GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – The fishing was tough during the first four-hour session of the Bassmaster Team Championship Classic Fish-Off on Lake Guntersville Saturday morning, but two anglers found enough bass to separate themselves from the rest of the field.
Louisiana angler Nickolas LeBrun took the lead at the 10:30 a.m. weigh-in with four bass that weighed 12 pounds, 14 ounces. His catch was anchored by a largemouth that weighed 6-5 – the biggest of the morning session.
LeBrun began his day on the same spot where he and his partner, Randy Deaver, caught 28-3 during Friday’s final round of the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship. They finished third in that event.
“The big bag we caught yesterday came off of one spot, an offshore spot” LeBrun said. “We decided that we would both go there early, kind of get what we could get and then go our separate ways after that. I pulled two fish off that spot, including the big one.”
The spot wasn’t as kind to Deaver, who brought just one fish to the scales during the morning session for a weight of 2-5. He caught that fish just before it was time to return to Lake Guntersville State Park.
Things went a little better for Michigan angler Christopher Risner.
After teaming with Timothy Eaton to win the national team title Friday, Risner caught three bass during the Saturday-morning session that weighed 10-4 and positioned himself in second place behind LeBrun. Risner’s best fish was a largemouth that weighed 5-8.
“We really didn’t have a solid plan for what we were going to do,” Risner said. “We just decided to get there in the morning and see what happens. We were both very respectful of one another, and I just happened to get a few good bites.”
Risner showed up at Saturday’s take-off without the insurance papers required by B.A.S.S. tournament officials, and he was 15 minutes late getting started as a result. But his weight was still enough to put him in second.
His partner Eaton came to the scales without a fish for the morning session – as did Texas angler Dean Alexander. Thomas Martens, Alexander’s partner during the team portion, weighed in two bass for a total of 6-2 that was good for third place Saturday.
The anglers left the launch site again at 11 a.m. for the afternoon session, and they’ll return for the final weigh-in at 3 p.m. Each fisherman will once again be allowed to weigh in five bass.
The angler with the top combined total weight from both sessions will earn a berth to the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, March 4-6.