Two familiar Louisiana anglers are in the Top 10 after Day 1 of the Bassmaster Elite Series event on the St. Johns River out of Palatka, Fla.
Despite a 4-ounce penalty for weighing-in a dead fish, Cliff Crochet, of Pierre Part, put together a five-fish stringer that weighed 22-15, good for third place.
And Greg Hackney, the host of Sportsman TV, caught five fish weighing 21-05, good for eighth place.
Both Louisiana anglers are trying to catch Brandon Lester, who landed a 9-pound bedding fish to grab the Day 1 lead at 23-13.
Despite the dead-fish penalty, Crochet had one of the better days he’s had in recent memory. After earning only one check on the Elite Series in 2015, he’s within striking distance of his first career win with B.A.S.S.
“About halfway through last year, I could tell things just weren’t going right,” Crochet said. “I’ve been waiting for a day like this pretty much since the end of the 2014 season.
“It’s been a long time coming.”
With much of the field sight-fishing for bedding bass, it could be difficult for anglers to duplicate their Day 1 results today. Many of the fish that were located during practice were caught Thursday, and it’s hard to say for sure if more will move up during the tournament.
Friday’s weigh-in will begin at 3:30 this afternoon at Palatka Riverfront Park. For a look at the Day 1 leaderboard, click here.