Peterson takes Day 1 lead at Hobie Open

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Tyson Peterson worked a steady ledge bite.
Julie Nowicki
Tyson Peterson worked a steady ledge bite.

Gilbertsville, Ky. — Former champions held two of the top five leader board positions at the halfway point of the 2018 Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. 

Editor's note: See photos from Day 1.

Tyson Peterson, winner of the 2015 Hobie Bass Open, rode a steady ledge bite to the top position on Saturday (June 2), posting a three-fish limit and 62.5-inch total. Last year’s winner, Jay Wallen, stood in fourth place with a 59-inch total.

Warm hazy conditions and mild breezes favored the 118 adult competitors on Day 1 of the kayak-only catch-photo-release tournament. Recent rains factored into both shallow and deep battle plans. Elevated lake levels brought bass into shoreline grass and timber while seven-gate flow from the Kentucky Lake dam prolonged an active ledge bite. 

Nick McBride’s 59.75-inch total trailed only Peterson. The two Lexington, Ky., anglers shared a ledge throughout the day. 

“It was a consistent bite that continued right into early afternoon,” said Peterson, who had amassed a 60-inch total by 9 a.m. and culled with a 21-incher an hour later to reach his tournament leading total. “I actually caught another 20-1/4 inch bass that couldn’t add to my total later.”

Peterson fished both jigs and plastic worms for his ledge bass.

“I fished more in a finesse manner, working bottom, dragging baits,” explained Peterson. “But I had to fish heavier weights on the 15-foot and deeper breaks where the fish were holding.”

Peterson alternated between Texas-rigged worms and 1/2- and 3/4-ounce football head jigs with plastic trailers.

In third place, Matthew Scotch held a 1/4-inch lead over Wallen as well as the tournament lead for largest fish with a 22.5-inch largemouth. The Fort Worth, Texas, angler fished large swimbaits.

Joe Kumyati rounded out the top five with a 58-1/4-inch total. The multi-species angler from Raleigh, N.C., is competing in only his second bass tournament.

“Our anglers registered 260 bass,” reported A.J. McWhorter, tournament director. “We had the fewest number of penalties (for poorly photographed or identified fish) despite having the highest number of participants to date.”

Cole Kleffman led a five-angler field in the Youth division. His three-fish limit included a 19-inch smallmouth, among the largest of that species caught by any of the 123 anglers in the Hobie competition.

Kayak anglers were preparing for more bluster on Day 2 from 12-15 mph winds and heavier gusts along with continued strong current from TVA dam discharge. High skies and cooler temperatures were in the forecast.

The two-day Hobie Bass Open will qualify the top two finishers for the Hobie World Championship 8. A $4,000 prize and expense-paid trip to the Hobie Worlds 8 awaits  the winner. Site of that world championship will be announced in the coming months.