A break from the books

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Twenty-five-year-old Travis McDermott hopes to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series tour once he begins his career as a chiropractor. But the Williamstown, W.V., native's studies come first right now.

 He made the most of his time away from college Thursday as a co-angler in the Carolina Clash presented by Evan Williams. McDermott, paired with pro Jeff Reynolds, caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces and took the lead on Day One."I just threw a drop shot and tried to stay out of (Reynolds') way," said McDermott, who attends Life University in Atlanta.

 He also just missed the co-angler big bass of the day; McDermott's 5-1 was just under the pair of 5-4's weighed in by Steve Hauge of Savage, Minn., and Jeff Snyder of New Market, Md., respectively.This marks McDermott's first time to fish as a co-angler in the Elite Series, but he's not new to tournament bass fishing.


"I've been fishing (BASS) Federation tournaments since I was 16," McDermott said. "I'm going to fish the Opens and try to qualify for the Elite Series once I get out of school."Ladd Hunter of Conway, S.C., trails McDermott by only 7 ounces with his Day One limit weighing 13-4. Hunter was paired with pro Kevin Short. Like McDermott, this marked Hunter's first attempt as an Elite Series co-angler.Hunter didn't want to detail how he caught fish Thursday other than to say, "I caught 'em on top and on the bottom."


"I like this lake," said Hunter, who lives a 2 1/2-hour drive from Lake Murray. "I fish it regularly."It's probably an indication of how scattered the bass are in Lake Murray, now that both Hunter and McDermott caught a heavier limit than the pros they were paired with.Three anglers weighed 12-plus pounds to round out the top five on the co-angler side: Clay Lowder, Charlotte, N.C., 12-11; Harry Parten, Sweet Water, Ala., 12-5; and Kelly Wolfe, Eagle Springs, N.C., 12-3.



Visit Bassmaster.com for full coverage of the Elite Series Carolina Clash, May 15–18, 2008. Thursday through Saturday, daily weigh-ins with live streaming video and real-time leaderboards start at 3:00 p.m. ET. On Sunday, "Hooked Up" will air at noon and 2:45 p.m. ET, with the final weigh-in and live streaming video to start at 3:15 p.m. ET.