Josh Douglas with three early keepers

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas has been a staple on the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens for the last four years and that doesn't just include one division, but rather all three divisions most years. He's been one of the most consistent Opens pros when it's all said and done on the Opens Angler of the Year lists. Douglas has started this event great. With 24 pounds, 13 ounces on Day 1 he found himself in 3rd place overall and just 10 ounces out of the lead.

I followed him this morning as he whizzed by me. I picked up his trail and have watched him catch roughly a dozen fish so far with three of those being keepers. He's only caught one or two genuine small fish, with most falling in the 14 to 15-inch range.

There is definitely a shad spawn to consider so far as my boat is getting pounded with bait fish that usually use a hard surface to spawn. While waiting for boats to come down Lake Chickamauga I saw hundreds of shad congregated at the base of a river buoy that marks the channel. Any hard surface will do, but anglers often target rocks, rip-rap, wood, sea walls and docks to cash in on a shad spawn.

I'm not quite sure if Douglas is focused on that necessarily or if his area is just loaded with fish in general, but he is certainly doing some sorting through quantity while searching for quality. He just noted this spot is a "staging" spot where fish will move to before spawning and even when they're finished.

On Thursday, Douglas said he had a solid 16 to 17-pound limit before catching that 9-9 brute, which elevated him to his 24-13. Another fast start here may have him stress free as he looks for a kicker later.