Fred Roumbanis was worried about what he found in practice, so the night before the tournament, he sat down with roommates Terry Scroggins and Jason Williamson. They convinced him to stick with what he found and it paid off in a big way for Roumbanis after he brought in 27 pounds, 11 ounces, to finish Day One in fourth place.
"I was stuck between bed fishing and fishing deep," Roumbanis said. "They helped convince me that I should stick with what I was doing. It's great to have people like that you can trust here with you."
Roumbanis went on to have a phenomenal day and he estimated he went through 150 fish to get to his final tally. The only downside was fishing pressure from other boats.
"I had boats coming in on me, so I ended up having to move on top of the fish and cast away from them," Roumbanis said. "I also caught a 5-pound spotted bass, so that was kind of a bonus to cap off a good day."
One of the big surprises of Day One was the absence of last years Guntersville champion Aaron Martens around the top of the leaderboard. He struggled to bring in 19 pounds, 11 ounces and sits dangerously close to the cut line in 43rd place.
Despite being the first boat to leave the docks Thursday morning, Martens chose not to go to what he thought would be his best area and it turned out to be a mistake.
"I started in the wrong spots this morning," Martens said. "Being Boat One really screwed me up. It changed my day because I didn't want everyone to drive by and see me on that spot. When I finally did go there, someone was on the spot and had 30 pounds."
Martens said he had some other big schools located, but they didn't pan out first thing. His plan is to go start on the good spot first thing Friday and hope he can catch a big enough bag to stay in contention.
Jeff Kriet made a decision to throw back a 4-pounder on Day One of the Synergy Southern Challenge, hoping to catch another good fish, but ultimately, his bag of 18 pounds, 14 ounces could have benefitted from that bigger fish.
"I'm around a bunch of fish — catching them's not the issue," Kriet said. "There wouldn't have been a problem if I didn't have to come in early."
He threw the 4-pounder back because it was struggling in his livewell and made the decision to come in early for the same reason. A hot, sunny day on Guntersville with sensitive post-spawn fish may have added to the stress.
"I ended up keeping a 3-pounder today and that killed me," Kriet said. "I only was able to hit a few places, so I think I can catch a better bag tomorrow and make the cut if I get a full day out there."
Sitting in 51st place, he is only 5 ounces from the top-47 cut.
"If you don't have 25 pounds we ain't talking." - Emcee Keith Alan
"I don't know what it will take, but it is gonna be a shootout. It's going to take a lot of weight." - Paul Elias
"There's a lot of fish up shallow, but it's going to be won deep." - Dean Rojas
"I can't believe they caught them this good without any water running in the lake." - Gerald Swindle
"I was feeling good about my day until I got up here and saw the weights." - Dennis Tietje
"I probably caught 200 fish today and threw back two or three 25-pound limits." - Skeet Reese
"I thought 16 pounds might be good out here this year, but 18 pounds won't even get you a clap." - Dustin Wilks
"It doesn't get much better than Guntersville." - Gary Klein
"I caught a lot of 4- and 5-pounders today, just never caught any big ones." - Derek Remitz
"Something as simple as a boat number can kill your day out here." - Matt Herren
"I think I went to 15 holes this morning before I found one with nobody on it." - Timmy Horton