Rojas Leads Day One of the 2015 Bassmaster Classic
GREENVILLE, SC — 56 anglers faced the coldest day in the history of the Bassmaster Classic on Day 1 on Lake Hartwell. Frigid air temperatures were as low as 10 degrees just before takeoff at Green Pond Landing in Anderson, SC.
The temperature did not stop Elite Series pro Dean Rojas from coming to the scales with five Lake Hartwell bass that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces.
Rojas began the day with a 28-minute penalty as punishment for being 28 minutes late checking in after Wednesday’s practice period. Rojas explained to the crowd that his GPS was set to central time and he had forgotten to adjust to the eastern times zone. Even with the near ½ hour set back he finished Day 1 leading Bassmaster Elite Series pros Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., (20-2); Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, (18-8); and Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., (15-7).
“This is our biggest stage that we perform on, and to be able to catch a big bag like that on the first day is amazing,” said Rojas on the weigh-in stage. “How could you script it any better than that? Obviously, I’d rather finish it that way. But hey, I’ll take it.”
Rojas has had 12 previous appearances in the Classic without a win but if he can consistently produce limits like he weighed in today that could change by the end of this weekend.
Rojas and the other top anglers were vague about the patterns that they uncovered in the frigid water. Rojas only said, “I was just using two or three baits. Fishing shallow and deep — a little of both.”
Second Place Holder Skeet Reese
Skeet Reese also came to the scales with an impressive cold-water limit weighing 20-2, and was similarly tight-lipped about how he caught his fish. However, the B.A.S.S. media boat got close enough to photograph Reese fishing docks but reportedly asked that they not photograph the lure he was using.
The weather conditions for day two are forecast to improve slightly with an expected high of 48 degrees, leaving many of the field doubting it will improve the fishing significantly. However, the improved conditions have set the tournament schedule to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday at Green Pond Landing, giving the anglers a full day on the water.
In third place is Keith Combs with 18.8 and Brett Hite behind him in fourth with 15.7.
The 2014 champion Randy Howell holds fifth place with a bag weighing in at 15-5, and South Carolina pro and local fan favorite Casey Ashley is sixth with 15-3. All 56 anglers know that the Bassmaster Classic cannot be won on the first day but it can definitely be lost on Day 2 as the field narrows down to the top 25.
Stay tuned for more Bassmaster coverage as day two unfolds.