paducah, KY -- 5, 10-08 -- 123
Day 1: 5, 10-08
78. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, AL -- 5, 10-07 -- 119
Day 1: 5, 10-07
78. Jim Murray -- Arabi, GA -- 5, 10-07 -- 119
Day 1: 5, 10-07
78. Britt Myers -- Lake Wylie, SC -- 5, 10-07 -- 119
Day 1: 5, 10-07
81. Clark Reehm -- Russellville, AR -- 5, 10-03 -- 113
Day 1: 5, 10-03
82. David Smith -- Del City, OK -- 5, 10-02 -- 111
Day 1: 5, 10-02
83. Grant Goldbeck -- Gaithersburg, MD -- 5, 09-15 -- 109
Day 1: 5, 09-15
83. Ish Monroe -- Hughson, CA -- 5, 09-15 -- 109
Day 1: 5, 09-15
85. Mike McClelland -- Bella Vista, AR -- 5, 09-14 -- 105
Day 1: 5, 09-14
86. Brent Chapman -- Lake Quivira, KS -- 5, 09-12 -- 103
Day 1: 5, 09-12
86. Alton Jones -- Waco, TX -- 5, 09-12 -- 103
Day 1: 5, 09-12
88. Mark Burgess -- Norton, MA -- 5, 09-10 -- 99
Day 1: 5, 09-10
89. Ken D Cook -- Lawton, OK -- 4, 09-09 -- 97
Day 1: 4, 09-09
90. Kevin Langill -- Terrell, NC -- 5, 09-08 -- 95
Day 1: 5, 09-08
91. Kenyon Hill -- Norman, OK -- 5, 09-03 -- 93
Day 1: 5, 09-03
92. Bernie Schultz -- Gainesville, FL -- 5, 08-15 -- 91
Day 1: 5, 08-15
93. Denny Brauer -- Camdenton, MO -- 4, 08-15 -- 89
Day 1: 4, 08-15
93. Peter E Thliveros -- St Augustine, FL -- 4, 08-15 -- 89
Day 1: 4, 08-15
95. Mark Davis -- Mount Ida, AR -- 5, 08-06 -- 85
Day 1: 5, 08-06
96. Stephen Browning -- Hot Springs, AR -- 4, 07-10 -- 83
Day 1: 4, 07-10
97. Chad Griffin -- Cresson, TX -- 3, 05-03 -- 81
Day 1: 3, 05-03
98. Zell Rowland -- Montgomery, TX -- 2, 04-11 -- 79
Day 1: 2, 04-11
99. Brent Broderick -- Oregonia, OH -- 1, 01-04 -- 77
Day 1: 1, 01-04

Big Bass

Day 1: Wade Grooms -- Bonneau, SC -- 06-08