Unofficial leader

While there is a lot of talk about clinching Classic berths early on Day 1, the sheer majority of the field is in this event to solely win it.

Justin Atkins is one of those anglers. He can’t move up in points enough to get an outright bid so his only avenue to the Classic is another win. Atkins sits in 22nd in the Central Opens points race and made it to Table Rock by way of his win at Logan Martin to end the regular season.

Atkins sits on top of the BASSTrakk unofficial leaderboard at 10:30 a.m. CT with four fish for 8-12. He started the day strong with a keeper on cast number one this morning.

“I catch one on my first cast of the day,” Atkins said. “I got excited because I got to send it in to BASSTrakk. That had to be one of the first fish caught today.”

Atkins did indeed make his mark early in this event. He would accomplish something special by winning two Opens in a season.

He’s another angler who came from the college ranks. From his time at Mississippi State he was successful in all three college trails. His life changed in 2017 when he won the Forrest Wood Cup in his first year fishing professionally.

His co-angler today is Beau Browning, son of Stephen Browning. Beau is about to be a college angler himself within the next year once he finishes high school. Browning is still waiting to break the ice today.