Jones Leading After First Day of Citrus Slam
Keying on bedding bass, Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, led with 26 pounds, 9 ounces after the first day of the Power-Pole Citrus Slam on the St. Johns River.
"I always say that the three most important things in fishing are location, location, location," Jones said. "That was certainly the case today."
He was 1 pound, 5 ounces in front of his nearest challenger, Brent Chapman of Kansas, in second with 25-4. In third was Texan Todd Faircloth with 23-10, and in fourth was South Carolina's Jason Williamson. Rounding out the top five was Tim Horton of Alabama, who had 22-4.
The 99-angler field is competing over four days for a $100,000 first prize. The winner's take also includes a 2012 Bassmaster Classic qualification. Elite anglers are also after points that count toward qualifying for the coveted 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title and 2011 postseason, a winner-take-all, $100,000 contest.
Jones' location was good, but he was sharing it. With multiple anglers working the same spawning grounds off the main St. Johns River, out-of-the-ordinary tricks were in order, Jones said.
"A lot of it is just patience, but I do have a bait that's really working well," said Jones, the 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion. "It's not like you catch a 5-pounder with it every time you throw it. It's a grind. You have to work for every one of those big bites. It's nice to have confidence in a bait."
He weighed in a 9-6 as his biggest bass, but it wasn't enough to take honors for largest of the day. That went to Williamson, who brought in a 10-3.
"That was the second biggest fish I ever caught in my life," Williamson said. "I actually lost one today that was a little bigger than she was, so I look forward to tomorrow. I think I'll have a good chance to catch her."
Chapman, also sight fishing in an area shared by 12 to 15 other Elite pros, had two anchors in his 25-4 bag. One was a 9-4 and the other was an 8-9.
The 9-4 almost came unbuttoned at the boat, but Chapman grabbed it. The 8-9 hit while he snuck a bite of a sandwich.
"All of a sudden, the rod about got jerked out of my hand," he said. "Those two fish there made a world of difference. They were typical big fish for Florida, and that's what you need here - a big one and a limit."
For more information about the Power-Pole Citrus Slam, go to www.bassmaster.com.