Jaye thought he'd hooked a catfish

Kelley Jaye is known for fishing a jerkbait. So he's quite familiar with the fact that just about any fish species will hit a jerkbait. When he set the hook Saturday morning, he didn't think it was a bass on the end of his line.

"I thought it was a catfish when I hooked into it," Jaye said. "It pulled so hard and so steady. I lifted my poles up, turned my trolling motor on and I just followed it for 20 or 30 yards until it gave out."

When it gave out, Jaye lifted a 9-pound, 2-ounce largemouth bass into the boat. It was the Big Bass of Day 1 at the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite on the St. Johns River. And it provided a big anchor in his 5-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces. He leads the tournament by 15 ounces over Paul Mueller, who had 20-8. Jaye finished 11th last year on the St. Johns, doing the same thing in the same area.

"They live where I'm at," Jaye said. "It's a grind. I was only getting eight or nine bites a day, but they were good fish. It's pretty much the same thing this year too."

Jaye's big bass of the day - so far

Kelley Jaye, as far as we know, has the big bass of the day as we head into the final hours of Day 1 at the St. Johns River. This 8-pounder anchors his unofficial total of 18 pounds. He's also got a 4-pounder in his livewell.

The 47-year-old angler from Dadeville, Ala., was successful at the St. Johns last year as well. He finished 11th with a three-day total of 57-8.

Auten is up a creek

North Carolina pro Todd Auten is leading the tournament with 16-10, but he hasn’t added to his livewell since 10:32.

Earlier today the tide dropped the water three feet in the creeks where Auten is fishing. Bass don’t necessarily like that. It gives them more exposure to predators. The water here is very muddy from the storms that passed through the area this week.

“I’m just practicing now,” he told us. Auten is moving often now. “I haven’t had a bite in an hour.”

Full moon + warmup=?

Kelley Jaye has over 17 pounds with an 9-pound (according to photog Shane Durrance) kicker in the livewell. Also on the Phoenix Big Bass scoreboard is a 6-pounder and a couple of 5s. Considering the weather wallop this place just endured that's not too shabby.

Could it be a sign of things to come? Perhaps.

There are several things in play that indicate that it might. First, a warmup is underway. The current temp in Palatka is 60 degrees. Tomorrow it hits 72 and then 80 on Championship Monday. Next, there is a full moon. In Florida, that moon phase is an influencer for the spawn. Finally, the incoming tide should replenish the lakes to the south with much needed water. Add it all up and things could definitely change for the better soon.

Add it all up and tomorrow afternoon and certainly by Monday the catch rates should go up in size. And as we all know, by then the sport's best anglers will have dialed into the bite as well as they could.

One prediction that has yet to pan out is the thought about local anglers picking it up due to the drastic change in weather. One of them is John Cox from DeBary, Fla. Photographer Andy Crawford just sent this photo of Cox as he exited a canal in Dexter Lake, which is not far from his home. Cox signaled a zero. That is not to say it could change — anytime — for Cox or Cliff Prince, the Palatka resident also considered a local favorite.

Andy said about a dozen boats are in that area, fishing on the outside edges of the vegetation lining the shoreline. That's not surprising. Also not surprising is the BASSTrakk map shows boats spread out throughout the tournament waters.

From the marshal-less

Word from the water is that Kelley Jaye has a 7-pound big bass right now and overall has 17 pounds or so. That has him in the unofficial lead.

John Crews also came in tough with photographer Steve Bowman and said he had around 12 pounds or so.

Finally, Stetson Blaylock's personal cameraman said he has a limit for right around 10 pounds.

Three anglers that will inject themselves into that Top 10 realm.

Mueller with a sign of things to come?

Paul Mueller has only one bass in his livewell, and it didn't come until 11:25. But it's a five-pounder and it might be a sign of things to come.

It's been a slow morning for just about all these anglers, Mueller especially so, until now. But everyone is optimistic that today's sunshine and warming temperatures are going to reverse the morning trend.

Day 1 Rapala Fantasy Fishing update

Ronnie Moore gives an early Rapala Fantasy Fishing update of he and Mike Suchan's teams with other information as well.

Prince with a limit

Cliff Prince spent the past 15 minutes in a skinny, shallow canal. He got his lure hung up on a boat dock, then shortly afterwards caught his fifth keeper bass of the day. We’re estimating he has 9 pounds and some change.

After the cold front, Prince was expecting tough day today. He’s happy to have as limit by 11:00 even if it is small.

Zaldain married to mats

Bassmaster Elite veteran Chris Zaldain knows that cold fronts drive bass to cover and he’s not flinching from this truth as he’s committed his morning to working thick mixtures of spatterdock and pennywort.

Punching a 4-inch Magabass Bottle Shrimp on a 5/0 wide gap hook with a 1-ounce weight, Zaldain’s keeping an unweighted Senko handy for follow up presentations in open patches amid the mat.

“On the low tide, I’m fishing corners, points and little islands (isolated mat clumps),” Zaldain said. “As the tide comes up, they’ll move way back inside. This is Mat Fishing 101.”

Kennedy taking wife's advice

"Don't overthink it!"

That was the advice that Julia Kennedy gave to her husband. And according to her, she gives him such advice on a regular basis. He must be listening. BASSTrakk shows Kennedy in fifth place with 11-14 with an limit anchored by a largemouth weighing 5-4.

I visited the Kennedys yesterday to videotape them for a new video series. That's where I picked up Julia's line.

It's no secret that Kennedy is a swimbait aficionado and a lure tinkerer. So that could be his bait of choice. What else I learned on my field trip to their camp in Salt Springs was that as a youngster Kennedy's family took him to the famous springs of that area. He developed a fondness for those springs flowing into the St. Johns River.

Kennedy lamented to me about the lack of water in those areas, and the difficulty in navigating them. But he may be onto something. Let's hope so and that like Julia says, not to overthink it. Simplicity might be the key here, as the fish aren't as active as normal.

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