Hightower holds a thin lead

Day One of the 2012 Cabela's B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Central Divisional is history. And it looks to be a close one, at least in the early stages. Standings

Oklahoma angler and Bassmaster Classic veteran Dale Hightower weighed a sack of five fish that tipped the scales at 17 pounds, 5 ounces. But, when he looks over his shoulder he sees Nebraska’s Jared Knuth a scant 10 ounces behind with 16 pounds, 11 ounces. Interestingly, the anglers have little in common when it comes to their fishing strategies.

“I’ve been fishing real shallow in a big slough,” he says, weighing every word so as not to give anything away. “I really don’t want to say where it’s at or what I’m catching them on, but I will say I’m moving my baits real fast. I’m not fishing on the bottom of the lake, that’s for sure.

“The fish have been there for a while. I had 12 keepers this morning before 9:30 and was able to leave by 10:00. All things considered, I had a good day.”

Hightower goes on to say he thinks he has enough fish in that one spot to support him through three days of tournament angling, as long as the tide doesn’t run them off.

Knuth tells a very different story. “I’m making a long run and fishing really heavy vegetation. Without giving you the details I will say that I’m punching in less than 3 feet of water with a 1 1/2-ounce tungsten sinker. That should tell you something,” he says while accepting congratulations from teammates and fans.

Like Hightower, Knuth says he believes his fish will hold for three days. “I have several more areas that I haven’t touched yet so I think — hope — I’m in pretty good shape”.

As far as the team competition is concerned, Louisiana weighed 49 fish today for a total of 100 pounds, 5 ounces. Leading the state is Ryan Lavigne with 13 pounds, 2 ounces. In second place, 21 pounds, 4 ounces behind is Kansas. Its 38 fish total weighed 79 pounds, 7 ounces. Preston Frazell is leading the charge for Kansas with 11 pounds, 10 ounces.

Oklahoma ranks third with 69 pounds, 11 ounces; Missouri is fourth with 61 pounds, 13 ounces; and Texas is holding down the fifth slot with 54 pounds even. Arkansas is right behind with 53 pounds, 5 ounces; Nebraska is in seventh place with 45 pounds, 15 ounces, and Mississippi is in last place with 44 pounds, 7 ounces.

Big bass honors went to Kenneth Ryals of Hattiesburg, Miss. He managed to force the Atchafalaya Basin to give up a 4-pound, 15-ounce hawg.

A total of 246 bass were caught today. They weighed 508 pounds, 15 ounces. Twenty-three limits were brought to the scales.

Tomorrow’s another day…

Click here for the complete standings. 

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