Earns a richly-deserved U.S. Open victory
BY BRADLEY SCHWEIT
WON BASS Editor
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — He’s a phenomenal angler. He’s a good guy. He’s an all-around exceptional individual. And he’s now the 2013 WON BASS U.S. Open champion. His name is Rusty Brown and while his personal and professional accolades may be unfamiliar to some, his name is officially forever etched in the annals of angling history.
2013 U.S. OPEN CHAMPION, RUSTY BROWN, clutches the trophy he worked so diligently to obtain.
To say this week’s tournament transcended all those which preceded it, would be doing the event itself a grave injustice. It was an unprecedented success — both on and off the water — not only to those witnessing history firsthand, but also the fans and families watching it unfold from the comfort of their respective homes.
True to form, Mead lived up to its reputation as one of the most difficult and humbling fisheries in the West. Even past Open champions found themselves struggling to weigh 5-fish limits exceeding the 7- or even 8-pound mark. But, for the myriad angling trial and tribulations inherent to this, and all past Opens, there were the exceptional triumphs. Brown’s victory was one such tale, and the reason why 284 anglers left their homes, families and friends behind (some for the past few weeks to pre-fish) to earn the title of 2013 WON BASS U.S. Open champion.
On day one, Brown weighed a respectable 10.27 pounds; a solid limit, but a far cry from the massive 13.22-pound bag brought to the scale by Todd Herman. In fact, while Browns’ day-one bag was indeed respectable, it landed him in ninth place. Phillip Dutra, Chris Bozarth, Brett Hite, Gary Robbins, Tommy Jonovich, Gary Dobyns, Michael Caruso, and, of course, Herman, all managed to surpass Brown’s weight.
MERLIN NUNES TOOK first on the AAA side with a three-day combined total of 31.78 pounds.
But Brown is no stranger to the Open or its recipe for success. He’s fished the event a total of eleven times, and his highest placement until this tournament was 16th. He knew a solid single-day weight was nothing upon which to rest his laurels, so he resumed his attack the following afternoon.
Fishing with co-angler, Andrew Martin, the duo combined their efforts for a 10.17-pound bag; bringing Brown’s two-day total to 20.44. Brett Hite’s 10.25 pounds, however, was enough to best Brown and take the first-place slot going into the third, and final day of the tournament.
In truth, it was anyone’s guess as to how the final day would ultimately pan out. The list of anglers in the top 20 read like a who’s-who of the bass-fishing world. Included in that group were such angling all-stars as Gary Dobyns, John Murray and Aaron Martens; all intimately familiar with the feeling of holding a U.S. Open champion trophy. There were also the Mead experts, if you will, which included such names as Ray Arbesu and Chris Bozarth. The tournament may have been taking place in Vegas, but I can assure you, even the most devout gamblers wouldn’t have been willing to wager on a winner this time around.
CLIFFORD PIRCH SITS in the Costa hot seat, waiting for the final few anglers to weigh the last bags of the tournament.
The final day of competition began much the same as the first two: cloud cover and slight rain. For those hoping to get some sunshine, it appeared as though Mother Nature had other plans. The sun did make its presence known a bit later in the day, albeit in-between or behind clouds.
While the first anglers arrived at the weigh station atop the launch ramp at the Callville Bay Marina around 2 p.m., the drama and fanfare didn’t kick into gear until a half-hour-or-so later.
The first occupant of the “Costa hot seat,” as it’s come to affectionately be known, was none other than Shaun Bailey. His 8.85 pounds was enough to move him into pole position, if only for a short stint. (Keep in mind, however, WON BASS staff were keeping the top 10 day-two anglers in the marina until the remaining 131 boats had weighed their fish. The initial number of anglers was 142, but a pro had motor problems and was unable to fish the final day, and another AAA came down with the flu.)
John Perkins, along with his AAA, Carl Limbrick Jr., managed a 10.41-pound limit (including a 4.56-pound bass for the co-angler), which knocked Bailey from the hot seat. Then it was Ben Byrd’s turn to take a seat, as his 8.06 pounds earned him the coveted position until Aaron Leon arrived at the scale with 8.87 pounds.
CLIFFORD PIRCH AND RUSTY BROWN watch the electronic scale display as it falls at 10.82 for Brown’s day-three bag; thus removing Pirch from his, er, perch.
As the musical chair game progressed, the day-two top-10 pros continued to accumulate in the marina. “From what we’ve heard,” said WON BASS Director of Operations, Billy Egan, to the capacity crowd on-hand, “seven or eight of the top-10 pros have great bags. This is going to be exciting, folks!”
When Justin Hanold weighed an unbelievable 13.69-pound bag, the excitement truly began to build. His co-angler, Brian Day, had one of the biggest bass of the tournament… a 4.58 pounder. Needless to say, Hanold knocked Leon from his hot seat perch.
Legendary angler Rick Clunn came out of nowhere to weigh a 12.92-pound bag, but his weights of 1.25 and 4.82 pounds on days one and two, respectively, diminished the impressiveness of his day-three limit. His co-angler, Larry Johnson, however, did manage a quality 4.59-pound bass, which would ultimately be worth $1,000 in big-fish money. What happened next couldn’t have been predicted by even the best Vegas statisticians…
Hanold remained in the hot seat for at least a half-hour; to him, more likely an eternity. Angler after angler weighed in, but none could trump his weight. Then, two-time U.S. Open Champion and 2012 second-place pro, Clifford Pirch, arrived at the scale.
BRETT HITE’S 9.03 pounds wasn’t enough to dethrone Brown, and thus, the 2013 U.S. Open officially had its champion.
For lack of a better description, Pirch’s limit, especially for Mead, was unfathomable. In fact (and although it’s yet to be officially confirmed, as it requires scouring through 31 years of records), it may prove to be the largest single-day limit ever weighed during a WON BASS U.S. Open.
Pirch needed 13-plus pounds to tale the lead. Now, considering the heaviest bag of the event thus far was Hanold’s 13.69, that, in and of itself, seemed near impossible. When the scale settled, however, the crowd, and even Pirch himself, was in disbelief. The numbers read “15.48”; Pirch obliterating Hanold’s behemoth bag and taking the lead with only a handful of anglers left to weigh. History was repeating itself, as Pirch found himself in the exact same position, literally, as last year when he barely lost to Sean Stafford.
Devin McDonald fell short. Chris Bozarth fell short. John Murray and even Gary Dobyns couldn’t dethrone Pirch. One by one the anglers weighed, and yet Pirch remained. With two anglers still to weigh in, Rusty Brown stepped up to the scale.
Rumors had been flying about the crowd that Brown had a good limit. Even Egan himself said, “We’ve heard Rusty’s got a good bag, folks.” With the anticipation building to a near-explosive level, Tournament Director Bill Cook placed Brown’s bag on the scale. He needed 9.98 to take the lead. The numbers flickered and fluttered. The crowd sat with bated breath. “Ten point eight two!” Billy bellowed into the microphone as the crowd erupted in applause.
This time there was no hot seat taken. Brown paced nervously about the stage and the crowd remained on its feet as the lone remaining angler with the ability to take the title handed over what had already been determined was indeed a 5-fish limit.
Brett Hite needed 10.2 pounds to best Brown and be crowned the 2013 WON BASS U.S. Open champion. When the scale settled at 9.03, a champion was indeed crowned… His name was Rusty Brown.
Rounding out the top five pros at this year’s Open were Clifford Pirch with 30.32 pounds, Brett Hite with 30.09 pounds, Justin Hanold with 29.66 pounds, and Tommy Jonovich with 29.62.
On the AAA side, it was Merlin Nunes laying claim to a 2013 U.S. Open victory.
WON BASS would like to thank all of our 2013 U.S. Open anglers and sponsors, for, without you, this event would cease to even exist, let alone be the worldwide sensation it has become. A special thanks goes out to Dave Rush and Mark Jeffries of basszone.com, and Dan O’Sullivan of advancedangler.com for making possible the live broadcast of the event thanks to Costa sunglasses.
For a full rundown of this year’s Open, be sure to check out next month’s WON BASS supplement.
The U.S. Open never ceases to be a nail biter
The first one to go into the Costa Hot Seat was Havasu pro John Perkins, thanks to a 4.56 lb big fish caught by his co-angler Carl Limbrick jr.
Shortly afterwards he was replaced in the Costa Hot Seat by Justin Hanold, who stayed there for much of the weigh-in.
At the end the top ten anglers were held back to weigh in and see if they can knock Justin out of the hot seat, so we'll have to watch. It can all be seen on the live webcast on wonbass.com. You can also watch the awards show tonight at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 11 Update
Much to the chagrin of some Open anglers, cloud cover remains
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Well folks, this is it… the final day of the 2013 U.S. Open, and anglers are currently contending with nearly-identical conditions to the past two days of the tournament.
CLOUDS AND RAIN remained as anglers launched their boats this morning into Callville Bay Marina for the third and final day of the 2013 WON BASS U.S. Open.
At yesterday’s weigh-ins, a number of anglers were commenting about the cloud cover and how Mead’s bass seem to prefer sunshine and bluebird skies. Many were hoping to see such conditions today, but no such luck… cloud cover and light rain remained. The weather forecast is calling for scattered thunderstorm activity, but thus far, the most severe weather systems seem to be blowing through just as or immediately after the weigh-ins wrap. Hopefully, that will be the case today, as well; as yesterday’s storm cell was indeed intense.
As has been the case for the past two days, the first flight of boats is due back at the dock at 2 p.m. Brett Hite will likely be the first angler in the “Costa hot seat” (depending upon when he weighs in), but that may change as the weigh-in progresses… ultimately crowning the 2013 WON BASS U.S. Open champion.
Wednesday, Sept. 11 Update (morning)
U.S. Open is one of the defining tournaments of any bass fishing circuit
BY BRADLEY SCHWEIT
WON BASS Editor
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — While there are indeed a multitude of reasons the U.S. Open is one of the defining tournaments of any bass fishing circuit, anywhere in the world, the focal point of the Open, and that which truly separates anglers from champions, is the tournament’s three-day format on what is arguably one of the toughest fisheries — Lake Mead.
Well, true to form, this year’s Open is going to go down to the wire, and after today’s competition, there are likely to be a number of anglers in the “Costa hot seat” tomorrow afternoon.
BRETT HITE WEIGHED in 10.25 pounds to take the lead going into the final day of the tournament.
Day two began with Todd Herman in first, Michael Caruso in second, Gary Dobyns in third, Tommy Jonovich in fourth, and Gary Robbins rounding out the top five. When the dust settled (literally, I might add, as the final flight of day-two anglers were weighing fish in 50-plus-mph winds), only two of those five names would remain the same.
As was the case during the first day of competition, breaking the 10-pound barrier proved to be a difficult endeavor. The first angler to do so was Joe Uribe Jr., whose 11.66 pounds — the heaviest bag of day-two competition — would bump him into third going into the final day of competition.
Rusty Brown added to his day-one 10.27 pounds with another almost identical bag of 10.17. His 20.44-pound total has him in the second-place slot, behind only Brett Hite, whose 10.25 pounds of fish moved him from sixth up to the pole position with a total of 21.06.
RUSTY BROWN AND co-angler Andrew Martin, managed a day-two weight of 10.17 pounds, good for a second-place slot.
Tommy Jonovich maintained his fourth-place spot with an additional 9.09 pounds, bringing his two-day weight to 20.18 pounds.
Day-one leader, Todd Herman, just couldn’t get his reserve spots to produce and managed only 5 fish for 6.2 pounds. “The stuff I found during pre-fish…” Herman said, “I think I tore it up.” As a result, he fell from first to fifth overall.
Looking at the top 10, even top 20, an experienced statistician would be hard pressed to create legitimate odds for who is most likely to emerge the victor in this tournament. There’s just so much opportunity for astronomical success or catastrophic failure. A gargantuan leap at Mead is entirely within the realm of possibility; however, a placement plummet is just as likely.
JOE URIBE JR. holds up a pair of fish which helped anchor his second-day 11.66-pound bag. He’s in third place going into day three.
For instance, San Diego’s Scott Wingo had a mere .94 pounds on day one, but seemingly out of nowhere he arrived at the scales on day two with the second heaviest bag of the day — 11.18 pounds, including a big fish of 3.35. Now, while his second-day success will likely prove too little, too late, it nevertheless launched him from near dead-last to well above the middle of the pack. Another similar bag on day three would almost certainly place him “in the money.”
And let’s not discount Bridgford pro Randy Blaukat of Joplin, MO. Not only did he have the day-two big bass of 4.6 pounds, but that fish also solidified a 10.6-pound limit which landed him in 11th place. To put things into perspective, he was in 45th after day one.
But that’s how it goes in this tournament; that’s the appeal. You don’t have to be a seasoned pro or household name to step up and beat the best of the best. Sure, it’s going to take three days of 5-fish limits; and your chances of success are exponentially higher if those limits are in the 10-plus-pound range. But, as you can see from the anglers above, continually improving upon what may have initially seemed to be a sub-par day on the water is just as likely to create a champion as anything else.
THE BIGGEST DAY-TWO BASS was this 4.11-pound largemouth, landed by Bridgford pro Randy Blaukat. He’s in 11th place going into the last day of the tournament.
Overall day-two action was on par with the previous afternoon. Double-digit limits were few and far between, and “big fish” were in the 3½- to 4-pound range. Most limits averaged around 6 pounds, however, there were a few standouts. Thus far, it’s taken just over 9 pounds a day to crack the top 10, so anyone landing a limit in that size range tomorrow essentially has a shot at angling stardom.
As it stands going into the third, and final day of the 2013 U.S. Open, these are your top 10 pros:
1) Brett Hite, 21.06 pounds
2) Rusty Brown, 20.44 pounds
3) Joe Uribe Jr., 20.59 pounds
4) Tommy Jonovich, 20.38 pounds
5) Todd Herman, 19.42 pounds
6) Jamie Cyphers, 19.12 pounds
7) Gary Dobyns, 18.61 pounds
8) John Murray, 18.51 pounds
9) Chris Bozarth, 18.27 pounds
10) Devin McDonald, 18.13 pounds
Of those ten anglers, two are past Open champions — Dobyns and Murray — and there’s enough talent in that group alone to fill Mead itself. But there are 132 additional pros gunning for the title, so you can bet it’s going to be nothing short of a photo finish.
On the AAA side, here are the top 10 co anglers:
1) Scott Palumbo, 20.98 pounds
2) Robert Jeannotte, 20.47 pounds
3) Ronald Cross, 19.38 pounds
4) Mike Hyland, 19.01 pounds
5) Charles Fleisher, 19 pounds
6) Marty Rolph, 18.48 pounds
7) Mark Dalton, 18.37 pounds
8) Chris Beverly, 18.10 pounds
9) Shannon Henry, 17.82 pounds
10) Duane Mierop, 17.74 pounds
Mother Nature did her best to throw a wrench into what has been a well-oiled WON BASS machine, as a severe monsoon-type storm slammed the area just as the final flight of anglers were weighing their fish. Wind gusts well into the 50 mph range wrought havoc with banners and live broadcast equipment, so much so, that the live feed had to be cut early for safety’s sake. Heavy rain, lightning and thunder made for an exhilarating day-two finale, but fortunately, all of the anglers were off the water and safe by the time the winds whipped Mead into a frothy white-capped lake more reminiscent of the Bering Sea than a massive landlocked desert fishery.
The storm was short-lived, however, and hopefully any similar weather will remain at bay until the conclusion of tomorrow’s weigh-in; which, for those looking to watch from home, will again be broadcast live beginning at 2 p.m. sharp.
THE SECOND BIGGEST DAY-TWO BAG belonged to Scott Wingo, who leapt from almost dead last to well above the middle of the pack.
A SEVERE MONSOON-TYPE storm blew through the weigh-in area, wreaking havoc on the banners and camera equipment.
HEAVY RAIN AND GUSTY WINDS slammed the lake just as the last flight of anglers was checking in.
Tuesday, Sept. 10 Update
2013 U.S. Open - Largest Field Since 2006
All heck broke lose in a matter of a few minutes near the end of the day 2 weigh-in. Throughout the Costa Live weigh-in, WON BASS Tournament Director Billy Egan had been talking to the US OPEN anglers about the tough conditions and fishing. The skies had been overcast, and relatively cool for Lake Mead. Then just a bit of breeze came up and about a minute later Billy mentioned something about "here comes the wind" and "pooof" the Costa broadcast went dead.
Just like on day 1 a storm rolls in near the end of the weigh-in on day 2.
As it turns out the broadcast was turned off intentionally when the wind suddenly gusted to 50mph and rain started, and many of the banners got torn loose. But fortunately the storm veered off a bit and things calmed down and the last of the weigh-in was finished just fine.
The storm didn't keep Bridgford pro Randy Blaukat from the scales as he weighed in with today's big fish of 4.11. He weighed more than 10 today to stay in the hunt.
See all the standing in just a bit at www.wonbass.com and also the live webs broadcast at 6 p.m..
There were some questions asked about the live leaderboard. It is a part of the Costa Broadcast where today we were showing the top 5 pro's throughout the live broadcast, which can be reached at wonbass.com each day at 2pm. There was another question about this being the largest field in 6 years, which is true. We started off the tournament with 143 boats. One angler was injured during his practice and had to withdraw, and I am not sure if a AAA stepped up to pro or if we are now at 142, but in either case it is up quite a bit from recent years. The results from past US OPEN can be found in the WONBASS.com archives at http://wonbass.com/archives/index.html
Day 2 - Before the bad Weather
Bags of bass are again hitting the scales at Lake Mead on day 2 of the U.S. Open of bass fishing. Our day one leader Todd Herman was first to the scales today with a 5 fish 6.21 limit. That sort of set the stage that despite the change in weather and the brief but severe rainstorm last evening that fishing would remain tough. Some had predicted that the wind would open fishing up, especially for guys throwing the larger surface baits. You can watch the live broadcast on the weigh-in, mornings shows and evening wrap up LIVE at www.wonbass.com.
As the weigh-in moved along other former US OPEN champions had tough day on day 2 as well. Gary Dobyns weighed in 7.22-lbs and Byron Velvick weighed in with 8.09-lbs. These are actually good weights this year, but you tend to expect these legends to hit it out of the park every time. It only proves how tough Lake Mead can get this time of year. A lot of anglers report catching a lot of small fish, short of the 13-inch limit. Many others just say it's tough.
Brett Hite came in with another bag in the 10-lb range and took over the day 2 lead position. That sort of consistency will make him tough to beat if he can do it again on day 3.
TOMMY JONOVICH WEIGHED weighed 9.09-lbs to remain up near the lead on day 2.
One of our local SoCal big bass legends Rusty Brown weighed in 10.17 today to stay in the unofficial early lead after 2 days ! Still a lot of boats to weigh in so this may not hold up for the day but anyone in contention at this point is feeling good.
FIRST DAY LEADER Todd Herman came in with only 6.21-lbs, but good enough to stay in the hunt.
JOE URIBE COMES comes up huge on day with 11.22-lbs.
Monday, Sept. 9 Update
Cloudy skies and light rain greet
Open anglers on day two
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The second day of the WON BASS U.S. Open just got underway, and it looks as though anglers will have to contend with a bit of rain throughout the afternoon.
CLOUD COVER AND LIGHT RAIN will likely be present throughout the second day of the Open. How that will impact the bite — positively or negatively — remains to be seen.
A massive storm cell moved into the area yesterday evening, just after the day-one weigh-ins wrapped. The monsoon-like conditions included heavy rain, gusty winds and thunder and lightning. Fortunately, the storm dissipated by the time most everyone went to sleep last night; however, light rains and clouds were lingering this morning.
This is what the leaderboard looks like going into day two:
Top five pros:
1) Todd Herman, 13.22 pounds
2) Michael Caruso, 11.77 pounds
3) Gary Dobyns, 11.36 pounds
4) Tommy Jonovich, 11.29 pounds
5) Gary Robbins, 10.91 pounds
Top 5 AAA’s:
1) Mike Hyland
2) Robert Jeannotte
3) Michael Bidak
4) Doug Delgado
5) Charles Fleisher
Today’s weigh-in starts at 2 p.m. when the first flight of boats is scheduled to arrive at the Callville Bay Marina. Keep your browser pointed here for up-to-the-minute results and news thanks to the live broadcast brought to you by Costa sunglasses.
DAY ONE LEADER, TODD HERMAN, far left, awaits the commencement of the National Anthem to hit the water first on day two, as he was the final angler to weigh in the previous afternoon.
Mead serves up humble pie aplenty
at day one of the U.S. Open
As is oftentimes the case, however, while most dined, a handful shined
BY BRADLEY SCHWEIT
WON BASS Editor
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — To classify day one of the 2013 U.S. Open as “tough,” would be akin to saying the summertime weather in Vegas is “a tad on the warm side.” “Brutal” seemed to be the most common adjective being tossed around at the weigh-in, as few anglers managed 5-fish limits, let alone a bag reaching the double-digit mark.
As always seems to be the case on Lake Mead, however, for every 50 anglers who either can’t find the fish or the quality, there are always a handful who do.
IN FIRST PLACE AFTER DAY ONE is Todd Herman. Together with his AAA, Mike Hyland, the duo had an impressive 5-fish, 13.22-pound limit.
Such was certainly the scenario on the first day of this year’s Open, with most of the 142-boat field averaging 3- to 4-fish bags weighing around the 6-pound mark. Pro Tony Lain most adequately and humorously summed up the day’s action with the statement, “Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield… I’m the bug.”
ROUNDING OUT THE top three pros was past Open champion, Gary Dobyns. He and his AAA, Michael Bidak, had 5 fish for 11.36 pounds.
It wasn’t a lack of fish that made day one difficult for most of the anglers; it was finding keepers and “kicker fish.” Most everyone reported multiple-fish days on a variety of baits, but getting on the big-fish spots proved to be a tall order.
THE BIGGEST BASS of day one was this 5.08-pound largemouth, which anchored pro Michael Caruso’s 11.77-pound bag, good for second place.
“We caught 50 fish today on reaction baits,” said three-time Open champion, Aaron Martens. “We just caught little ones all day.” Along with his AAA, Tim Wells Sr., the team had 5 fish for 7.01 pounds.
There were those, however, who did manage to stumble on the better bass. One of the first to weigh in a sizeable sack was Morizu Shimizu, who had a limit of fish weighing 10.26 pounds, which included a 3.16-pound smallmouth. Next up in the double-digit department was Brett Hite with 5 fish for 10.81 pounds. His lead was short-lived, however, as not long thereafter did Tommy Jonovich bring an 11.29-pound bag to the scale.
“It was my best day ever on Mead,” Jonovich said. “We [he and his AAA Doug Delgado] culled four times.”
That limit prompted both WON BASS Director of Operations, Billy Egan, and Tournament Director Bill Cook to speculate that there would indeed be a 12-pound bag brought to the scale before the day was done.
Rusty Brown came close with a 10.27-pound limit, but Gary Robbins bested that mark with 10.91 pounds. “We had to grind it out,” Robbins said of he and his AAA, Charles Fleisher’s, limit.
Like many Open favorites, last year’s champ Sean Stafford fell short of the double-digit mark, as he and his co, “Crazy” Rick Melead, had a mere 6.13 pounds for their day’s efforts.
One past Open champion who did deliver was Gary Dobyns, whose 11.36 pounds was good for a day-one third-place finish, along with his AAA, Michael Bidak.
Shaun Bailey and Chris Bozarth had near back-to-back quality bags, with 10.13 and 10.54 pounds, respectively.
It wasn’t until the very last angler to launch on day one — number 142, Todd Herman; and thus, the final angler to weigh in — did Egan and Cook’s prediction of a 12-pound limit ultimately come to fruition.
“We just got word that our last boat of the day has quite a bag!” Egan enthusiastically remarked to the crowd as Herman prepared to make his way to the scale.
And once the scale settled at an impressive 13.22 pounds, it became official: Egan and Cook were both correct in their hypothesis, and the U.S. Open had a new tournament leader.
“I basically fished where the baitfish were,” Herman said of his first day’s approach. “I’m going after those areas a little bit different than everyone else. I’m still doing a drop-shot, but it’s a special technique. There’s another guy out there doing the same thing; something you wouldn’t do here at Lake Mead very often.”
Herman spent the nine days prior to the tournament pre-fishing and scouring Lake Mead for locations that were holding better-quality fish. “In practice, you get to look at a lot of places,” he said. “You find one spot and may go 6 hours before finding another. You can fish a thousand places and all of a sudden find the right place.”
For the Open Herman said, he’s got about five different locations to target. He burned up two of them on day one. He plans to fish the other three on day two, and will hopefully have a solid weight going into the final day of the tournament.
“I’ll be fishing by the seat of my pants and going to where I’ve gotten good bites,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of things going right now and hopefully it pans out.”
Included in Herman’s limit was a 4.49-pound largemouth; the second largest day-one fish on the pro side. The first day’s big-fish honors went to Michael Caruso, whose 5.08-pound kicker anchored his 11.77-pound second-place limit.
Action resumes Tuesday morning at sunrise and weigh-ins will once again commence at 2 p.m., when the first flight of boats is due back at the dock.
Just as the day was about to end, as as the sun was being replaced by thunderclouds, Todd Herman came to the scales and dropped 13.22-lbs on the scales. The Nitro Z-9 / Mercury pro has about a 2-lb lead on day one, but with fishing being tough and conditions looking like they are about to change it's going to be nervous time for anyone with the lead. But since the day's big stringer each day gets a $2,000 check to both the pro and the co-angler, I think he's willing to take the heat.
BASS FISHING SUPERSTAR Aaron Marten weighs in 5 bass for a 7-lbs limit.
GARY DOBYN'S SHOWS he still knows how to fish Lake Mead better than most with his 11.36-lbs bag and a nice 3.5 or so lb big bass. Gary stated that this year it would only take about 30-lbs to win, so he must feel pretty confident as he is above that pace. That was said before Herman weighed his day one big stringer.
JUST BEFORE THE weigh-in starts. Lake Mead appears calm today, but things can change quickly on this giant body of water.
ONE OF THE to weigh in today was Morizu Shimizu who had 10.26-lbs, and the first 10-pound bag of the day.
JOHN MURRAY, TWO time past winner of the U.S. Open, weighed in early and thought he had a bad day, but his five fish bag weighing 8.67-lbs is actually up near the top.
NITRO PRO STAFFER Shane Moline talks with Tournament Director Billy Egan, after a tough first day at the U.S. Open.
The Morning Launch
Day one of the 2013 U.S. Open is officially underway, as 142 Pros and AAA’s took to Lake Mead’s Callville Bay Marina this morning under cloudy (and slightly rainy) skies.
ANGLERS OBSERVE A moment of silence during the playing of the National Anthem.
2012 OPEN CHAMPION, Sean Stafford, gets ready to tackle day one.
RICK CLUNN HEADS out for the morning with his AAA.
THE MORNING LAUNCH was met with cloud cover, a bit of rain, and not a lick of wind; which is rather unusual for Mead.
THREE-TIME OPEN CHAMPION, Aaron Martens, prepares to gun it after leaving Callville Bay Marina.
While rain may have been falling intermittently, what was not present for this morning’s launch was the notorious wind, which is essentially a given most any day on Mead. Today, however, such was not the case, as the lake surface was grease calm and air temps hovered right around the 80-degree mark.
Following the presentation of the colors and National Anthem, WON BASS Director of Operations, Billy Egan, along with Tournament Director Bill Cook, set about releasing all 142 anglers to fish, one by one. The blast-off went smoothly, and by 6:15, the Callville Bay Marina was empty… only to be filled once again come 2 p.m. as the first flight of anglers arrives at the weigh station.
The Rules Meeting and Draw
Last Night at 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. the Costa ( Sunglasses ) Live Webcast kicked off the first of many live shows on the web. The link is on wonbass.com, along with all the daily results. WON BASS tournament director Billy Egan hosted the evening with interviews of Aaron Martens and Mike Folkestad.
The meeting was in the hotel main, large meeting room called the Railroad Room, which was packed with anglers waiting to see who they would be matched up with on day one. Meanwhile the huge hotel crowd just outside the windows in the Boulder Station Casino and the sports bar was rocking to the first day of NFL football and the big Sunday night game.
BILL COOK DID a great job in going over the rules and the draw went quickly. So we are off to a great start.
Sponsor Showcase is Rocking
Once again Mercury proves that the good guys wear and run Black! Mercury's West Coast Tournament Support God Mark Nicolette stands next to a mountain of DFI oil and Merc hats. EVERY pro in attendance will be receiving a gallon of oil during today's Sponsors Showcase which kicks off at 2:00 PM. Mark hasn't missed a single Open and has been on call helping anglers - regardless of their motor brand, since the first Open!
DAIWA'S MARKETING MANAGER Curt Arakawa with Pro Chester Baxter explaining the new For 2014 Tatula reels.
SEAGUAR'S GERRY BENEDICTO with Pro Angler Johnny Johnson. EVERY angler in attendance is receiving a spool of Seaguar's 6lb. Invizx! There will be some bonus packs of flouro awarded as drawings. What a great sponsor!
SPONSORS SHOWCASE HAS a sponor this year and it's Adoption Awareness. It's an off day with no fishing, and it's also the first Sunday of the NFL season, so everyone is in a festive mood. It starts off as a line and then just turns into a bass fishing mixer. The line forms, but there is no rush as everyone will get their swag, and Adoption Awareness is providing a few cold beers, or soda, while you wait and talk with the other anglers.
PRO ERIC DAY with Alan Bridgford of Bridgford foods. The snack food king is a new sponsor this year providing premium beef jerky for all of our anglers.
PRO TOM WENNERLUND with the ladies from Star Tron, Angela Wyman and Doty Hall. Every angler in attendance is receiving a bottle of Star Tron's premium fuel treatment.
Lights, Camera and Action... This years U.S. Open has it all. A large field with most of the best desert lake anglers, heat, wind, rain, a huge treasure chest of prizes and cash to award, and a lot of new sponsors and new anglers. So it's time to get the party started.
We had some interesting weather the last couple days, which is not uncommon this time of year. The tropical storms and hurricanes down south push up into the southwest this time of year, and when they mix with the desert heat you get some amazing weather. Dealing with the grueling heat one day or minute and then to have winds and driving rain come up quickly is just one of the things that separates the OPEN from others. Many call it the Iditorade of bass fishing.
The sponsors participation has really been a big story leading up to this years U.S. Open. There are numerous new sponsors and new prizes and awards, which will be detailed on www.wonbass.com, but it's worth mentioning some of the new things for this year. First there is a painting by the famous bass artist Allison Shaw, who is creating his version of the start from Calville Bay at Lake Mead. What angler wouldn't want this momento from the 2013 U.S. Open.
And just this morning, Lowrance jumped in with both feet and hands and gave us literally the largest electronics prize in U.S. Open history. This $4,300.00 unit is a 12-inch touch screen monster, loaded with all the newest bells and whistles that make their units the leader in bass fishing sonar and electronics.
Then of course we have the really big guns at the U.S. Open, our title sponsors. Costa sunglasses is again presenting the U.S. Open live webcast, morning shows and evening wrap-up. All of this is available on WONBASS.com starting Sunday evening at 6PM with the world famous U.S. Open sponsors showcase.
This tournament kickoff party is our Sponsor Showcase and is the venue for the anglers to mix with each other and our sponsors, the night before competition begins. The swag is rolling, as is the tournament smack talk, nerves and a few cocktails ( Provided courtesy of our new sponsor Adoption Awareness).
Nitro and Mercury are the U.S. Open title sponors and provide an incredible Z-8 Nitro boat, coupled with a Mercury 200 HP Optimax to go along with all the first place cash on the Pro side. On the AAA side the winner will also get a Snug Top camper shell this year which is another new award. There is much, much more and it will all be up on WON BASS as we get this started and on the live broadcast. But check out this US OPEN boat we are awarding.