OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — Kentucky angler Drew Sadler fished his strengths rather than a pattern to take the lead in the Academy Sports + Outdoor B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional presented by Magellan Outdoors at the Lake of the Ozarks.
The 30-year-old Bluegrass Bassmasters club member had never fished Lake of the Ozarks before, but he figured out how to catch a five-bass limit weighing 24 pounds, 4 ounces to move into first place in the boater division.
Sadler arrived at the lake on Saturday and spent his practice days scouting the whole lake.
“I kind of went to all extremities of the lake,” Sadler said. “It is a big lake so I wanted to see everything it has to offer. It is similar to my home lake, Lake Cumberland, so I wanted to know with the weather what options I would have if there was a cold front or if it was warm.”
The Sportco Marketing sales manager said his fishing was “slow and steady” with his keepers coming in pairs.
“The lake is not as consistent as I thought it would be,” he said. “It is a very ’patternable’ lake but I had to kind of fall back on personal strengths rather than doing what I thought I was going to do when I came here.”
Sadler said he covered a lot of water in one particular area and caught most of his fish ranging in depth from 5 to 15 feet. The Richmond, Ky., angler believes the weather change from the clouds and rain today to clear skies and cold tomorrow might make fishing tougher for him.
“I could catch that (weight) again or not come in with anything,” he said.
The rest of the top five in the boater division are Marcus Sykora, Osage Beach, Mo., second, 20-1; Kyle Christopher, Lancaster, Ky., third, 20-0; Beau Govreau, Cedar Hill, Mo, fourth, 19-15; and Ty Bowman, Mountain Home, Ark., fifth, 19-3. Bowman leads in the Phoenix Big Bass award in the boater division with a 7-5 largemouth.
Leading the co-angler division with three bass weighing 14-3 is Gregory Ruff Jr. of Minnesota. The Phoenix Boats Big Bass leader on the co-angler side is Eddie Charleton with a 7-2 largemouth.
B.A.S.S. Nation club anglers from 19 states are competing on the Lake of the Ozarks. The tournament will determine overall winners in the boater and co-angler divisions, the top finishing state team and qualifiers for the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan Outdoors. Advancing to the national championship will be the top boater and co-angler from each state.
The 20 anglers from Kentucky teamed up to catch 177 pounds, 4 ounces to take the lead in the team standings. Missouri moved into the runner-up spot with 168-12 and Arkansas is in third place with 163-6.
The tournament field will be cut to the Top 38 boaters and co-anglers from each state after Thursday's fishing. Those competitors will fish on Friday for overall titles and championship berths.
The Tri-County Lodging Association is hosting the Central Regional. Thursday’s weigh-in starts at 2:30 p.m. CDST at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park Public Beach No. 2 access.