Matt Herren watched in amazement as a 7-pound, 5-ounce bass jumped six feet out of the water with his topwater bug in its mouth.
On his second cast of the morning, Herren landed the Big Bass of Day One at the AutoZone Sooner Run on Fort Gibson Lake Thursday.
"I had located a little area in practice and I told my partner when we pulled up on it, if big fish are here, I think I will catch three or four quality fish in a hurry," Herren said. "I threw out in the middle on my first cast and got nothing. My next cast, when it hit and that thing jumped out of the water, it scared the living fool out of me. I thought, wow, I didn't think they'd be that big in Fort Gibson."
Landing that bass kept Herren among the tournament leaders with 18 pounds, 3 ounces on the day.
"I felt fortunate that I got a few bites and hopefully I'll do better every day," he said. "I have to go out with an open mind."
Herren is currently in seventh place overall.
Keith Poche felt a multitude of emotions on Day One of the AutoZone Sooner Run at Fort Gibson Lake.
"I was having a good day and I got a few fish," Poche said. "You know, actually catching some fish, I kind of got overly excited."
Poche was fishing with 10-pound test line when he hooked what he thought was a 5-pounder. The problem came when he tried to flip it into the boat.
"With only that much test line on, it broke on the way up to the boat," he said. "I thought I could have grabbed at it and caught it, but it didn't happen."
That same scenario hurt Poche twice more, but he rebounded nicely with a strong 14-9 showing on Thursday.
"I had an awesome day, but I lost two other good fish that would have put me up there," he said. "I've figured out something and tomorrow is going to be interesting."
Mike Iaconelli couldn't have celebrated his 38th birthday any better.
Not knowing what to expect at Fort Gibson Lake after the event was switched from the Arkansas River, Iaconelli came back to land 14 pounds of fish for a solid finish after Day One.
"It was a good day after a really tough practice," Iaconelli said. "Yesterday, I didn't find anything on it and only caught two keepers. It was a really big question mark whether I could catch five today, but it worked out."
At the morning launch, a large crowd gathered at Sequoya Bay State Park gave him a standing ovation when it was announced he was one year older.
Steve Kennedy entered the first day of the AutoZone Sooner Run at Fort Gibson Lake needing weight to get him in contention for the Bassmaster Classic.
Kennedy got exactly that with a stringer of 17-3, putting him in ninth place overall in the tournament.
"It was fun actually," Kennedy said. "It was kind of hard, but I found a place where I could catch a limit. I caught a big one early and fished for bigger ones and ended up catching two or three of them."
Kennedy landed a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass that vaulted him to second place at the time of his weigh-in.
"I was scared to death I was going to lose it," he said. "It took forever to get it in the boat, but it was awesome. I need to make a check here to make the Classic."
Jared Lintner found one particular spot where he landed his largest fish, pushing him up to fifth position after the first day.
"Yesterday I thought it wasn't going to work and ran around until I found one spot where I had three bites," Lintner said. "Fortunately I got back on it, because two other guys wanted on it bad."
Lintner landed a 4-8 on a jig, which increased his overall total to 17-3 for the day.
"What I like is fishing in structure and there is structure on this lake, but it's rock," he said.
"I had No. 5 caught three times and lost it — and it was big ones, too."
— Byron Haseotes
"I think Trip (Weldon) made the absolute right decision to bring us here. It still fishes the same for me."
— Rick Morris
"I've always wanted to have tournaments where there's no practice. This is the most level playing field we've had all year." - Rick Clunn
"I would love to see Elite Series tournaments without any practice. If you're scared then sit at home and stay on the porch."
— Gerald Swindle
"They got it done this morning, so it's steaks for them tonight."
—Tommy Biffle, on quick help from the service crew and their reward
"I fished this lake back in the day, when deep water was three feet on a willow tree."
— Kenyon Hill
"I spun myself completely out today."
— Jeff Kriet
"I don't like the way this day tested, I can tell you that."
"If you don't believe these guys aren't the best in the country, just pay your money so they can whip your butt, just like they're whipping mine."
— Stephen Browning
"This format makes you fish your instincts and I like that."
— Randy Howell