Randy Howell Leads Day One Elite St. Johns

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

courtesy B.A.S.S.

Elite Series St. Johns Day One Leader Randy Howell - photo by Seigo Saito - Bassmaster

Elite Series St. Johns Day One Leader Randy Howell – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

PALATKA, Fla. — Randy Howell, the 2014 Bassmaster Classic winner, often says that professional bass fishing is a humbling sport.

He ate a piece of that bitter pie last week at the Bassmaster Elite Series season opener in Georgia on Lake Seminole, where he finished close to the bottom of the field. But this week, after a hop to Florida for the next event, Howell “The Champ” shined through.

With 27 pounds, 3 ounces, Howell led the field Thursday in the first of four days of Elite competition on the St. Johns River. He was 3 pounds, 2 ounces ahead of Davy Hite and Marty Robinson, who tied for second place with 24-1.

Fourth place was marked at 22-6 by Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., following up in style on his Top 12 finish in Georgia. Fifth place at the St. Johns event was taken with the 22-1 bag brought in by Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas — another Top 12 finisher on Seminole.

The Elite pros are competing on the St. Johns for a first-place prize of $100,000 and an instant entry into the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.

Howell credited his 27-3 to good decision making while sight fishing on Lake George, one of the river system’s most prolific and well-known bedding areas for largemouth bass.

“Late in the day in Florida, they always move up, and I’m usually the guy who leaves at the wrong time. And somebody catches them after I leave. Today I made the decision to stay,” said Howell, who is from Springville, Ala.

“At Seminole, I was boat 100, and I let that affect me mentally,” he said. “I gave up on all my sight fishing spots I’d practiced on because so many boats were there and went out looking for offshore fish and didn’t find them.

“That helped me this week. I know I still have to do the right stuff to put fish on the scale, still try to win. It made me be smarter, not take a lot of risks,” Howell said.

A 7-15 was Howell’s largest bass; a 2 1/2-pounder was his smallest of the day. He said he had tried to trade in the smallest so he could meet or exceed his final-day, take-me-to-the-trophy bag at the Classic of 29-2, his personal best.

Like Howell, Robinson was catching spawning bass on Lake George, but he didn’t start out that way.

“I tried to ‘go fishing’ this morning,” said the Lyman, S.C., pro, meaning he wasn’t targeting bass on beds. “I thought maybe I could catch a limit. It didn’t work out with the slick-water conditions this morning, so I went sight fishing.”

Hite also found success sight fishing on Lake George. The 1999 Classic champ and two-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year from Ninety Six, S.C., Hite got the day’s largest bass from the lake. It was a 10-2, setting the bar for the Carhartt Big Bass Award of the event.

Hite first threw a floating worm to the 10-2, and it hit, but he wasn’t able to connect. Another cast with a creature bait did the trick.

It was the magic kicker that all the Elite pros are trying to land to offset some of the smaller male largemouth they’re hooking into in spawning areas.

The full field of 108 pros will compete Friday. Takeoff is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. from Palatka’s Riverfront Park. The weigh-in, at the same location, will begin at 4 p.m.

The Bassmaster Elite Series Expo will open at noon Saturday and Sunday. The local host will present a full slate of fan fun, kicking off at 6 p.m. Friday with a street party, outdoor movies and food vendors.

There’s no admission charge to any Bassmaster event.

ESPN2 will air coverage of the St. Johns River event on The Bassmasters, Sunday, April 6, at 8 a.m. ET. A reair is scheduled for Sunday, April 13, also at 8 a.m. ET. Fans can catch the episode again on The Outdoor Channel on May 19.

Local Host: Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Booyah, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Plano, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. 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 presented by Allstate, B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

2014 Bassmaster Elite Series St. John River 3/20-3/23
St. Johns River, Palatka  FL.
Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts

1.  Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  27-03  100
Day 1: 5   27-03
2.  Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  24-01   99
Day 1: 5   24-01
2.  Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  24-01   99
Day 1: 5   24-01
4.  Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  22-06   97
Day 1: 5   22-06
5.  Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  22-01   96
Day 1: 5   22-01
6.  Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  21-06   95
Day 1: 5   21-06
7.  Mike Kernan            Wylie, TX                5  20-14   94
Day 1: 5   20-14
8.  John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  20-13   93
Day 1: 5   20-13
9.  Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  20-09   92
Day 1: 5   20-09
10. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  20-05   91
Day 1: 5   20-05
11. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  20-02   90
Day 1: 5   20-02
12. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  19-12   89
Day 1: 5   19-12
13. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  19-05   88
Day 1: 5   19-05
14. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  18-15   87
Day 1: 5   18-15
15. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  18-11   86
Day 1: 5   18-11
16. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  18-09   85
Day 1: 5   18-09
17. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  18-03   84
Day 1: 5   18-03
18. Randall Tharp          Port Saint Joe, FL       5  18-02   83
Day 1: 5   18-02
19. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  18-01   82
Day 1: 5   18-01
20. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  17-15   81
Day 1: 5   17-15
21. Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                5  17-14   80
Day 1: 5   17-14
22. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  17-11   79
Day 1: 5   17-11
23. Jamie Horton           Centerville, AL          5  17-09   78
Day 1: 5   17-09
24. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               5  17-02   77
Day 1: 5   17-02
25. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           5  17-00   76
Day 1: 5   17-00
26. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  16-15   75
Day 1: 5   16-15
27. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  16-12   74
Day 1: 5   16-12
28. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  16-10   73
Day 1: 5   16-10
29. Matt Herren            Trussville, AL           5  16-03   72
Day 1: 5   16-03
30. Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX               5  16-02   71
Day 1: 5   16-02
31. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  15-12   70
Day 1: 5   15-12
32. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               5  15-06   69
Day 1: 5   15-06
33. Glenn Browne           Ocala, FL                5  15-04   68
Day 1: 5   15-04
34. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         5  15-01   67
Day 1: 5   15-01
35. David Smith            Del City, OK             5  15-00   66
Day 1: 5   15-00
36. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL             5  14-13   65
Day 1: 5   14-13
37. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  14-12   64
Day 1: 5   14-12
38. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  14-11   63
Day 1: 5   14-11
38. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               5  14-11   63
Day 1: 5   14-11
38. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  14-11   63
Day 1: 5   14-11
41. Casey Scanlon          Shawnee Mission, KS      5  14-09   60
Day 1: 5   14-09
42. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  14-07   59
Day 1: 5   14-07
43. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  14-06   58
Day 1: 5   14-06
44. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  14-05   57
Day 1: 5   14-05
45. Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL         5  14-03   56
Day 1: 5   14-03
46. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  14-01   55
Day 1: 5   14-01
47. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         5  13-14   54
Day 1: 5   13-14
47. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  13-14   54
Day 1: 5   13-14
49. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  13-13   52
Day 1: 5   13-13
49. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  13-13   52
Day 1: 5   13-13
51. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  13-06   50
Day 1: 5   13-06
52. Michael Simonton       Fremont, OH              4  13-04   49
Day 1: 4   13-04
53. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  12-15   48
Day 1: 5   12-15
54. Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID               5  12-12   47
Day 1: 5   12-12
55. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  12-11   46
Day 1: 5   12-11
56. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  12-10   45
Day 1: 5   12-10
56. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  12-10   45
Day 1: 5   12-10
58. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  12-08   43
Day 1: 5   12-08
59. Tracy Adams            Wilkesboro, NC           5  12-07   42
Day 1: 5   12-07
60. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  12-05   41
Day 1: 5   12-05
61. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  12-04   40
Day 1: 5   12-04
62. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  12-03   39
Day 1: 5   12-03
63. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  11-15   38
Day 1: 5   11-15
64. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              4  11-15   37
Day 1: 4   11-15
65. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  11-14   36
Day 1: 5   11-14
66. Byron Velvick          Boenre, TX               5  11-12   35
Day 1: 5   11-12
67. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              5  11-11   34
Day 1: 5   11-11
68. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  11-07   33
Day 1: 5   11-07
69. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  11-06   32
Day 1: 5   11-06
70. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  11-02   31
Day 1: 5   11-02
71. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           5  11-01   30
Day 1: 5   11-01
72. Joseph Sancho          New Windsor, NY          5  11-00   29
Day 1: 5   11-00
73. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  11-00   28
Day 1: 5   11-00
74. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  10-15   27
Day 1: 5   10-15
75. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  10-14   26
Day 1: 5   10-14
76. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         3  10-13   25
Day 1: 3   10-13
77. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  10-11   24
Day 1: 5   10-11
78. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  10-09   23
Day 1: 5   10-09
79. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS              5  10-07   22
Day 1: 5   10-07
80. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  10-05   21
Day 1: 5   10-05
81. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  10-04   20
Day 1: 5   10-04
82. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  10-01   19
Day 1: 5   10-01
83. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  09-14   18
Day 1: 5   09-14
84. Boo Woods              Oneida, KY               5  09-13   17
Day 1: 5   09-13
85. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  09-10   16
Day 1: 5   09-10
85. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  09-10   16
Day 1: 5   09-10
87. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  09-08   14
Day 1: 5   09-08
88. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 5  09-07   13
Day 1: 5   09-07
89. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  09-05   12
Day 1: 5   09-05
90. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN              5  09-00   11
Day 1: 5   09-00
91. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              5  08-15   10
Day 1: 5   08-15
92. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  08-12    9
Day 1: 5   08-12
93. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            4  08-12    8
Day 1: 4   08-12
94. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          4  08-05    7
Day 1: 4   08-05
95. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  08-02    6
Day 1: 5   08-02
96. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  08-01    5
Day 1: 5   08-01
97. Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX            5  07-15    4
Day 1: 5   07-15
98. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  07-13    3
Day 1: 5   07-13
98. Jeremy Starks          Scott Depot, WV          5  07-13    3
Day 1: 5   07-13
100. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           4  07-12    1
Day 1: 4   07-12
101. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  07-04    0
Day 1: 5   07-04
102. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  07-01    0
Day 1: 5   07-01
103. BJ Haseotes            Centerville, MA          4  06-07    0
Day 1: 4   06-07
104. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                3  05-15    0
Day 1: 3   05-15
105. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                3  04-07    0
Day 1: 3   04-07
106. Trevor Romans          Plano, TX                2  01-14    0
Day 1: 2   01-14
107. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            1  01-12    0
Day 1: 1   01-12
108. Joel Baker             Talala, OK               5  01-08    0
Day 1: 5   01-08
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        97       521      1440-06
———————————-
97       521      1440-06