Angler Hit On Way Home From Open

Breaking News: Steven Priest's boat was wrecked on his way home from the 2017 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #1.

When he was hit by another driver, Steven Priest was leaving the Bassmaster Southern Open on the Harris Chain and heading to meet his brother for a YouTube video shoot for their channel Guillotine Digital. "I was about an hour from the lake, sitting at a stop light, minding my own business, and this guy slammed in to my boat hard," Priest said. "He was incoherent, and had no idea what was going on. The police ended up arresting him because he failed a sobriety test." 

Priest's boat was towed, and he had to empty it before heading home. "I didn't know if I was ever going to see my boat again," Priest said. "I couldn't go to a hospital or a hotel, because I had all of my gear in my boat. I ended up driving home to Ohio, and sleeping in my truck at a rest stop." Priest said he's physically OK though he's still trying to figure out what to do next. 

For the next Open, Priest will probably have to borrow a boat, and he still hasn't had time to examine the damage to his rig. "The boat could be totaled. It had huge gouges in the fiberglass. The PowerPoles were bent sideways."

For anglers towing their boats around the country, Priest recommends you have good insurance. "You never know what's going to happen," he said.

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Video: Shryock headed back to weigh-in Day 3

Hunter Shryock headed back to the weigh-in site on Day 3 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #1 on Harris Chain.

Shryock fills his limit on Day 3 at Harris Chain

Hunter Shryock catching his limit in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open

Hunter Shryock just filled his limit in a 10-minute span. He decided to just go fishing in his Area instead of sight fishing and he landed two fish, both of which were at least two pounds. He now has a limit and is heading to fish for the 6- or 7-pounder that he had bite twice. 

He probably has 17 pounds, conservatively. He just culled a couple ounces with another cookie cutter. Crunch time is upon him and he is looking to bolster his bag with this big female. 

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Shryock bails on a big one

Hunter Shryock posted up on another bedding bass after landing that 6- to 7-pounder earlier. He worked on it for roughly an hour before he push poled away and talked to us.

"It bit twice, but it got my craw claws both times," Shryock said. "It's a 7-pounder for sure."

He has moved on and is fishing again, but there is no doubt he's coming back for another try at that one.

Shryock with three bass

I left Marty Robinson and found 3rd place Hunter Shryock, who also locked through to Griffin. Shryock's most important piece of equipment this week is probably his push pole. In the 20 minutes I've been here, he hasn't used his trolling motor and it's actually locked up and not deployed. He had two fish for 7 pounds or so when I arrived; one was a 2 pounder and one a 4+ pounder that was pushing 5.

He posted up on a spawning fish and after a few flips he dropped to his knees in agony because he didn't see the giant and accidentally missed it. He regained his composure and two flips later he hooked up and was battling a big one to the boat. He went to the driver seat and grabbed a 6 to 7 pounder and hauled it aboard. Shryock was so pumped that he held the fish to the skies and yelled it elation.

He now has 3 fish for 13 to 14 pounds and is posted up on another spawning fish.

One of the coolest parts to this situation is that his brother, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Fletcher Shryock is here as well. He is a wreck watching his little brother do battle with a shot at a victory.

Lucas pulls the plug

Photographer James Overstreet has spent the entire morning thus far in the hopes of watching Justin Lucas keep surging to maintain his final day lead.

As of now, that’s not the case.

Lucas abandoned his area after putting just 3 small keepers in the livewell. In order to win at this point, all of those dinks must be replaced and time is running short.

Overstreet was told by Lucas that he plans to run 45 minutes to new water. Where that is we’ll never know, unless he finds last-minute success in the area.

On a note of irony Lucas was the only angler to eclipse 20 pounds on Days 1 and 2.

Day 3: Numbers to ponder

Here are a few numbers to ponder during the final day of the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open No. 1 on Central Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes.

27 – Number of states and countries represented in the first Bassmaster Open Tournament of 2017.

200 – Number of anglers entered in the professional division of the tournament. The same number of co-anglers also took part.

12 – Number of anglers who remain in both the pro and co-angler divisions.

7 – Number of the 12 remaining anglers in the pro division who live in Alabama – Justin Lucas, Jesse Wiggins, John Pollard, Scott Canterbury, David Kilgore, David Hudson, and Joshua Stracner.

9 – Number of states represented in Saturday’s co-angler field – Minnesota, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama (2), Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida (3), Michigan, North Carolina.)

51,400 – Number of dollars in cash and prizes that will be awarded to the winner of the boater/pro division on Saturday.

9-4 – Number in pounds and ounces of the heaviest bass weighed through two days of fishing in the Southern Open No. 1. Jordan Lee caught the lunker on Thursday.

22-5 – Number in pounds and ounces of the heaviest bag weighed Friday. Minnesota’s Jon Englund had the big bag on Day 2.

23-11 – Number in pounds and ounces of the heaviest bag weighed in the tournament. That distinction goes to South Carolina Elite Series pro Marty Robinson for his Day 1 haul.

5 – Number of anglers from this season’s Southern Open point standings who will earn spots on the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series. Anglers who score the highest in the opens, and fish all three of the 2017 events, earn the entries.

89 – Number of days from Jan. 21 until April 20 – the first day of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open No. 2 on Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee.

161 – Number of days between the final day of Southern Open No. 2 and Sept. 28 – the beginning of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open No. 3 on Alabama’s Smith Lake.

1 – Number of men who will claim the first berth in the 2018 Bassmaster Classic with a victory in this Southern Open on the Harris Chain of Lakes. The winner in each of the nine open events this year can fish the 2018 Classic.

Robinson looking for his best B.A.S.S. finish

Marty Robinson is hoping today is the day he notches his best Bassmaster finish of his career. He has two 3rd place finishes, both in Elite Series events. He started off the 2016 Elite Series season at the St. Johns River with 76 pounds, 4 ounces. He also took bronze back in 2012 at Toledo Bend.

A 1st or 2nd place finish would best both of those marks and would be a career achievement for sure because it isn't easy winning Bassmaster events, no matter what level.

At 9:15 Robinson boated his 2nd fish of the day after he set the hook and pinned the keeper to a group of lily pad stems. It was smaller than his first, but not small enough to measure it. It was for sure a keeper, maybe 2 pounds.

Robinson's co-angler Brody Manley started the day in 6th place and trailed by 6-2. He already has his three-fish limit. They were all roughly 2 to 3 pounds so he is sitting at a 6 to 7 pound bag at the moment.

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Following Robinson

After waiting at the lock for anglers to shuttle through, I picked up and followed 2nd place Marty Robinson to his starting area. It took him about 10 minutes before he hooked up with his first fish of the day. It seemed to be a 2 1/2 pounder. 

The Elite Series pro is throwing a moving bait in the Oklawaha River at the north end of Lake Griffin. Looks like one of his baits in his arsenal is a Zoom Speedworm, but he has also mixed in another rod or two so far this morning. 

Final day numbers to watch for

After 2 full days of full-field fishing, the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open on the Harris Chain comes down to 8 hours of angling by the Top 12.

(2-1) - Two pounds and one ounce is what separates leader Justin Lucas and 2nd place Marty Robinson. That's just a normal keeper on the Harris Chain, but it's worth noting that Lucas is the only angler in the field to eclipse 20 pounds both days of this event. He hit 21-11 on Day 1 and upped it to 21-14 on Friday. The scary thing is that another 21-pound bag for Lucas doesn't ensure a victory.

(9-4) - That is the big fish of the event and it was tallied on Day 1 by Jordan Lee. There have been numerous 8+ pounders caught as well so big fish live here and could show themselves today. Out of the Top 12 anglers, only the top 7 are within that margin. 8th place Scott Canterbury is just 9-5 behind.

(1,767) - That's how many fish crossed the scales after 2 days of competition on the Harris Chain. If the Top 12 pros and co-anglers all catch a limit today that number would bolster by another 96 fish. The total weight this week hit 4,068 pounds, 6 ounces and the average weight per fish this week was just 2-5. With all three stages of the spawn going on, a lot of smaller male bass were prevalent.

(3) - This could be Justin Lucas' third Bassmaster victory in basically his three years since joining the Elite Series circuit. He's had three full seasons on the Bassmaster Elite Series and this is the first Bassmaster event of 2017. His first two victories came on the California Delta and the Potomac River, both of which are similar in the fact of being shallow grass fisheries. For 2nd and 3rd place anglers Marty Robinson and Hunter Shryock, a win would be their first.

(7) - Seven anglers locked through from Lake Harris and Eustis into Lake Griffin. With roughly half the field locking to Griffin on Days 1 and 2, it's no surprise that over half the Top 12 did on Championship Saturday.