John Crews Leads Day One of 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series at Wheeler Lake

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

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Wheeler Lake Day One Leader John Crews - photo by Seigo Saito - Bassmaster

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Wheeler Lake Day One Leader John Crews – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

DECATUR, Ala. — By nature, fishermen can be storytellers, and the top-shelf professional anglers who make up the Bassmaster Elite Series are no exception. Before the tournament began, the vast majority of the 108-angler field claimed the three official practice days were very unproductive — if not downright difficult.

It’s standard procedure for tournament anglers to hold their cards close to their chest, especially during the days leading up to official competition. However, practice was certainly difficult for some at the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake.

Reality or a well-played bluff, all but eight anglers weighed five-fish limits of bass during the first round of competition on Wheeler. In all seriousness, effectively and consistently catching bass immediately following the spawn can be a difficult prospect as the fish are in need of recuperation. And, that is exactly what the anglers are faced with in in northwestern Alabama.

John Crews of Salem, Va., admittedly struggled to find the size bass he felt were necessary to win this tournament. Crews managed to do very well, however, weighing a limit of bass totaling 20 pounds, 7 ounces and taking the first-day lead.

“The fishing has been tough on Wheeler this week,” Crews said. “I was able to develop a couple of patterns that I thought might be productive, but I was pretty surprised to catch the quality of bass I did today.”

This is the time of year when an exciting morning bite typically occurs, but for Crews his day started out pretty slow.

“I was able to put together a limit after about an hour and a half this morning,” he said. “But it was slower than I expected. Fortunately, I found better bites later in the morning, which helped me cull out some smaller fish. I didn’t catch a bass during the afternoon that would have helped my cause. That means I need to be very productive during the morning hours on Friday.”

Crews believes bass are continuing to move into his area, which makes him confident that he can keep on the right fish during Friday’s second round of competition.

The 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic Champion Casey Ashley said he went dam to dam on Wheeler in search of the competitive pattern with few results. Regardless of his struggle, Ashley still managed to catch an impressive limit of bass on Thursday that weighed 19-12, which was good enough for second place.

“I really didn’t know what to expect after a tough practice — I know a lot of guys said they struggled, but I actually did, until today,” Ashley said, who weighed the day’s Phoenix Boats Big Bass, a 6-14 largemouth. “I was hoping to catch 13 to 14 pounds, but catching that big one really helped push me up the leaderboard.” If that bass remains the heaviest of tournament, he’ll earn an extra $1,500.

Ashley said he caught a mixed bag of bass today. Three smallmouths and two largemouth bass made up his limit, which is not uncommon in this region of the Tennessee River.

Pennsylvania angler Dave Lefebre will be leaving the dock on Friday morning in third place after capitalizing on a good pattern that produced 18-12.

“I caught some good fish today, but I struggled, like everybody else, during practice,” Lefebre said. “Earlier in the week, I had a couple of bites in the area I fished today. But, I wasn’t able to produce a pattern anywhere else, so I’m pretty much stuck with one place — although it really surprised me today.”

Lefebre has nothing to fall back on and is committed to one specific location for the remainder of the tournament. One positive, he said, is that he is fishing by himself, and believes his spot is capable of producing more solid limits of bass as the tournament advances.

After Day 1, the remaining Top 10 anglers include: Brandon Lester in fourth with 18-11, Kevin VanDam in fifth with 18-7, Josh Bertrand in sixth with 18-1, James Elam in seventh with 17-14, Boyd Ducket in eighth with 17-4, Davy Hite in ninth with 17-1 and Edwin Evers in 10th with 16-15.

A full field of 108 anglers will fish again during Friday’s second round, and will be cut to the Top 50 for Saturday’s semi-final round, with only the Top 12 advancing to Championship Sunday.

Daily takeoffs are scheduled for 6:15 a.m. ET at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Ala., with weigh-ins scheduled at the same location each afternoon at 3:15 p.m.

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, GoPro, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Shell Rotella, Shimano, Academy Sports + Outdoors, A.R.E. Truck Caps, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Power-Pole, Rapala

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), 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, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

2016 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake 4/28-5/1
Wheeler Lake, Decatur  AL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   

1.  John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  20-07  110
Day 1: 5   20-07
2.  Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  19-12  109
Day 1: 5   19-12
3.  Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 5  18-12  108
Day 1: 5   18-12
4.  Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  18-11  107
Day 1: 5   18-11
5.  Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  18-07  106
Day 1: 5   18-07
6.  Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  18-01  105
Day 1: 5   18-01
7.  James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  17-14  104
Day 1: 5   17-14
8.  Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         5  17-04  103
Day 1: 5   17-04
9.  Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  17-01  102
Day 1: 5   17-01
10. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  16-15  101
Day 1: 5   16-15
11. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  16-08  100
Day 1: 5   16-08
12. David Williams         Newton, NC               5  16-07   99
Day 1: 5   16-07
13. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  16-07   98
Day 1: 5   16-07
14. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  16-02   97
Day 1: 5   16-02
15. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  16-01   96
Day 1: 5   16-01
15. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  16-01   96
Day 1: 5   16-01
17. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        5  15-15   94
Day 1: 5   15-15
18. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  15-11   93
Day 1: 5   15-11
19. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  15-08   92
Day 1: 5   15-08
20. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  15-07   91
Day 1: 5   15-07
21. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  15-06   90
Day 1: 5   15-06
21. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  15-06   90
Day 1: 5   15-06
23. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  15-05   88
Day 1: 5   15-05
23. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  15-05   88
Day 1: 5   15-05
25. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  15-05   86
Day 1: 5   15-05
26. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  14-14   85
Day 1: 5   14-14
27. Randy Allen            Shreveport, LA           5  14-08   84
Day 1: 5   14-08
28. Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        5  14-08   83
Day 1: 5   14-08
29. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  14-07   82
Day 1: 5   14-07
30. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  14-06   81
Day 1: 5   14-06
30. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  14-06   81
Day 1: 5   14-06
32. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  14-04   79
Day 1: 5   14-04
33. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  14-04   78
Day 1: 5   14-04
34. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  14-02   77
Day 1: 5   14-02
35. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  13-15   76
Day 1: 5   13-15
36. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  13-15   75
Day 1: 5   13-15
37. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  13-14   74
Day 1: 5   13-14
38. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  13-13   73
Day 1: 5   13-13
39. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  13-10   72
Day 1: 5   13-10
40. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               5  13-10   71
Day 1: 5   13-10
41. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  13-08   70
Day 1: 5   13-08
41. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  13-08   70
Day 1: 5   13-08
43. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  13-05   68
Day 1: 5   13-05
44. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  13-04   67
Day 1: 5   13-04
45. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  13-03   66
Day 1: 5   13-03
46. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  13-01   65
Day 1: 5   13-01
47. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          5  13-00   64
Day 1: 5   13-00
48. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  12-14   63
Day 1: 5   12-14
48. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  12-14   63
Day 1: 5   12-14
50. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  12-12   61
Day 1: 5   12-12
51. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  12-08   60
Day 1: 5   12-08
52. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  12-07   59
Day 1: 5   12-07
53. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  12-02   58
Day 1: 5   12-02
54. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  12-00   57
Day 1: 5   12-00
55. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  11-12   56
Day 1: 5   11-12
56. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  11-11   55
Day 1: 5   11-11
57. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  11-10   54
Day 1: 5   11-10
57. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  11-10   54
Day 1: 5   11-10
57. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  11-10   54
Day 1: 5   11-10
60. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  11-07   51
Day 1: 5   11-07
61. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  11-06   50
Day 1: 5   11-06
62. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  11-03   49
Day 1: 5   11-03
63. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  11-02   48
Day 1: 5   11-02
64. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  11-02   47
Day 1: 5   11-02
64. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  5  11-02   47
Day 1: 5   11-02
66. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  11-00   45
Day 1: 5   11-00
67. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         5  10-15   44
Day 1: 5   10-15
68. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  10-13   43
Day 1: 5   10-13
69. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY          5  10-10   42
Day 1: 5   10-10
70. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  10-09   41
Day 1: 5   10-09
71. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  10-08   40
Day 1: 5   10-08
72. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  10-07   39
Day 1: 5   10-07
73. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  10-03   38
Day 1: 5   10-03
74. Casey Scanlon          Rocky Mount, MO          5  10-01   37
Day 1: 5   10-01
75. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  10-00   36
Day 1: 5   10-00
76. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  09-15   35
Day 1: 5   09-15
77. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  09-14   34
Day 1: 5   09-14
78. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  09-10   33
Day 1: 5   09-10
78. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  09-10   33
Day 1: 5   09-10
80. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  09-06   31
Day 1: 5   09-06
81. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  09-04   30
Day 1: 5   09-04
82. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  09-03   29
Day 1: 5   09-03
82. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  09-03   29
Day 1: 5   09-03
84. Ken Iyobe              Tokoname  Aichi JAPAN    5  09-01   27
Day 1: 5   09-01
85. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  08-14   26
Day 1: 5   08-14
85. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  08-14   26
Day 1: 5   08-14
87. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  08-09   24
Day 1: 5   08-09
88. Billy McCaghren Jr     Mayflower, AR            5  08-07   23
Day 1: 5   08-07
88. Fabian Rodriguez       Ocean City, DE           5  08-07   23
Day 1: 5   08-07
90. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          5  08-05   21
Day 1: 5   08-05
91. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  08-04   20
Day 1: 5   08-04
92. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               4  08-02   19
Day 1: 4   08-02
93. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  08-01   18
Day 1: 5   08-01
94. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            4  07-15   17
Day 1: 4   07-15
95. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  07-11   16
Day 1: 5   07-11
95. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       5  07-11   16
Day 1: 5   07-11
97. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  07-08   14
Day 1: 5   07-08
98. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           4  07-08   13
Day 1: 4   07-08
99. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  07-07   12
Day 1: 5   07-07
99. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  07-07   12
Day 1: 5   07-07
99. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  07-07   12
Day 1: 5   07-07
102. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  07-00    9
Day 1: 5   07-00
103. Jay Brainard           Enid, OK                 4  07-00    8
Day 1: 4   07-00
104. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  06-12    7
Day 1: 5   06-12
105. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           4  05-12    6
Day 1: 4   05-12
106. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        3  04-11    5
Day 1: 3   04-11
107. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          4  03-12    4
Day 1: 4   03-12
108. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              2  03-09    3
Day 1: 2   03-09
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1       100       529      1304-00
———————————-
100       529      1304-00