Matt Herren Leads Day One of Elite Series Bull Shoals / Norfork Lakes

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2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Bull Shoals - Norfork Lake Day One Leader Matt Herren - photo by Seigo Saito - Bassmaster

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Bull Shoals / Norfork Lake Day One Leader Matt Herren – photo by Seigo Saito / Bassmaster

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — Matt Herren came into this week’s Bassmaster Elite at Bull Shoals/Norfork, with a free-wheeling attitude.

“My motto for the week is just to fly by the seat of my pants,” Herren said. “Since we’re fishing two different lakes, I figure that’s all you can really do.”

So far, the strategy has worked very well.

Herren caught five bass Thursday on Norfork Lake that weighed 17 pounds and took the lead in the first-of-its-kind, two-lake Elite Series event. His catch was bolstered by a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth that bit during the final minutes.

In an unusual format, the 108 Bassmaster Elite Series anglers will divide their time between two nearby Ozarks lakes near Mountain Home. After competing today on Norfork, the full field moves to Bull Shoals for Friday’s round, after which the field is cut to 50 anglers, who will again compete on Bull Shoals. The Top 12 anglers after Saturday will return to Norfork for the final round.

Herren feels confident now as the tournament shifts to Bull Shoals Lake for the next two rounds before coming back for Championship Sunday on Norfork.

“I just had a really fortunate day,” Herren said. “I got on something early and had a good limit of fish. But with about 15 minutes left in my day, I caught a 6-1. It was kind of an out-of-the-blue fish, but I’ll take it.”

Herren was already off to a good start, with five bass that he estimated would have weighed about 14 pounds. But with the day winding down — and the next two rounds scheduled for a different lake 20 miles away — he desperately wanted to add a kicker fish.

So he decided to make a quick stop on the only place he’d seen a big bass in practice.

“I listened to that little voice that said, ‘Go do it,’” Herren joked. “I pulled in there, and it happened ‘bam’ — just that fast.”

The big fish helped Herren separate slightly from a Top 5 that includes Kentucky pro Mark Menendez with 16-12, Californian Chris Zaldain with 16-2, Alabamian Keith Poche with 15-13 and Florida pro Randall Tharp with 15-8.

Menendez said it was an early 4-pounder that sparked his good first round.

“I got a good bite this morning, and it slowed me down,” he said. “I just got really thorough in an area and managed to get three of those better-quality bites during the day.

“I caught a 4 1/4-pounder late in the day that culled a 2-pounder, and that helped a whole bunch.”

Although he said he’s all for fishing new venues, Menendez made it clear that he’s not a fan of the split format. He believes there will be an element of luck involved for whoever lands in the winner’s spot Sunday.

“I could find the winners on Norfork, not catch them at Bull Shoals, and fall completely out,” he said. “That’s an element we’ve never had to deal with.

“I’m looking at this as four separate tournaments. Each day is a one-day event, and I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth.”

On the flip side, Zaldain said the format really suits the “run-and-gun” style of fishing he prefers. He had no fear of pressuring the fish hard at Norfork on Day 1, knowing his best spots will have two days to rest before he returns.

“I fished all new water today and established a pattern with a bait I have a lot of confidence in,” Zaldain said. “It’s a winding-type bait, and I literally had a look at over 20 pounds today. I had a lot of big ones come up and push it out of the way.

“I’m really, really looking forward to getting back out there on Day 4 — hopefully.”

The tournament will continue Friday and Saturday, with take-offs at 6:15 a.m. CT from Bull Shoals Boat Dock. Sunday’s take-off will be at 6:15 a.m. from Lake Norfork Marina.

Daily weigh-ins will be held at 3:45 p.m. on the campus of Arkansas State University in Mountain Home.

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

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

About B.A.S.S.
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2016 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Norfork – Bull Shoals 4/21-4/24
Lake Norfork/Bull Shoals, Mountain Home  AR.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

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

1.  Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  17-00  110
Day 1: 5   17-00
2.  Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  16-12  109
Day 1: 5   16-12
3.  Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  16-02  108
Day 1: 5   16-02
4.  Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  15-13  107
Day 1: 5   15-13
5.  Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  15-08  106
Day 1: 5   15-08
6.  David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  14-14  105
Day 1: 5   14-14
7.  Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  14-12  104
Day 1: 5   14-12
8.  Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  14-00  103
Day 1: 5   14-00
9.  Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  13-13  102
Day 1: 5   13-13
10. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  13-12  101
Day 1: 5   13-12
11. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  13-10  100
Day 1: 5   13-10
12. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  13-07   99
Day 1: 5   13-07
13. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  13-05   98
Day 1: 5   13-05
14. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  13-04   97
Day 1: 5   13-04
15. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  12-14   96
Day 1: 5   12-14
16. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  12-13   95
Day 1: 5   12-13
16. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  12-13   95
Day 1: 5   12-13
18. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  12-10   93
Day 1: 5   12-10
18. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  12-10   93
Day 1: 5   12-10
20. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         5  12-09   91
Day 1: 5   12-09
21. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  12-08   90
Day 1: 5   12-08
22. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  12-07   89
Day 1: 5   12-07
23. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  12-06   88
Day 1: 5   12-06
24. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  12-02   87
Day 1: 5   12-02
25. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  12-00   86
Day 1: 5   12-00
26. Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        5  11-15   85
Day 1: 5   11-15
26. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  11-15   85
Day 1: 5   11-15
26. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 5  11-15   85
Day 1: 5   11-15
26. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  11-15   85
Day 1: 5   11-15
26. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  11-15   85
Day 1: 5   11-15
31. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  11-13   80
Day 1: 5   11-13
31. Casey Scanlon          Rocky Mount, MO          5  11-13   80
Day 1: 5   11-13
33. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  11-12   78
Day 1: 5   11-12
33. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  11-12   78
Day 1: 5   11-12
33. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  11-12   78
Day 1: 5   11-12
36. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  11-11   75
Day 1: 5   11-11
37. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               5  11-10   74
Day 1: 5   11-10
38. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  5  11-09   73
Day 1: 5   11-09
38. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  11-09   73
Day 1: 5   11-09
40. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  11-08   71
Day 1: 5   11-08
41. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  11-06   70
Day 1: 5   11-06
41. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  11-06   70
Day 1: 5   11-06
43. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  11-05   68
Day 1: 5   11-05
43. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  11-05   68
Day 1: 5   11-05
43. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  11-05   68
Day 1: 5   11-05
43. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  11-05   68
Day 1: 5   11-05
47. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  11-05   64
Day 1: 5   11-05
48. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  11-04   63
Day 1: 5   11-04
49. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  11-01   62
Day 1: 5   11-01
49. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  11-01   62
Day 1: 5   11-01
49. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  11-01   62
Day 1: 5   11-01
52. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  11-00   59
Day 1: 5   11-00
53. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  10-13   58
Day 1: 5   10-13
54. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  10-12   57
Day 1: 5   10-12
54. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  10-12   57
Day 1: 5   10-12
54. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       5  10-12   57
Day 1: 5   10-12
57. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  10-11   54
Day 1: 5   10-11
58. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  10-09   53
Day 1: 5   10-09
58. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  10-09   53
Day 1: 5   10-09
60. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  10-08   51
Day 1: 5   10-08
60. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  10-08   51
Day 1: 5   10-08
62. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  10-07   49
Day 1: 5   10-07
62. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  10-07   49
Day 1: 5   10-07
64. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  10-06   47
Day 1: 5   10-06
65. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  10-05   46
Day 1: 5   10-05
65. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  10-05   46
Day 1: 5   10-05
67. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  10-04   44
Day 1: 5   10-04
68. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  10-03   43
Day 1: 5   10-03
69. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         5  10-02   42
Day 1: 5   10-02
70. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  09-15   41
Day 1: 5   09-15
70. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  09-15   41
Day 1: 5   09-15
72. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  09-14   39
Day 1: 5   09-14
72. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  09-14   39
Day 1: 5   09-14
74. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  09-13   37
Day 1: 5   09-13
74. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  09-13   37
Day 1: 5   09-13
76. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  09-12   35
Day 1: 5   09-12
77. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  09-11   34
Day 1: 5   09-11
78. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  09-10   33
Day 1: 5   09-10
79. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  09-09   32
Day 1: 5   09-09
80. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  09-06   31
Day 1: 5   09-06
81. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  09-00   30
Day 1: 5   09-00
82. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  08-15   29
Day 1: 5   08-15
83. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  08-13   28
Day 1: 5   08-13
84. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY          5  08-13   27
Day 1: 5   08-13
85. Jay Brainard           Enid, OK                 5  08-11   26
Day 1: 5   08-11
86. Billy McCaghren Jr     Mayflower, AR            4  08-08   25
Day 1: 4   08-08
87. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  08-02   24
Day 1: 5   08-02
88. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         4  08-02   23
Day 1: 4   08-02
89. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              4  08-00   22
Day 1: 4   08-00
90. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          4  07-15   21
Day 1: 4   07-15
91. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           5  07-05   20
Day 1: 5   07-05
92. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        4  07-03   19
Day 1: 4   07-03
93. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  07-00   18
Day 1: 5   07-00
94. Randy Allen            Shreveport, LA           4  07-00   17
Day 1: 4   07-00
95. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              3  06-12   16
Day 1: 3   06-12
96. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                4  06-11   15
Day 1: 4   06-11
97. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         3  06-09   14
Day 1: 3   06-09
98. David Williams         Newton, NC               4  06-04   13
Day 1: 4   06-04
99. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  3  06-04   12
Day 1: 3   06-04
100. Fabian Rodriguez       Ocean City, DE           3  06-01   11
Day 1: 3   06-01
101. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            3  05-06   10
Day 1: 3   05-06
102. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               3  05-04    9
Day 1: 3   05-04
103. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          2  05-04    8
Day 1: 2   05-04
104. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          2  04-15    7
Day 1: 2   04-15
105. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           2  04-05    6
Day 1: 2   04-05
106. Ken Iyobe              Tokoname  Aichi JAPAN    2  03-15    5
Day 1: 2   03-15
107. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              1  02-04    4
Day 1: 1   02-04
108. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         1  01-15    3
Day 1: 1   01-15
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        88       500      1125-13
———————————-
88       500      1125-13