Daniel Lanier

James Overstreet
Daniel Lanier shows off part of his 27-11 Day One catch.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — He wasn’t wearing track shoes, but Daniel Lanier Jr. of Winter Springs, Fla., is running away from the rest of the field at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Central Florida. He leads 197 other pros with 27 pounds, 11 ounces. His closest challenger is two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Tracy Adams of North Carolina who is more than nine pounds back with 18-7.

Dreams of 30-pound catches and a new BASS three-day catch record are mostly out the window after a cold front passed through the night before competition began. Water temperatures dipped, the wind blew and the water muddied. The result? Fishing was challenging; catching was downright difficult.

“I caught ‘em early,” said Lanier, whose best finish in six previous Bassmaster Opens was fifth on the same body of water in 2011. “Most of my best fish came out of four or five feet of water on topwater baits.”

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