Daniel Lanier's 9-pound, 4-ounce lead at the end of Day 1 at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain is the biggest I can recall in the five-bass-limit era. Yes, there have been bigger gaps, but you have to go back to a 10-bass or even 15-bass limit to find one.
Way back in 1969, at the Eufaula National on Alabama's Lake Eufaula, Rip Nunnery came to the scales with a limit of 15 largemouths weighing a jaw-dropping 98-15! It's still the heaviest single-day catch in B.A.S.S. history, and it's not going to come off the top of that list unless the creel limit changes dramatically. Angling legend Bill Dance ended that day in second place with "only" 83 pounds.
In the 5-bass-limit era, as you would expect, nothing comes close to the gap created by Nunnery that day. Ish Monroe led last year's Elite Series event on Lake Okeechobee by 8-12, but that's as close as anyone appears to have come to the mark set yesterday by Lanier.
Monroe went on to win that tournament, despite a strong charge by 2012 Bassmaster Classic champ Chris Lane. It'll be interesting to see if Lanier can close things out on the Kissimmee Chain. The odds are certainly in his favor.
For one thing, the tournament's just three days rather than four like in the Elite Series. For another, a cold front is making the fishing tough in Florida — for everyone except Lanier.
And Nunnery in 1969? He watched his lead of almost 16 pounds disappear in a hurry. Over the next two days he caught just five bass weighing about 18 pounds and finished in third place.