Limits are essential for success in kayak tournaments where progress is measured in inches, not ounces, but a kicker fish still separates the leaders from the rest of the pack.
Such was the case for Brady Storrs of Nebraska who leads the star-studded 50-angler field at the 2022 Hobie Bass Open Series Tournament of Champions anchored by Power-Pole on Caddo Lake outside of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Storrs caught the biggest single bass of the day, a 23.50-inch beast. He put another on the Ketch board that measured 21.75. The late cull bumped his total to 98.75 for a 2-inch lead over Brian Nelli of Florida.
Storrs said it’s “Awesome to be leading” though he’s not one to watch the live leader board on TourneyX during the day. “I’m just fishing, not paying attention to what other people are doing. I didn’t even know I was leading until I got a message from (Tournament Director) AJ (McWhorter). He said I get to be on his live cast this evening.”
Storrs got his day started right. “I was sitting in my spot waiting for lines in and I moved to accommodate another boat, so I was down further toward the end of my area. I started winding and ‘bang’ this bucket just came up out of the water! I wasn’t fully awake before that, but I was after.”
After catching his 23-and-a-half-inch fish Storrs filled out his first limit quickly. “I had my limit in 8 casts, but they kept getting smaller. The smallest was 14. I wanted everything to be over 16.
“I fished some new water. The end of the day came and this 21.75 just smokes me dude! I hadn’t had a bite in forever. That gave me a few more inches going into the cold days.”
The cold days ahead are on everybody’s collective mind. Storrs, despite being from Nebraska, doesn’t like cold weather. Still, he’s optimistic, “On any body of water, every day there are fish that are feeding and that you can catch.”
Nelli’s best fish was 21.50 inches, his total was 96.75.
While he’s as tight-lipped as the Caddo Lake bass are likely to become over the next two rounds, Nelli did say, “I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Richie McMichael is in 3rd after the opening round. He caught a limit and culled once for a total of 93 inches.
“It was a very rough morning for me,” said McMichael. “I only had a half-day to practice so I didn’t get to figure anything out. What I was doing this morning wasn’t working, I had a small limit, but I kind of adjusted and switched techniques. It paid off.
“I think it was the change of baits. They were keying in on the bait I switched to. They would only hit that one bait.”
While getting dialed-in is great, McMichael is anxious about the next two days. “It makes me nervous because of the cold front and I’m gonna have to figure that out all over again.”
McMichael says his main area is loaded and he left plenty of it for later. “I only fished 25-to-30 percent of it.”
He has company, though the area is big. “There are a couple of guys with 88 and 90 inches that are in there with me.”
McMichael feels like he didn’t hurt his chances today. “I think if I can get into the low 90’s every day, I think I can win with that.”
Calvin Dee of Illinois is 4th with 92.75 inches.
Guillermo Gonzalez of Texas also has 92.75, as does Nolan Minor of Virginia but due to tie breaker rules, Gonzalez is 5th and Minor 6th.
With $100,000 to be distributed among the Top 10, Rus Snyders of Tennessee sits atop the cut line in 10th with 91 inches.
A squall line pushed across the lake this morning ahead of a major cold front. Afterward, a breeze of about 8 knots rippled the surface. Under a blanket of clouds, air temps topped out in the mid-to-upper 60’s, likely the warmest our anglers will see for the rest of the event.
The 50 anglers in the TOC caught a combined 308 fish today.