Opens Classic qualifiers

Seven spots to the 2019 Bassmaster Classic came from the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series. The Championship consisted of 28 of the top anglers from the Central and Eastern Opens. The seven Classic spots were determined on the points race and the specific outcome of the Opens Championship. Here are the qualifiers and who they impacted with their finishes.

Opens Championship winner: Jared Lintner

Eastern Opens points
1st: Brandon Lester (took his name off the Classic Bracket competition list)
2nd: Bobby Lane (Double qualified and bumped Keith Poche into the Classic)
3rd: Garrett Paquette
Central Opens points
1st: Frank Talley
2nd: Brad Whatley
3rd: Derek Hudnall

Seven more spots to the Bassmaster Classic remain. Three will be settled at the Classic Bracket event, three more at the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship and one final entry at the Bassmaster Team Championship fish-off.

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Nice catch for Jocumsen

Carl Jocmusen makes a nice catch on Championship Saturday of the 2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmater Opens Championship on Table Rock Lake.

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Colton Arnold

Roumbanis rooting for Lintner

Jared Lintner is the unofficial leader of this tournament at noon. He's got a rooting section in Russellville, Ark. That's because if Lintner were to win this tournament, Fred Roumbanis of Russellville would slip in the Classic Bracket tournament next week on Carters Lake in Ellijay, Ga., and have new life in trying to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Three more Classic bids will be available in the Classic Bracket.
But Roumbanis isn't rooting any harder for Lintner than Lintner. As has been noted, if Lintner doesn't win, he'll load up and head to Georgia after today's weigh-in. Chad Pipkens, who finished 21st here yesterday, is already on his way to Georgia.

Video: Hudnall's Classic hopes

Derek Hudnall needs a 7th or better to take the final Bassmaster Classic spot from the Opens points. We Skyped him and here were his thoughts from the day.

Hudnall looking for number 5

“Number five is always the hardest”, said Hudnall as we pulled up to him on an island in the mouth of Long Creek. Derek Hudnall had a stellar start this morning, catching his 4 keepers in a five casts span. Hudnall is fishing deep on islands and points for fish that are schooled up. 

If Hudnall is able to move up from 7th place (where he started the day) into 6th place or better, he will qualify for the 2019 Bassmaster Classic. In other words, there is a lot at stake. 

One of the most interesting things we are seeing transpire today is the guys that have committed to fishing deep are getting rewarded with favorable conditions. It was a risk regardless if an angler chose to focus shallow or deep given the transition that these fish are going through, but it is most definitely falling right into the guys hands who decided to stay deep.

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Lester culling again

Lester has culled again. This time I got to see every fish in his well. He has 5 and the smallest (the one he threw back) was a 2-pounder. 

The last two have been over 2. But not by much. BassTrakk has him at 10-9. 

I’m saying that’s at least a half pound light. When I proposed that idea to Lester he just smiled. 

“You know how bass fisherman are,” he said. “But it’s still not enough. Surely to goodness there’s some big smallmouth that live in this lake. “

He’s milking a long point and bluff wall near the dam, right where he caught his Classic qualifying fish two days ago. This spot might become even more special before the day is over.