AUSTIN, Texas — Patterns paid off as anglers pulled their limits from Lake Bastrop in the 2012 Hobie Fishing World Championship presented by Daiwa.
The 43 anglers from 13 countries were greeted by an overnight cool spell and temperatures in the upper 40s, but it wasn't long before action began to heat up.
Running one of the identical Hobie Pro Angler 12s equipped with Lowrance Electronics mounted by RAM Mounting Systems, Florida's Marty Mood topped the field on Day One with a three-fish total of 56.50 inches.
Scoring in the event is "Catch, Photograph, Release" or CPR., with measurements accumulated and the winner determined by the best three-day aggregate. If counting by weight, Mood's fish averaged four pounds with a kicker of five pounds.
Mood's day on the water was productive, but not without its share of frustration as he lost his largest fish early on.
"She was deep in the cover and tough to get out," he said. "I thought I had her, but halfway back to the boat, she came unpinned. It's not the way you want to start the event, but I'm really happy with how the day progressed."
Right behind Mood was fellow Floridian and Hobie teammate John Donahue. He grabbed his bag from a secluded flat he found in practice. Donahue's 54.75 inches, just under four pounds per fish, was good enough for a second place.
Matt Petrie from Australia leads the international contingent and sits in third place just behind the leaders at 54.25 inches. This is Matt's first trip to Texas and first swing as a largemouth bass.
Last year, the Hobie World Championship was held in Macquarie, Australia, with anglers fishing for saltwater bream. Petrie said he had to approach this year differently.
"I really had to beef up my gear as most of our fishing back home requires a fair amount of finesse," he said. "I looked for areas that resembled structures I'm used to fishing and had a lot of luck making tight casts into the sticks and cover. I really enjoyed myself today. Texas has some great fish and really friendly people."
A little over seven inches separates the top 10 as anglers make the move to Fayette County Reservoir for the final two days. Day Two begins with a 7 a.m. launch and weigh-in beginning at 2 p.m.
1) Marty Mood USA (3 fish) 56.50 Inches
2) John Donahue USA (3 fish) 54.75 inches
3) Matt Petrie AUS (3 fish) 54.25 inches
4) Brendan Bayard USA (3 fish) 53.25 inches
5) Steve Fields AUS (3 fish) 52.50 inches
6) Morgan Pronto USA (3 fish) 52.50 inches
7) Kevin Winchester AUS (3 fish) 51.50 inches
8) Dave Hedge AUS (3 fish) 49.75 inches
9) Johnson Lee SING (3 fish) 49.59 inches
10) Tim Maas AUS (3 fish) 49.00 inches