It's a good thing Lee Sisson knows quite a few folks. One of his many friends came to his aid as he was struggling through a less-than-stellar practice.
"It really pays to have a lot of friends," the Winter Haven, Fla., pro said. "I was out there not doing any good (in practice), and a buddy of mine said 'have you tried one of these?' I said I hadn't and that I didn't have any -- he threw me one and I started catching them."
Sisson declined to reveal what his pal tossed him, but it helped him catch 10 pounds, 10 ounces and take the lead at the final Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Texoma. Sisson's pro 5-fish limit was one of only three registered on Day One. He's got his sights set on the 2011 Elite Series, which kicks off in his home state.
"Next year would be the year for me to get into it," he said. "This one's for the old guys!"
Sisson -- and the other 163 pros -- are vying for the top prize of some $40,000.
Behind Sisson is Mike Pharr of Shreveport, La. The fireman and part-time bass pro managed to get three fish that weighed 9-13. His three-fish bag is substantially less than what he was catching in practice. He said he was looking at nearly 15 pounds a day before the event.
Pharr caught his fish using an Omega football jig and a Tru Trac spinnerbait. He's looking forward to the stormy weather that's forecasted to roll in for Day Two.
"Maybe it can make it better," he said of the weather. "My fish are all in 5- to 6-foot of water and I think that would push them shallower."
In third is former Elite Series pro Jay Fuller of Newcastle, Okla., with 9-12, in fourth is Aaron Johnson of Bossier City, La., with 9-4 and in fifth is Dean Alexander of Florence, Texas, with 8-14.
In the race to the Classic, Craig Schuff of Watauga, Texas, lessened his substantial lead by only registering 2-11 on Day One, putting him in 85th place. Behind him in the points race is Keith Combs, who is looking to solidify his bid for the 2011 Classic with a solid Day One.
On the co-angler side, Travis Gray of Princeton, La., leads with a 3-fish limit that weighs 8-5. Gray credits his pro for keeping him in fish all day long. Gray, who owns a 20-foot Skeeter, is competing for a top prize of a fully rigged ZX 190 Skeeter with a 150-horsepower Yamaha outboard.
"I made three lucky casts and got three fish," he said. "It wasn't anything special."
Behind him is JC Thompson with 7-11, in third is Darin Comstock of Denison, Texas, with 7-9, in fourth is Scott Landon of Katy, Texas, with 7-8 and in fifth is Rick Rickman of Gainesville, Texas, with 5-10.
Fans are invited to daily launches and weigh-ins. Launch is at 7:30 a.m. CST out of Highport Marina, 120 Texoma Harbor Drive, in Pottsboro, Texas. Weigh-ins begin at 4:30 p.m. ET. All events are free and open to the public.