ANDERSON, S.C. — Nobuyuki Terajima secured a five-bass limit of 14 pounds, 2 ounces Wednesday to take the lead on Day 1 of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional at Lake Hartwell.
It was a good start for the Tennessee pro, who is in search of his fourth appearance in the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. The Japanese-born angler holds an 11-ounce lead over Georgia angler Donald Tully, who is second with 13-7.
“I found a good morning bite on a shallow point,” Terajima said. “I was lucky enough to get four keepers in the morning.”
This isn’t the first time Terajima has found success on Lake Hartwell. During the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, he caught 29-5 and finished seventh in the field of 60 anglers.
That tournament was in November, however, and Terajima said he had to start from scratch when he began preparing for this week’s tournament.
“I had a horrible practice,” he said. “The water temperature went up a little bit and I couldn’t find any good fish. Only some in the shallow area. I feel lucky today.”
After a bad practice, Terajima started on a shallow point that had active bass and proceeded to catch three spots and a largemouth. As the day progressed, he moved shallow and landed a largemouth that he estimated was over 4 pounds.
“I didn’t see any beds. I wasn’t sight fishing, the line just started moving,” he said. “I culled four fish today.”
When Tully left the dock this morning, he was still unsure of which direction he was going. He decided to head up the Seneca River section of Hartwell and it paid off with a limit of largemouth.
He caught the majority of his bass on a topwater bait fishing main-lake points in 8 to 10 feet of water. Once he filled his limit, he moved shallow and targeted a couple of bass he found on bed.
“I could have kept two rods on the deck of the boat,” he said. “I just kept running the same type of water once I figured out where they were. I had nine spots that I rotated through, and if I caught a fish on a spot and saw something on the way down the river that looked similar I would check it out for tomorrow.”
In practice, Tully said he found a lot of bass cruising the shallows that he could not get to commit. Instead, he decided to target the bass that had finished spawning a couple of weeks before and were headed back to the main lake.
He added that Hartwell sets up a lot like Lake Lanier, a lake he fishes frequently.
With 13-6, Wayne, W.V., native Willie Adkins Jr. finished Day 1 in third place, anchoring his bag with a 6-0 largemouth that currently holds the lead for big bass of the tournament. Adkins did a lot of his damage on a fluke and covered as much water as he could throughout the day.
“I fished hard all day but lost about five fish. I should have had 18 or 20 pounds easy,” Adkins said.
A shallow-water angler at heart, Adkins used that mindset to target largemouth bass around docks and coves in the main-lake area. He estimated he made about 50 stops, hitting each area for a short time before moving to the next.
On Thursday, Adkins plans to fish a completely different area.
“I’m going to make a long run tomorrow and change things up,” he said. “I put a hurting on my fish today, the big ones. I have a few big ones where I’m going to run.”
Matt Luken of Independence, Ky., leads the co-angler division after catching a three-bass limit of 9-1, including a 4-1 that was the co-angler big bass of the day. Spencer Humphrey of Madison, Va., is second with 7-3.
South Carolina took a commanding lead in the team standings, catching 72 bass that weighed 139-8. West Virginia is second with 131-4, while North Carolina is third (126-15), Georgia is fourth (125-13) and Virginia is fifth (117-1).
The full field will launch from Green Pond Landing at 6:30 a.m. ET Thursday and return for weigh-in starting at 2:30 p.m.
After Day 2, the Top 20 boaters and nonboaters, as well as the top two boaters and nonboaters from each state if they are not in the Top 20 already, will compete on Championship Friday. The top boater and top nonboater after the final day will qualify for the 2021 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship to be held Nov. 3-5 on the Ouachita River in Louisiana.