BAINBRIDGE, Ga. – The all-day rain that was predicted to blanket Lake Seminole today never really happened. Instead, EverStart Series anglers were left with an overcast day that featured a little drizzle from time to time.
All in all, some pretty decent conditions allowed pros to fish most anyway they wanted from sight-fishing, to trapping grass, to Senkos, to jerkbaits and nearly anything and everything in between – and it all worked.
Every angler atop the leaderboard is doing something a little different, but they all agreed on one thing: Seminole bass are still in all phases of the spawn.
Some leaders straight up sight-fished bass off beds. Some meandered through vast bedding flats, catching bass that are waiting to spawn. And some even reported seeing balls of fry in their areas.
Leading the event is a legendary name on Lake Seminole: Robert Tindell of Leesburg, Ga., with five bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces.
Just about anyone who has fished a team derby on Seminole over the past 20 years has probably handed Tindell a few dollars at one time or another. Needless to say, the team of Tindell and Tindell (he often fishes with his son Rick) is a formidable duo on Ol’ Sem.
Tindell headed to one of his prime areas this morning hoping to catch the first wave of postspawn bass heading back out from the spawning flats, but what he found instead was a new group of fat prespawn fish that were still fresh and free from the tell-tale gaunt postspawn look with bloody tails.
“I caught them on a typical postspawn pattern on a deeper grass edge,” Tindell said. “But it’s pretty evident that none of them have spawned: I mean they were new, fat fish without out a mark on them. So I don’t know what’s going on with them, apparently they're pretty late this year because they were just pulling in instead of coming out.”
On the day Tindell visited about eight places and caught nine bass. Obviously he was reluctant to give up many details but he did say that he was “casting and winding” all day long.
Fitts, too, was hesitant to give up many details of his fishing day. But his comments might make those who follow tournament fishing closely these days raise their eyebrows.
“On my fourth cast I caught my first fish,” Fitts recounted. “On my next cast I caught another one. On my next cast I caught two. On my next cast I doubled-up again with a five-and-a-quarter and a four-and-three-quarter. At that point I had about 21 pounds and left the area.”
Fitts was able to cull again later in the day with a bonus 6-pounder that came from a “completely different technique.”
Rodger Beaver of Dawson, Ga., holds down the third-place position with a five-bass limit for 22 pounds, 13 ounces.
Despite the dark overcast, Beaver was able to sight-fish and catch his fish off beds.
“I was looking at all the ones I caught,” Beaver said. “The conditions were not the best for it, but I just had to ease around super slow and easy and be really quiet and patient. Later this afternoon I started to see a few more than what I had seen in the morning. I was able to catch those, which helped the cause.”
True to form, Ellis is doing what he does best: dabbling weightless Trick Worms and Senkos on light line on a spinning rod for big females hanging around bedding areas.
“I went to the heavy stuff this week because of all the cover in the lake,” Ellis kidded. “I’m actually using 8-pound test instead of 6-pound test this week.”
Ellis confirmed that he is not sight-fishing, but is fishing around bedding areas.
“I found some great bedding areas in practice,” he added, “And with those sunny conditions in practice I could see them on beds. But I’m not much on sight-fishing for them so today I just backed off and threw my light stuff in the bedding places to get the bites.”
Pete Thliveros of St. Augustine, Fla., rounds out the top five with five bass for 21 pounds, 9 ounces.
Peter T said his catch today came on his ‘Petey rig’ (a Zoom Fluke with a tiny weight pegged up the line) and a ChatterBait.
“The areas I’m fishing are just general bedding areas,” he said. “I have seen fish on beds, but technically I’m not sight-fishing for them. I’ve seen some guarding fry and some of the ones I caught today were prespawn fish. So they’re kind of in all stages and the bite has been pretty consistent each day all through practice.”
Michael Hughes of Greenville, S.C., caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day one weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the EverStart Series event on Lake Seminole after day one:
6th: Donnie Smith of St. Johns, Fla., five bass, 20-6
7th: Ty Solis of Albany, Ga., five bass, 20-1
8th: Chad Prough of Chipley, Fla., five bass, 19-12
9th: Paul Malone of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, five bass, 19-6
10th: Rick Williams of Decatur, Ala., five bass, 19-5
Austin leads co-anglers
Austin was also leading the Co-angler Division points race coming into the Seminole event, so his catch today is going to help his cause of possibly winning the Co-angler of the Year in the Southeast Division.
Joe Ventrello of Orlando, Fla., is in second place with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 5 ounces.
Greg Jeter of Bainbridge, Ga., is in third place with five bass for 16 pounds, 5 ounces.
Nicholas Davico of Cantonment, Fla., is in fourth place with five bass for 14 pounds, 7 ounces.
Ray Holloway of Snellville, Ga., rounds out the top-5 co-anglers with four bass for 14 pounds, 6 ounces. Holloway also caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series event on Lake Seminole after day one:
6th: Byron Botdorf of Albany, Ga., five bass, 14-4
7th: Mark Henley of Thomasville, Ga., three bass, 13-9
8th: Rodney Glunt of Orlando, Fla., five bass, 13-1
9th: Jason Gamage of Tifton, Ga., five bass, 12-7
10th: Daniel Buswell of Newnan, Ga., five bass, 12-5