LEWISVILLE, Texas — Beginner’s luck seemed to be the best way to beat the tough fishing conditions during the opening round of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lewisville Lake.
The top three finishers on the boater side have plenty of fishing experience, but it was the first time any of them had fished Lewisville Lake. Oklahoma’s Brad Lankford took the lead with a five-fish limit weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce to finish a mere 1 ounce ahead of Josh Bertrand of Arizona with an 18-pound limit.
They were the only two anglers on the pro side to catch a limit. Only 97 of the 178 anglers in the pro field weighed a fish, and 62 of them only weighed in one.
Tommy Jonovich of Arizona moved into third place with just two fish that weighed 11-12. Rounding out the top five are Kansas Elite Series pro Brent Chapman with 10-13 and Arkansas Elite Series pro Billy McCaghren with 10-5.
Cold murky water and a cold front combined to shut down the fishing at Lewisville this week. Lankford described his practice days as terrible.
“I only caught five fish all week,” he said. “I had a spot that I felt would hold up and I pulled up on it this morning and then never started the big motor again. We stayed on it all day and it worked. “
Even though he struggled in practice, Lankford never really made any adjustments today.
“I had a pattern that I thought was going on in practice and we just stuck it out today," he said. "It was hard to stay put all day but it paid off. I am actually fishing something I have never done before. It is kind of weird.”
The Oklahoma angler believes the fish are in the prespawn mode.
“They are on these staging areas ready to pull in,” Lankford said.
His pattern was affected by the weather, which kept changing throughout the day from cloudy to sunny.
“The first little cloud cover that came in this morning seemed to help a little bit and when the sun broke through the fish shut off," he said. "Then the clouds came in and I caught my last big one.”
Bertrand fished three Central Opens in 2010, but took last year off to start up his guide service. He also had a tough practice, getting only two to five bites a day.
“I was really thrilled for the bites I got today since I really struggled through practice,” he said. “The fish were chasing shad but not super aggressively. They were penned up on a steep bank.”
Chip Porche and Jonovich tied for big bass honors as both anglers brought a 7-1 fish to the scales.
Texan Rick Parker took over the lead on the non-boater side with three fish weighing 7 pounds.
“I got three bites and caught three fish,” he said. “I was lucky enough to get them all hooked up and get them all in.”
The other top five non-boaters are Kenneth Moser of Texas in second with 6-13; Aaron Leon of Nevada, third, 6-09; Mark Cowart of Missouri, fourth, 6-0; and Robert Prebeck of Missouri, 5-10.
The event is being hosted by the City of Lewisville. Tomorrow’s launch, weigh-in and the final day launch will be held at the Lewisville Lake Park at 100 E. Lake Park Rd. The final day weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 2501 Bass Pro Dr., in Grapevine. It begins at 4 p.m. CT Saturday.