In January 1977, Dave Gliebe put on one of the great tournament performances of all time right here at Okeechobee. He won the ABF (American Bass Fisherman) Hurst Open with a three-day catch (21 total bass) weighing 95-3. Second place was Roland Martin (fishing in this week's Wild Card) with 52-10. That's a margin of victory of more than 42 pounds and the biggest I've ever heard of in a national tournament.
Shaye Baker is pretty much dialed in this morning. He just called his shot on his fifth bass of the day. It was a 2 1/2 pounder. Baker is casting and pitching to isolated reed clumps with a jig. While I've been writing this he's caught two more that didn't help him.
James Overstreet and I are on the water now and we've got the Day One leaders in sight - Shaye Baker and Russ Lane. Baker already has four in the boat - three dinks and a 4 1/2 pounder. This should make for an interesting day.
As you know, we'll cut to the top 12 anglers after Day Two. At the moment, it looks like it'll take around 33 or 34 pounds to make the cut, but since weights carry through to the final day not all of those anglers are going to have a realistic chance of winning. With big bass here weighing 9 or 10 pounds, only the anglers within that margin of the leader will have any chance at all of taking first place and the berth in the Classic. If you enter the final round more than 10 pounds back of the leader, you have essentially no chance of winning.
As you might imagine, Day One leader Shaye Baker didn't get much sleep last night. Catching 29 1/2 pounds will do that to a young guy trying to earn a Bassmaster Classic spot. "I napped for about five minutes every 30 minutes," Baker said. Day Two of the Bassmaster Classic Wild Card Tournament presented by Star Tron dawned just like Day One - cloudless, except for the hovering herd of giant mosquitoes. I think I'm going to need a blood transfusion. I'm feeling about a quart low.
Shaye Baker's 9-1 lunker on Day One was a great fish, but not the largest ever weighed in at a B.A.S.S. event on Okeechobee. At the 1986 Florida Invitational, Larry Wright boated a 10-14 that still stands as the biggest. There have been five other lunkers over 10 pounds, most recently a 10-1 by Kyle Fox at the 2010 Southern Open. Don't be surprised if someone tops Baker's lunker on Day Two. Nine pounds and an ounce isn't usually enough to claim big bass honors here.
Elite Series Pro Britt Myers double checking his gear before heading out on Day One.
See how the anglers fared on the first day of the the Bassmaster Classic Wild Card on Lake Okeechobee.
Alabama's Shaye Baker picked a good day to catch the biggest bass and biggest five-bass limit of his life.
Phil Thalheimer submitted this fan photo of his live stream of the weigh-in. Missed it? Check out the leaderboard here.