BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Coby Carden was the standout for the B.A.S.S. Nation today on Day 1 of the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.
Carden, who was the favorite of the six Nation representatives, ended the day in sixth place, with 22 pounds, 4 ounces. His next-closest Nation competitor is Mark Dove in 43rd place.
Carden had been favored among the group because Lake Guntersville is his home lake, and he also used to compete on the pro tour a decade ago. Whether his experience on the lake or on the tour was the reason for his success, he definitely had a strong showing and even held the Classic lead for a while.
The other five are not giving up, though.
"I'll just keep grinding and grinding and grinding until they tell me to come in," said three-time Classic qualifier Dove, who caught a limit of 12-8 today.
"If I knew exactly what to do, I'd do it on the first day," he said on stage. "But I didn't, so I'm going to figure that out tomorrow."
Doug Thompson of Arkansas doesn't see his 44th-place standing as a tournament-killer.
"I've got to get 19 to 20 pounds tomorrow to fish on Sunday," he said, "and on this lake, that's not a problem at all."
Fans had high hopes for Paul Mueller of Connecticut when a photo of his 5-pounder hit the Live Blog earlier today. However, it was one of only three fish he brought in, so it didn't put him near the top of the leaderboard.
Jeff Lugar of Virginia said, regardless of his finish, this is a great experience.
"I'm a working guy," Lugar explained. "I don't do this for a living, but here I am, having the time of my life."
Dave Mercer noted something unusual about Tim Johnston of Montana: "Tim has the distinction of being the only guy to walk out to a song written and performed by his son!"
The song, "My Papa's in the Classic," then blared over the speakers again, and Johnston took the opportunity to pull a "Marty Robinson" — busting a move on the Classic stage.
Tune in tomorrow to see how the six Nation anglers fare. To make the cut to compete on the final day, anglers must be in the Top 25 after the Day 2 weigh-in.