John Murray Takes Elite Alabama River Day One Lead

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Elite Series Alabama River Charge Day One Leader John Murray – photo by B.A.S.S. / Gary Tramontina

courtesy B.A.S.S.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Bassmaster Elite Series pros could have given themselves sore throats Thursday if they’d hollered every time they hooked into an Alabama River spotted bass.

Among them was John Murray. Spot-on his game, the pro from Phoenix, Ariz., brought in five spotted bass that weighed 18 pounds, 9 ounces. It was enough for the first-day lead by 5 ounces in the May 9-12 Alabama River Charge presented by Star brite out of Montgomery, Ala.

Murray has his challengers lined up for the remaining three days of competition. The first and sixth anglers on the leaderboard were separated by only 13 ounces.

Two anglers tied for second place at 18-4, both with limits of spotted bass: Paul Elias of Laurel, Miss., and Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C.

In fourth was Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., with five bass that went 17-15. Fifth was Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla. His weight was also 17-15, but with four bass that did not survive because his livewell wasn’t on, he slid one spot below Lane.

Sixth place was taken by reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., with 17-12.

Every pro but 10 in the 100-angler field brought a limit to the scales to make the Charge’s first day a showcase for the Alabama River’s healthy and aggressive population of bass. Several pros reported catching 25 to 50 spotted bass and repeatedly culling.

Murray was below average in that one way. He said he boated about 15 spots Thursday.

He started the day with two game plans, but the sun eliminated one. The second plan panned out well. He had a strong limit at 9 a.m., then culled until noon.

“I had to work hard for them. I was fishing a little deeper than most guys, I think, and I caught them early, caught them good and then backed off them early,” Murray said. “Hopefully there’s five left for tomorrow.”

One factor was crucial to success on the river.

“Current is everything,” he said.

Williamson said he caught “at least 50” spotted bass Thursday. He had to weed through them for his 18-4.

“They’re small, and you have to grind on them and hope you get three or four of the better bites,” he said.

Elias caught about 15 spots from about 10 places on the river to end up with his 18-4. The largest, he said, was about 3-14.

He’s also counting on current.

“It’s night and day difference,” he said. “Without current, it’s over for me.”

Largemouth bass showed up, too, in several anglers’ bags. Kelly Jordon of Palestine, Texas, weighed the largest bass of the day, a 6-4 bigmouth, to lead the Carhartt Big Bass competition for a $1,000 bonus plus $500 if the angler was wearing Carhartt apparel at the time of the catch.

The Alabama River Charge presented by Star brite continues Friday, when the full field of 100 will return to the river. Each is striving to make the Top 50 cut to move on to Saturday’s third round. Only the Top 12 after Saturday will compete Sunday for the $100,000 first prize plus a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

All Elite pros are earning points toward a Classic qualification and the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

Because the Charge is the fifth of eight regular-season Elite events, the AOY race is heating up. Evers, seeking his first AOY title, led the points race going into the Charge. Seven-time AOY Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., was six points behind him. The 2007 AOY, Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., was third, trailing Evers by 14 points.

Reese and VanDam are reliving the AOY races of 2009 and 2010. Reese almost had both of those titles to add to his of 2007, but VanDam took them in the 11th hour — on the Alabama River during the postseason. With the postseason no longer determining the AOY winner, there are four events remaining in 2013 — including the Charge — for Reese and VanDam to settle old scores.

At fifth place, Evers fared the best on the opening day of the Charge. Reese was 26th with 15-4. VanDam was 53rd with 12-7.

“The current slowed down a little bit in the area I have,” VanDam said. “I expect to do a lot better tomorrow.”

Fans are invited to watch how the Charge and AOY race play out this week. Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. CT at Cooter’s Pond Boat Ramp (1844 Cooter’s Pond Road, Prattville, AL 36066). Because of high water, the launch location was changed from downtown Montgomery’s Riverfront Park.

As on Thursday, the weigh-ins on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be under the Riverfront Park Union Station Train Shed (300 Water St., Montgomery, AL 36104). The weigh-ins will begin at 3:30 CT.

The Elite Series’ competition out of Montgomery marks a return to the birthplace of B.A.S.S., owner of the circuit. Ray Scott founded B.A.S.S. in 1968 in the Capitol City.

The local host of the event is the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, http://www.montgomerychamber.com.

Bassmaster.com will continue through Sunday with extensive coverage of the event.

ESPN2 will air coverage of the Alabama River Charge presented by Star brite on June 2 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET on The Bassmasters TV show.

2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury

2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Luck-E-Strike, Power-Pole, Ramada, Shimano

2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Proud Partner: Mustang Survival

About B.A.S.S.
For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com and ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, B.A.S.S. Nation events and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.

2013 Alabama Charge 5/9-5/12

Alabama River, Montgomery  AL.

(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts  

1.  John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  18-09  100

Day 1: 5   18-09

2.  Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  18-04   99

Day 1: 5   18-04

2.  Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                5  18-04   99

Day 1: 5   18-04

4.  Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL             5  17-15   97

Day 1: 5   17-15

5.  Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  17-15   96

Day 1: 5   17-15

6.  Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  17-12   95

Day 1: 5   17-12

7.  Shaw E Grigsby Jr.     Gainesville, FL          5  17-07   94

Day 1: 5   17-07

7.  Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  17-07   94

Day 1: 5   17-07

9.  Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  17-05   92

Day 1: 5   17-05

10. Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  17-00   91

Day 1: 5   17-00

10. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  17-00   91

Day 1: 5   17-00

12. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  16-11   89

Day 1: 5   16-11

13. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  16-10   88

Day 1: 5   16-10

14. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  16-06   87

Day 1: 5   16-06

14. Kevin Ledoux           Choctaw, OK              5  16-06   87

Day 1: 5   16-06

16. Casey Scanlon          Lenexa, KS               5  16-05   85

Day 1: 5   16-05

17. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  16-03   84

Day 1: 5   16-03

18. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  16-02   83

Day 1: 5   16-02

19. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  16-00   82

Day 1: 5   16-00

20. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  15-15   81

Day 1: 5   15-15

21. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  15-14   80

Day 1: 5   15-14

22. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  15-12   79

Day 1: 5   15-12

23. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  15-11   78

Day 1: 5   15-11

23. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  15-11   78

Day 1: 5   15-11

25. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  15-09   76

Day 1: 5   15-09

26. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  15-04   75

Day 1: 5   15-04

27. Hank Cherry            Maiden, NC               5  15-02   74

Day 1: 5   15-02

27. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  15-02   74

Day 1: 5   15-02

29. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  15-01   72

Day 1: 5   15-01

30. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         5  15-00   71

Day 1: 5   15-00

31. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  14-11   70

Day 1: 5   14-11

32. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  14-09   69

Day 1: 5   14-09

32. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  14-09   69

Day 1: 5   14-09

34. Jami Fralick           Martin, SD               5  14-07   67

Day 1: 5   14-07

35. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  14-03   66

Day 1: 5   14-03

36. Matt Herren            Trussville, AL           5  14-02   65

Day 1: 5   14-02

37. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  14-00   64

Day 1: 5   14-00

38. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  13-15   63

Day 1: 5   13-15

39. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  13-14   62

Day 1: 5   13-14

40. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  13-12   61

Day 1: 5   13-12

41. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  13-10   60

Day 1: 5   13-10

42. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  13-06   59

Day 1: 5   13-06

42. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  13-06   59

Day 1: 5   13-06

44. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  13-04   57

Day 1: 5   13-04

45. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               5  13-03   56

Day 1: 5   13-03

46. Boyd Duckett           Demopolis, AL            5  13-02   55

Day 1: 5   13-02

46. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  13-02   55

Day 1: 5   13-02

48. Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX            5  13-00   53

Day 1: 5   13-00

49. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  12-14   52

Day 1: 5   12-14

49. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN              5  12-14   52

Day 1: 5   12-14

51. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 5  12-10   50

Day 1: 5   12-10

52. Jeremy Starks          Scott Depot, WV          5  12-08   49

Day 1: 5   12-08

53. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  12-07   48

Day 1: 5   12-07

54. Casey D Ashley         Donalds, SC              5  12-03   47

Day 1: 5   12-03

54. John Crews             Salem, VA                5  12-03   47

Day 1: 5   12-03

54. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              5  12-03   47

Day 1: 5   12-03

57. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  12-02   44

Day 1: 5   12-02

58. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  12-01   43

Day 1: 5   12-01

59. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  11-14   42

Day 1: 5   11-14

60. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  11-09   41

Day 1: 5   11-09

61. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  11-08   40

Day 1: 5   11-08

62. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  11-07   39

Day 1: 5   11-07

63. Jamie Horton           Centerville, AL          5  11-06   38

Day 1: 5   11-06

64. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           5  11-02   37

Day 1: 5   11-02

65. Matt Greenblatt        Port St Lucie, FL        5  10-14   36

Day 1: 5   10-14

66. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  10-10   35

Day 1: 5   10-10

67. Michael Simonton       Fremont, OH              5  10-08   34

Day 1: 5   10-08

67. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  10-08   34

Day 1: 5   10-08

69. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  10-07   32

Day 1: 5   10-07

70. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  10-05   31

Day 1: 5   10-05

71. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  10-04   30

Day 1: 5   10-04

71. Timmy Horton           Muscle Shoals, AL        5  10-04   30

Day 1: 5   10-04

71. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  10-04   30

Day 1: 5   10-04

71. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  10-04   30

Day 1: 5   10-04

75. Jason Quinn            Lake Wylie, SC           5  10-01   26

Day 1: 5   10-01

76. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  09-10   25

Day 1: 5   09-10

77. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  09-08   24

Day 1: 5   09-08

78. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               5  09-06   23

Day 1: 5   09-06

79. Fletcher Shryock       Newcomerstown, OH        5  09-05   22

Day 1: 5   09-05

80. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              5  09-04   21

Day 1: 5   09-04

81. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  09-02   20

Day 1: 5   09-02

82. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  08-10   19

Day 1: 5   08-10

83. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  08-09   18

Day 1: 5   08-09

83. Clark Reehm            Shreveport, LA           5  08-09   18

Day 1: 5   08-09

85. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  08-07   16

Day 1: 5   08-07

86. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  08-06   15

Day 1: 5   08-06

86. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  08-06   15

Day 1: 5   08-06

88. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  08-03   13

Day 1: 5   08-03

89. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          3  07-11   12

Day 1: 3   07-11

90. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                4  07-03   11

Day 1: 4   07-03

91. Chip Porche            Bixby, OK                4  06-13   10

Day 1: 4   06-13

92. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              3  06-10    9

Day 1: 3   06-10

93. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  05-15    8

Day 1: 5   05-15

94. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                3  05-07    7

Day 1: 3   05-07

95. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS              5  05-00    6

Day 1: 5   05-00

96. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        3  04-15    5

Day 1: 3   04-15

97. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           4  04-07    4

Day 1: 4   04-07

98. Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX               3  03-08    3

Day 1: 3   03-08

99. BJ Haseotes            Centerville, MA          1  02-04    2

Day 1: 1   02-04

100. David Smith            Del City, OK             0  00-00    0

Day 1: 0   00-00

———————————————————————–

Totals

Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight

1        90       478      1226-03

———————————-

90       478      1226-03