Jonathan Carter got on the board before any other angler this morning, with a nice keeper before the clock struck 7:30. The morning bite was strong for him, and that — coupled with a few afternoon bass — was enough to land Maine's first representative to the Classic a spot in the Top 10.
"I feel great," said Carter after today's weigh-in. "I caught much more than I expected. I knew the fishery had the potential to produce big fish, but I hadn’t seen them."
He anchored his 18-pound, 11-ounce bag with a 4-11 bass.
The B.A.S.S. Nation angler hailing from the Eastern division finished in the seventh-place spot today, just behind local favorite Jason Christie and not far behind Michael Iaconelli and Kevin VanDam. He's ahead of two other heavily favored pros, Mike McClelland and Edwin Evers.
"I'm happy to be in that kind of company," said Carter. "I hope to catch another bag like that tomorrow!"
His comrade Mark Dove from the B.A.S.S. Nation is currently in 21st place with a 13-8 bag.
"I would have worn shorts today but I thought it would look like I was showing off," the Indiana native said on stage.
He and Carter both said they were unfazed by today's subfreezing temperatures, thanks to their thick Northern blood.
Other anglers from the B.A.S.S. Nation had a tougher day. Gerry Jooste of Zimbabwe is in 30th place with 11-4; Mark Pierce of Tennessee is in 42nd place with 7-4; Andy Bravence, Arizona, is in 51st place with 1-8; and Jared Knuth, Nebraska, is in 52nd with 1-4.
Albert Collins of Texas, who competed in last fall's B.A.S.S. Nation Championship and then followed it up with a win at the Weekend Series Championship, is in 48th place with 4-15. Tied with him is Alabama's Matt Lee, the Auburn University angler from the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, which is part of the B.A.S.S. Nation.
The temperature will be a little bit more tolerable tomorrow. We'll see if that helps the anglers near the bottom of the leaderboard who are not as used to fishing in the bitter cold.