RIDGELAND, Miss. — Going back to catch what he left behind sums up the day for Billy Lemon, the Day 1 leader at the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional on Ross Barnett Reservoir.
“In practice I found an early bite and this morning I lost a good fish there so I went back,” said Lemon of the North Oklahoma City Bassmasters. “I didn’t expect to catch that kind of weight.”
The lost fish stayed on his mind all morning. Returning at midday to check the spot proved a good idea. Lemon filled his limit of 5 bass weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces from the same area. The day’s heaviest largemouth, weighing 6-1, anchored the catch.
In second place with 17-3 was fellow Oklahoman Preston Frazell. He scored with a deliberate morning and midday bite at different depth ranges from the same location.
It’s too early to tell but having a solid area that can produce all day long is a plus on this impoundment.
“It’s all about the timing for me,” said Frazell. “I have two separate techniques, first shallow and then deep later in the day.”
Frazell added, “there’s a reset kind of timing with it because the action slows down some between the early and mid-morning bite.”
The scenario is predictable during summer on the lowland, sprawling reservoir in central Mississippi. The lake offers an abundance of shallow water cover such as fields of lily pads that provide shade and cover for the bass. Here they feed early in the morning and then move nearby to cooler, deeper water for the remainder of the day.
“The morning bite is much better for me,” said Frazell.
He said adding balance to the bite by catching bass all day is a goal for Thursday.
Lemon and Frazell made a big contribution to Oklahoma’s overall lead in the state team standings. The team’s cumulative weight is 113-2. Louisiana is second with 93-9 and Kansas has 92-7 for third place.
The winning state team is awarded a Skeeter/Yamaha boat, motor, trailer and accessories package valued at $33,340.
The contestants from eight states qualified from local bass clubs and then advanced state championships. Each team has 14 members. Two of those anglers are part of another competition underway here.
State championship high school teams are competing alongside the adults to hone their skills at the higher level. Cumulative weight caught is added to the overall score of the state team.
Each adult angler winning his state here advances to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in November on the Ouachita River in Louisiana.