Brent Ehrler Leads Day One of 2017 Elite Series Texas Fest at Sam Rayburn

MonsterTopAd
Power Pole
Strike King
Lews Fishing
Lews Fishing
Atlas Jack Plate

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Texas Fest Sam Rayburn Day One Leader Brent Ehrler – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

LUFKIN, Texas — Brent Ehrler used a strange term to describe the way he fished Sam Rayburn Reservoir during Wednesday’s first round of the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“The fish are confused,” he said. “And you have to fish confused.”

The tactic worked, as the California pro caught 25 pounds, 6 ounces of bass to take the lead in an event that features a $100,000 first-place prize and an automatic berth into the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

His five-bass catch was anchored by a 9-1 largemouth that gave him the lead in the race for Toyota Big Bass of the week. The angler who claims that title will take home a new Toyota Tundra pickup truck valued at $50,000. Total payout is $1 million.

“It’s really tricky right now,” Ehrler said. “Timing is everything. The fish are just everywhere. You go out, you go in. If it looks good, you fish it.”

As part of a catch/weigh/release format that is being used for the first time in an Elite Series event with a full field of 109 anglers, competitors were only allowed to bring one fish to the scales — and that fish had to be at least 21 inches long. The rest were weighed on the water by judges and immediately released.

At midday Wednesday, Ehrler wasn’t sure he was going to have much to show to the crowd back at the weigh-in stand. But then he tied into the 9-1 — the second 9-pounder he’s caught in a B.A.S.S. event this year.

“I was thinking about it, and I can only remember catching maybe one or two 9-pounders in my whole career on the FLW Tour,” Ehrler said. “I’ve fished the Elite Series for 2 1/2 years now, and I’ve caught three 9-pounders.”

Ehrler caught a 9-12 on the first day of this year’s Classic, which was held on another Texas fishery, Lake Conroe, in late March.

He said Wednesday’s fish may have been an isolated lunker like the one on Conroe — or it could be the sign of great things to come.

“I didn’t catch everything on one spot,” he said. “It wasn’t like I had a big school out deep, and I know I can go back and catch them again tomorrow.

“The fish are doing everything right now. I could go out and catch 10 pounds tomorrow, but I could also go out and catch 25 again.”

Ehrler’s catch was nearly a pound better than that of Idaho angler Brandon Palaniuk, who caught 24-7, despite an injury to his left shoulder suffered during practice.

Palaniuk was openly confident about his chances of duplicating his first-day catch — but not so open about the techniques he was using.

“My goal was to catch 30 pounds today,” said Palaniuk, who wore a special warming patch on his injured shoulder Wednesday. “I said I wanted to catch enough today to make the Day 3 cut.

“I had a couple of missed opportunities — and one of them, I know for sure, was a big one.”

Palaniuk caught several big fish during practice, and he said that gave him confidence going into the event. The plan he put together during practice paid off immediately.

“Today, my first fish was an 8-4,” he said. “I caught it on a place where I caught about a 9- or 10-pound fish in practice.”

In third place, just 8 ounces behind Palaniuk, is Alabama pro and 2014 Classic champion Randy Howell.

Unlike Palaniuk, Howell said his first round didn’t go quite as well as his practice.

“I’m fishing a shallow pattern, and the water is dropping a little bit,” Howell said. “So I really don’t know how sustainable the pattern is.”

After Thursday’s second round, the field will be trimmed to the Top 51 remaining anglers — and Howell should be a lock to make that cut if any portion of his pattern holds up.

“I didn’t really catch the numbers today, but I caught a couple of 5-pounders and a 6-pounder,” he said. “A 6-pounder is probably about the biggest fish I can catch for what I’m doing.”

The Top 51 will fish Friday’s semifinal round, and the field will take a break Saturday for a special fan appreciation day that will feature seminars, a Toyota ride-and-drive course, boat demos and an outdoors expo featuring a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adventure zone. Beginning Friday, a special Get Hooked On Fishing experience will be open to teach youngsters about recreational fishing. Hundreds of Lufkin area schoolchildren are expected to attend.

Only the Top 12 remaining anglers will compete on Championship Sunday.

Daily takeoffs will be at 7 a.m. CT at Cassels-Boykin Park in Zavalla, Texas. The weigh-ins will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the George H. Henderson Jr. Expo Center in Lufkin.

The event is hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau.
 
2017 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Platinum and Title Sponsor: Toyota

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Shell Rotella, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, Huk

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Shimano, T-H Marine, Advance Auto Parts, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures

2017 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Beneficiary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2017 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 5/17-5/21
Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Lufkin  TX.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        5  25-06  110
Day 1: 5   25-06
2.  Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID               5  24-07  109
Day 1: 5   24-07
3.  Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  23-15  108
Day 1: 5   23-15
4.  Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  23-08  107
Day 1: 5   23-08
5.  Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  23-01  106
Day 1: 5   23-01
6.  Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  22-10  105
Day 1: 5   22-10
7.  Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  22-03  104
Day 1: 5   22-03
8.  Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  21-14  103
Day 1: 5   21-14
9.  Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  21-09  102
Day 1: 5   21-09
10. Jacob Wheeler          Indianapolis, IN         5  21-07  101
Day 1: 5   21-07
11. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  21-02  100
Day 1: 5   21-02
12. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  20-15   99
Day 1: 5   20-15
13. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  20-14   98
Day 1: 5   20-14
14. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  20-13   97
Day 1: 5   20-13
15. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  20-07   96
Day 1: 5   20-07
16. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  20-06   95
Day 1: 5   20-06
17. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  20-01   94
Day 1: 5   20-01
18. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  20-00   93
Day 1: 5   20-00
19. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  19-13   92
Day 1: 5   19-13
20. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  19-11   91
Day 1: 5   19-11
21. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             5  19-09   90
Day 1: 5   19-09
22. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  19-08   89
Day 1: 5   19-08
23. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  18-15   88
Day 1: 5   18-15
24. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  18-11   87
Day 1: 5   18-11
25. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  18-09   86
Day 1: 5   18-09
26. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  18-07   85
Day 1: 5   18-07
27. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  18-05   84
Day 1: 5   18-05
27. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  18-05   84
Day 1: 5   18-05
29. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  18-03   82
Day 1: 5   18-03
30. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  17-15   81
Day 1: 5   17-15
31. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  17-12   80
Day 1: 5   17-12
32. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  17-09   79
Day 1: 5   17-09
33. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  17-08   78
Day 1: 5   17-08
33. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  17-08   78
Day 1: 5   17-08
35. Jesse Tacoronte        Orlando, FL              5  17-04   76
Day 1: 5   17-04
36. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  17-03   75
Day 1: 5   17-03
36. Mark Daniels Jr.       Tuskegee, AL             5  17-03   75
Day 1: 5   17-03
38. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  17-01   73
Day 1: 5   17-01
39. Seth Feider            Isle, MN                 5  16-14   72
Day 1: 5   16-14
40. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  16-13   71
Day 1: 5   16-13
41. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  16-11   70
Day 1: 5   16-11
42. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  16-08   69
Day 1: 5   16-08
42. Dustin Connell         Clanton, AL              5  16-08   69
Day 1: 5   16-08
44. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  16-07   67
Day 1: 5   16-07
45. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  16-06   66
Day 1: 5   16-06
46. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  16-05   65
Day 1: 5   16-05
47. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  16-02   64
Day 1: 5   16-02
48. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  16-00   63
Day 1: 5   16-00
49. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  15-13   62
Day 1: 5   15-13
50. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  15-12   61
Day 1: 5   15-12
50. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  15-12   61
Day 1: 5   15-12
50. Jesse Wiggins          Cullman, AL              5  15-12   61
Day 1: 5   15-12
53. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  15-10   58
Day 1: 5   15-10
54. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 5  15-08   57
Day 1: 5   15-08
54. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  15-08   57
Day 1: 5   15-08
56. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  15-05   55
Day 1: 5   15-05
57. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  15-03   54
Day 1: 5   15-03
57. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  15-03   54
Day 1: 5   15-03
59. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  14-15   52
Day 1: 5   14-15
60. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  14-14   51
Day 1: 5   14-14
61. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  14-12   50
Day 1: 5   14-12
62. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  14-11   49
Day 1: 5   14-11
63. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  14-10   48
Day 1: 5   14-10
63. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  14-10   48
Day 1: 5   14-10
65. David Williams         Newton, NC               5  14-09   46
Day 1: 5   14-09
66. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  14-08   45
Day 1: 5   14-08
66. Fred Roumbanis         London, AR               5  14-08   45
Day 1: 5   14-08
66. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  14-08   45
Day 1: 5   14-08
69. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       5  14-07   42
Day 1: 5   14-07
70. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  14-04   41
Day 1: 5   14-04
71. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  14-03   40
Day 1: 5   14-03
72. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  14-02   39
Day 1: 5   14-02
73. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  14-01   38
Day 1: 5   14-01
74. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  14-00   37
Day 1: 5   14-00
75. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  13-15   36
Day 1: 5   13-15
75. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  13-15   36
Day 1: 5   13-15
77. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        5  13-11   34
Day 1: 5   13-11
78. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  13-10   33
Day 1: 5   13-10
78. Gerald Spohrer         Gonzales, LA             5  13-10   33
Day 1: 5   13-10
80. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  13-09   31
Day 1: 5   13-09
81. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         5  13-08   30
Day 1: 5   13-08
82. Alton Jones Jr.        Lorena, TX               5  13-07   29
Day 1: 5   13-07
83. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  13-03   28
Day 1: 5   13-03
83. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  13-03   28
Day 1: 5   13-03
85. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  13-02   26
Day 1: 5   13-02
85. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  13-02   26
Day 1: 5   13-02
87. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          5  12-14   24
Day 1: 5   12-14
88. Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA  5  12-11   23
Day 1: 5   12-11
89. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          5  12-06   22
Day 1: 5   12-06
89. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  12-06   22
Day 1: 5   12-06
91. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  12-03   20
Day 1: 5   12-03
92. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  11-15   19
Day 1: 5   11-15
93. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  11-14   18
Day 1: 5   11-14
93. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  11-14   18
Day 1: 5   11-14
95. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  11-13   16
Day 1: 5   11-13
96. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  11-12   15
Day 1: 5   11-12
97. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY          5  11-10   14
Day 1: 5   11-10
98. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  11-09   13
Day 1: 5   11-09
99. Gary Klein             Mingus, TX               5  11-04   12
Day 1: 5   11-04
99. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  11-04   12
Day 1: 5   11-04
101. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  10-15   10
Day 1: 5   10-15
102. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  10-12    9
Day 1: 5   10-12
103. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  10-05    8
Day 1: 5   10-05
104. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  09-12    7
Day 1: 5   09-12
105. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  09-07    6
Day 1: 5   09-07
106. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           5  08-14    5
Day 1: 5   08-14
107. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  08-13    4
Day 1: 5   08-13
108. Darrell Ocamica        New Plymouth, ID         4  07-15    3
Day 1: 4   07-15
109. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  07-10    2
Day 1: 5   07-10
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1       108       544      1725-00
———————————-
108       544      1725-00