George with a limit

We found Sam George at secondary point in major creek.  He was fishing off shore brush piles.  As we were approaching him he asked us to stay on shallower side because he has some brush piles he is going to fish.  As soon as we got ourselves in a good position, he sat a hook and caught his fifth keeper of the day. 

Finding Huff

We run all the way down to the dam to find Cody Huff.  He is fishing behind the big boat houses on main lake.  He makes few casts then moved to the next boat house.  Run and gunning, looking for another bite.  He said weather and situation is getting right for what he is doing. 

Matsushita looking for a big bite

When Day 2 at Grand Lake Bassmaster Central Open weigh in concluded, Masayuki Matsushita was relieved; he had punched a ticket to the Bassmaster Elite Series next season.

This Championship Saturday morning, he didn’t have any pressure going out to the lake. He is looking for a big one that will give him another ticket to the Bassmaster Classic. He is only looking for a big bites today. So far he has landed two fish for a total of 5.5lb. The search continues.

LeBrun fishing for redemption

Two weeks ago in the Central Open at Alabama’s Smith Lake, Nick LeBrun was in first place going into the final day. He finished second by over 4 pounds to Jacob Powroznik. LeBrun caught only three keepers totaling 5-7 on Day 3.

The 37-year-old Bossier City, La., resident is in the process of reversing that outcome - in a big way - on Grand Lake. LeBrun has put on a topwater show this morning, relying exclusively on a River2Sea Whopper Plopper 130 in loon color, which is primarily black. He started the morning with a 5-pounder and closed the 9 o’clock hour with a 4-pounder, noting, “That fish right there is going to be key.”

It gave him a five-bass total of 16-6, according to BassTrakk, and a lead of almost 14 pounds over second place. The standings will undoubtedly tighten as the day goes on. So far this week the mid-day and afternoon bite has been key. But LeBrun has set a high bar in the first three hours of this final day of the final Bassmaster Open of the 2021 season.

Slow start for Kimura

It is not as cold this morning as it has been the last two mornings, but the wind has picked up on Grand Lake.  Kimura was hoping this wind would help him catch a big limit today, but he's has had no success yet this morning.  He's mainly fished off shore for an hour and half, and is now changing to shallow water to try something different, looking for that first bite. 

Walker needing a late surge

After weighing in 16-10 on Day 1 of the Bassmaster Open at Grand Lake, Jacob Walker jumped into the Top 10 for the event and moved into the number two spot in the points race for the Central Opens.

At 23 years of age, Walker has proved over the course of the year that he can certainly hang with the “big boys”. In six Bassmaster Opens events, the Alabama native has cashed a check in five of those events.

BassTrakk currently shows Walker to only have one bass in the livewell late on Day 2.

“Chin up, eyes open,” said Walker on how he will approach Day 2. That will certainly have to come into play late on Day 2, as the young angler only has a few hours left to make it happen.

The good news for Walker is that several of the anglers who are currently below him in the Central Opens points race could potentially qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series through the Opens AOY list, which means he will likely be able to slip a little on Day 2 and still be within the Elite Series qualification line. With that said, if Walker can salvage the day and stay within the Top 20, he will give himself a really good chance to finish in the Top 3 in the points.

Aoki close to closing the deal

Daisuke Aoki, winner of the Douglas Lake Bassmaster Southern Open, is another Japanese angler on the bubble for the Elite qualification. He has proven his angling skills in Japan by winning multiple AOYs and multiple Japanese Classics.   

After he earned some belts and trophies in Japan, Aoki is now ready to test his skills here in the States. In his first two years fishing the Opens he struggled, but he seems to have adjusted his skills for the United States waters as of late. 

After he weighing 11-3 on Day 1, Aoki jumped into third place in both the Opens AOY and Central rankings. He is looking for a few more fish in hopes of accomplishing his longtime dream, fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series. 


George focusing on following the bait

The full moon and abundance of shad seem to be playing a big role in the game plan for Alabama angler, Sam George. The full moon keeps the bass feeding at night, and the population of shad in the coves is so thick you could almost walk across them. With plenty to eat and a full night of feeding, the bass aren’t as active in the mornings. George is keying in on the shad bite, but banking on his bites to come later in the day. Yesterday, four of his five keepers were caught within half an hour on one spot around 1:00. 

George continues to fish the shad bite, hitting several deeper brush piles with a jerk bait, chatterbait and spinner bait. He’s also changing it up with a Texas rigged worm to target the more lethargic bass. Occasionally, he’s fishing docks with a Texas rig in coves that are full of shad as well.

Matsushita searching for limit

We made a big run all the way to the dam to find Masayuki Matsushita. He’s been in Top 3 in the Opens AOY standings throughout the year until he had a bad tournament on the St. Lawrence River in New York that dropped him out of Top 3. After weighing 15-3 on Day 1, he is right back in the game to punch his ticket to the Bassmaster Elite Series, which is a longtime dream of his.

He said he has three fish that weigh about eight pounds in his livewell. Matsushita feels a lot of pressure because he knows that catching a limit today is the way to qualify for the Elite Series but he still needs two more fish to do that. When he caught his first fish this morning his hands were shaking, he said. The rest of the day he’ll be searching for number four and number five.

Kimura has been here before

Two years ago, Kenta Kimura caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces to take the first day lead in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open at Grand Lake. Yesterday, Kimura did it again – this time with 21-14.

The 34-year-old pro from Osaka, Japan, knows as well as anyone that one day does not guarantee anything in a three-day tournament, especially at Grand Lake this time of year. In 2019, Kimura kept the lead on Day 2 with a limit weighing 14-4, but fell to 4th place on the final day with only three fish weighing 8-10.

“I just know the way it is on this lake at this time of year,” Kimura said Thursday. “I don’t want to do that again, for sure. This is the biggest opportunity of the year for me.”

Kimura was speaking of the chance to win this tournament and qualify for the 2022 Bassmaster Classic. He qualified for the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series through the Central Opens in 2020. He finished 69th in the Angler of the Year standings in his rookie season.

“I really don’t know what I’m going to do (Friday),” said Kimura after Thursday’s weigh-in. “I’ll probably go back to where I caught them for a few hours. But this is the same type of deal (as 2019) to me. I’ve got to keep looking.”