Flexibility will be a factor

Seth Feider exemplified the critical decisions that will make a difference in this event’s outcome. After starting his day in search of smallmouth on a large flat, he said he wasn’t feeling it, so he shifted gears.

In his characteristically low-keyed tone, Feider muttered “stupid smallmouth” as he decided to ditch the brown fish in favor of flipping shallow grass for largemouth. A flurry of good bites provided the encouragement he needed.

“I can do this all day,” he said, as he swung a keeper aboard. “I’m just flipping a jig around grass. I can do this all day. If I keep doing this we might get a grown one.”

Feider did, in fact, find a quality largemouth, but it required a secondary adjustment — this time, to a protected area that will only get better during the day’s warmer period. Pitching a jig around a marina with lots of aquatic vegetation complementing the dock shade, Feider nabbed a couple of chunks, including a 4-pound, 12-ouncer that helped move him into the (unofficial) top 10 by 11 a.m.

Feider’s summary: “I'm just trying to drop a jig wherever I think there’s a fish and every now and then it gets tight.”

At 11:24, Feider surged into the lead with a 5-4 largemouth — the day’s biggest yet — for an unofficial total of 18-4. The catch allowed him to cull a 3-pound smallmouth.

“I just went from 15 pounds to 18 with one catch,” Feider said.

We’ll likely hear more tales of success following key changes today.