The first day of fishing at the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota is officially over. All the anglers have come on stage to their entrance music and they have gone back to the impound lot to start working on getting everything ready for day two. The fans have filed out of Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the University of Tennessee. And they are all set for Saturday morning, and cut day at the Classic.
For some of the anglers, it was a day of struggles. Two anglers brought no fish to the scales, Four anglers only brought in 1 fish, and only 24 anglers brought in a five fish limit. For most, the day just didn’t set up the way they had thought, or the bass just decided to throw them a curve ball, either way, it made for a tough day.
Brandon Lester took the early lead, bringing in a bag limit weighing in at 15 pounds 7 ounces. Bryan Schmitt came close to beating him for the lead, with a limit weighing in at 16 pounds 1 ounce. The day ended with Jeff Gustafson with finally being the last boat and putting 5 beautiful bass up on the scales that weighed a sweet 18 pounds 8 ounces to take the day one lead. Keith Poche came in with 11 pounds 2 ounces to land in 15th place, a day after winning the Stage Two event for MLF. It also took took a total of 12 pounds 9 ounces to land in the Top 10 for the day.
What a great day, and Saturday should be even better! Of course, one of the great places to watch the event is at the Expo on the big screen. It should be an exciting day, but very crowded. I’ll be back trying to see everything I missed today! Today just wasn’t my day! I had a great start to the day, but it didn’t take long for the wheels to come off.
We went to the Expo for the official start and to get in early to visit certain booths to hopefully see everything new this year. We hit up the first floor and checked out a few booths, especially the SPRO booth. We then headed up to the third floor so we could hit the Missile Baits booth and get some of the Mini Magic Worms. We timed it right, as Bill Dance was about to hit the Mossy Oak Fishing booth and we were the first in line to see him. After getting an autograph and a picture with Bill, we headed over to check out Drop Zone Lures and then Fish Monkey Gloves. Going great so far. We decided to head back down to the first floor again and find something to eat. And the bottom fell out!
As we took the stairs down to the 1st floor, I started to feel funny. I got overheated I believe and by the time we hit the 2nd floor, I knew I was in trouble. I had to sit down, as I started to sweat. I wanted to get up and get some fresh air, but just couldn’t do it. I sat there for a few, then had to lay down. Snookie Risch went to get a drink she said, but actually went to get the EMS to come check me out while Jacob Stephens stayed with me. By the time they got there, I was starting to come around and they checked me out. They made sure I was okay and finally got me outside to some fresh air, which helped clear my head and make me feel better. I came back in with the EMS and got up with Snookie and Jacob, who were there waiting for me.
We got something to drink and went back outside to let me get some more air. Of course, we made it over to weigh-in just in time to watch everything and talk to the anglers. Thank the good Lord for great friends that stayed with me and helped make sure I was okay. And then back to the hotel so I could get to writing and tell you.
Tomorrow is cut day for the Elite Anglers. Only the top 25, out of the 55 competing will move on to Sunday and have a shot of winning it all. Who will you be rooting for? Will anyone figure them out and bring a huge bag to the scales? Only time will tell!