YUMA, Arizona --- With its members claiming the top two individual spots, Oregon staked itself to a Day One lead among 11 teams in the 2010 BASS Federation Nation Western Divisional on the Colorado River here. Jeffry Ball used a 13-7 limit to lift his team to a 78-15 total, and a slight lead over Washington with 74-4 and California with 73-1.
David Mays chipped in with 13-3 on only three keepers. But one of those weighed 6-7, tying Mays for big fish honors with California's Nick Wood.
"I caught them on Senkos, jigs, buzzbaits. Everything I tied on I caught fish with," said Ball, who didn't want to reveal specifics about his success.
Washington's Joey Nania, who was in fourth among individuals with 13-0, provided a little more detail. "I was flipping in heavy cover, like everyone else, I suppose," he said. "Fortunately, I was able to get two good bites (quality fish)."
Others were not so lucky. Out of more than 120 competitors, just 335 keepers were caught and 24 five-fish limits checked in.
Jay Evans, who led Montana with a limit of 8-6, said, "I've been here a week and this was the hardest day that I've had for bites. I had seven bites and caught five fish."
Competitors were at a loss to explain why the fishing turned tougher on Day One of the three-day tournament. Weather didn't seem to be a factor, as a bright, cloudless sky and temperatures in the 90s persisted, as they did during the days before the event.
Home team Arizona suffered the most from the turnoff, as it finished the day in 11th place with 38-2, more than 40 pounds behind Oregon. One bright spot was the success of Doreen Rickard-Morrow, the only woman competing. She brought in three keepers that weighed 4-13.
Wyoming's Rocky Rochford was another happy angler. One of his two keepers weighed 3-8, making it the biggest bass that he has caught.
But his state, along with seven others, must overcome a large deficit if it hopes to overtake Oregon, Washington, and California.
In fourth place, New Mexico is 18 pounds behind the leader with 60-15. Idaho owns fifth with 60-1, and Colorado sixth with 53-5.
Wyoming holds onto seventh with 51-8, while Utah is eighth with 46-12, Montana ninth with 45-10, and Nevada 10th with 41-10.