Blake Sylvester, of Plaquemine, La., is leading after Day 1 of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship at Pickwick Lake with 16 pounds, 10 ounces.
Photo by Chris Brown/B.A.S.S.

November 11, 2020

Sylvester Takes Early Lead At B.A.S.S. Nation Championship On Pickwick Lake
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Florence, Ala. — Blake Sylvester only caught five keeper bass during Wednesday’s first round of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, but he made each bite count.

Sylvester, a 29-year-old resident of Plaquemine, La., weighed a limit of five largemouth that totaled 16 pounds, 10 ounces. That gave him an early lead in this three-day event on Pickwick Lake where $176,800 in cash and prizes is up for grabs, not to mention three precious slots in the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic scheduled for March 19-21 on Lake Ray Roberts in Texas.
Sylvester, the B.A.S.S. Nation champ from the Bayou State, finished third overall in the Central Regional held last month at Toledo Bend Reservoir, and he kept the hot hand on Pickwick. He was the second boat on the water Wednesday (following only last year’s Nation Championship winner Cody Hollen of Beaverton, Ore.), and Sylvester wasted no time getting quality bass in his livewell.

“I caught my two biggest fish first thing this morning,” Sylvester said. “There was a 4 3/4-pounder and another one that was just shy of 4 pounds. I wanted to get something going this morning. You can’t win a tournament on Day 1, but you definitely can lose a tournament on Day 1.”

Despite the fast start, Sylvester struggled to find a consistent bite. He estimated he only caught 10 bass, and half of those were undersized. He said he pounded two particular areas but didn’t boat his fifth keeper until 1:30 p.m., only minutes before he needed to scramble back to McFarland Park for weigh-in.

“I’m from Louisiana, so you know I’m looking for grass,” Sylvester said. “It wasn’t hard to find it, but I couldn’t find many fish to go with that grass. Nothing was easy today. It was a grind.”

Still, Sylvester has had momentum on his side recently, and it’s showing in his recent results. He said he can stay atop the leaderboard at Pickwick if he has a little luck Thursday.

“A couple more 4-pounders would be nice,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s gonna be tough again. I was the No. 2 boat out today, but the area I’m on isn’t (a time-sensitive bite) and I haven’t seen anybody else fishing it. I’m confident, but I just don’t know what I have left there. I’ve got a couple of other spots I think I can get bit on if I need it.”

Eddie Levin of Westerville, Ohio, is in second place with 16-1. The 27-year-old firefighter caught his best bass before the wind picked up midmorning.

“My first fish was about a 5-pounder or so, but I lost it,” Levin said. “I had all my weight by 9 o’clock, but my area got blown out, and I kind of went pre-fishing. I caught a lot more fish doing that. I really hope the wind lays down tomorrow. If it does, I think you’re going to see a really big bag.”

Josh Ray of Alexander, Ark., is third in the boater division (15-15), followed by Richard Lindgren of Lakeville, Minn., (15-4) and Josh Hubbard of Braidwood, Ill., (15-1).

Utah’s Terry Peterson took the lead in the co-angler division with a five-bass limit that weighed 14-10. He fished with New Mexico’s Christian Gladfelter, who had 14-9 and is in seventh place in the boater division.

“He put me on some good fish,” Peterson said. “That’s all you can ask for. We figured some things out. It was good teamwork and fortunately, the bites we had were good ones.”

Mike Caul of Petersburg, Va., is second among co-anglers with 13-9. Lewis Mendall of Winthrop, Mass., is third (12-13), followed by Aaryn Coroneos of Henderson, Nev., (11-6) and Steve Hinkle of Mount Nebo, W.Va., (9-9).

B.A.S.S. Nation champions from 46 different states are competing, with only North Dakota, Connecticut, Hawaii and Alaska not represented. Hollen, who received an automatic berth as the defending champ, and Paralyzed Veterans of American Angler of the Year Ken Carter bumped the boater division to 48 total competitors.

The Top 10 anglers following Thursday’s weigh-in will survive the cut and fish Friday’s championship round, as will the leading two anglers from each of the five B.A.S.S. Nation regions (Southeast, Northeast, Northern, Western and Central) if they aren’t among the overall Top 10.

The top co-angler, who will win $10,000 in paid entries to 2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens tournaments, will also fish Friday, and so will any co-angler whose two-day total exceeds the 10th-place total in the boater division.

Day 2 of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship will begin with a 6 a.m. CT takeoff Thursday from McFarland Park. Weigh-in will be held back at the park at 2 p.m.

The tournament is being hosted by Visit Florence.

2020 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship at Pickwick Lake 11/11-11/13
Pickwick Lake, Florence  AL.
(BOATER) Standings Day 1

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Blake Sylvester        Plaquemine, LA           5  16-10    0
Day 1: 5   16-10
2.  Eddie Levin            Westerville, OH          5  16-01    0
Day 1: 5   16-01
3.  Josh Ray               Alexander, AR            5  15-15    0
Day 1: 5   15-15
4.  Richard Lindgren       Lakeville, MN            5  15-04    0
Day 1: 5   15-04
5.  Josh Hubbard           Braidwood, IL            5  15-01    0
Day 1: 5   15-01
6.  Pat Schlapper          Eleva, WI                5  14-11    0
Day 1: 5   14-11
7.  Christian Gladfelter   Albuquerque, NM          5  14-09    0
Day 1: 5   14-09
8.  Justin Kerr            Lake Havasu, AZ          5  14-04    0
Day 1: 5   14-04
9.  Josh Cotier            Clinton, MA              5  13-07    0
Day 1: 5   13-07
10. Michael Comeau         Alburgh, VT              5  13-05    0
Day 1: 5   13-05
11. Nate Caldwell          Fort Collins, CO         5  13-02    0
Day 1: 5   13-02
12. Joel Smith             Guin, AL                 5  13-01    0
Day 1: 5   13-01
13. Jason Hickey           Weiser, ID               5  12-09    0
Day 1: 5   12-09
14. Ray Trudeau            Saint Cloud, FL          5  11-14    0
Day 1: 5   11-14
15. Michael Cash           Louisburg, NC            5  11-07    0
Day 1: 5   11-07
16. Justin Hicks           Gunnison, CO             5  11-06    0
Day 1: 5   11-06
17. Chris Killoren         Marcellus, NY            4  11-06    0
Day 1: 4   11-06
18. Jeremy Sadowski        Valuntower, CT           4  11-05    0
Day 1: 4   11-05
19. Matthew Robertson      Kuttawa, KY              4  10-08    0
Day 1: 4   10-08
20. Jacob Coverdale        Frederica, DE            5  10-03    0
Day 1: 5   10-03
21. Jeff Lugar             Cross Junction, VA       5  10-02    0
Day 1: 5   10-02
22. Derek Severns          West Mifflin, PA         4  10-01    0
Day 1: 4   10-01
23. Bert Collins           Heaters, WV              3  09-12    0
Day 1: 3   09-12
24. Timothy Wells          Clovis, CA               5  09-08    0
Day 1: 5   09-08
25. Bryan Gunter           Ninety Six, SC           3  09-06    0
Day 1: 3   09-06
26. Cody Hollen            Beaverton, OR            4  09-03    0
Day 1: 4   09-03
27. Dave Andrews           Hudson, MA               4  08-10    0
Day 1: 4   08-10
28. Brent Shores           Boise, ID                4  08-05    0
Day 1: 4   08-05
29. Trevor Kettles         Waukee, IA               4  08-02    0
Day 1: 4   08-02
30. Jesse Jordan           Stilwel, KS              4  08-01    0
Day 1: 4   08-01
31. David Cavell           Prairieville, LA         4  08-00    0
Day 1: 4   08-00
32. John Thomsen           Creston, IA              4  07-09    0
Day 1: 4   07-09
33. Matt Reagan            Hudsonville, MI          3  07-02    0
Day 1: 3   07-02
34. Tom Wennerlund         Tonto Basin, AZ          2  06-14    0
Day 1: 2   06-14
35. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               2  06-04    0
Day 1: 2   06-04
36. Ken Day                Kennewick, WA            3  06-02    0
Day 1: 3   06-02
37. Jason Crone            Kalispell, MT            2  04-09    0
Day 1: 2   04-09
38. Mark Pierce            Cadiz, KY                2  04-08    0
Day 1: 2   04-08
39. Scott Robert           Greene, ME               2  03-14    0
Day 1: 2   03-14
40. Dan Jordan             Camas, WA                2  02-15    0
Day 1: 2   02-15
41. Jay Beffa              Festus, MO               1  02-05    0
Day 1: 1   02-05
42. Michael McMahon        Hackettstown, NJ         1  02-04    0
Day 1: 1   02-04
42. Jeff Napier            Martinsville, IN         1  02-04    0
Day 1: 1   02-04
44. Albert Collins         Nacogdoches, TX          1  02-00    0
Day 1: 1   02-00
45. Eric Storms            Winner, SD               1  01-13    0
Day 1: 1   01-13
46. Ken Carter             Enterprise, FL           1  01-09    0
Day 1: 1   01-09
47. Paul Gietka            Abingdon, MD             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
47. David Gorman           Canton, GA               0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        19       169       427-02
———————————-
19       169       427-02
2020 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship at Pickwick Lake 11/11-11/13
Pickwick Lake, Florence  AL.
(NON_BOATER) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Terry Peterson         West Jordan, UT          5  14-10    0
Day 1: 5   14-10
2.  Mike Caul              Petersburg, VA           5  13-09    0
Day 1: 5   13-09
3.  Lewis Mendall          Winthrop, MA             5  12-13    0
Day 1: 5   12-13
4.  Aaryn Coroneos         Henderson, NV            3  11-06    0
Day 1: 3   11-06
5.  Steve Hinkle           Mount Nebo, WV           3  09-09    0
Day 1: 3   09-09
6.  Joe Combs              Jonesboro, AR            3  08-07    0
Day 1: 3   08-07
7.  Brian Kline            Dysart, PA               3  08-05    0
Day 1: 3   08-05
8.  Zeke Abegg             Clarksville, TN          2  08-04    0
Day 1: 2   08-04
9.  Jonathan Barnette      Jasper, AL               2  06-09    0
Day 1: 2   06-09
10. Chris Heltemes         Franklin, MA             3  06-02    0
Day 1: 3   06-02
11. Michael Johnson        Crawford, TX             3  05-15    0
Day 1: 3   05-15
12. Clif Gallagher         Saint George, UT         2  04-13    0
Day 1: 2   04-13
13. Larry Carter           Lucedale, MS             2  04-10    0
Day 1: 2   04-10
14. James Topmiller III    Orlando, FL              2  04-03    0
Day 1: 2   04-03
14. Coleton Usher          Atkins, IA               2  04-03    0
Day 1: 2   04-03
16. Scott Hrcka            Homer, MI                2  04-01    0
Day 1: 2   04-01
17. Connor Rushing         Pride, LA                1  03-13    0
Day 1: 1   03-13
18. Tas Moua               Fresno, CA               1  03-07    0
Day 1: 1   03-07
19. Danny Fourr            Waterflow, NM            2  03-05    0
Day 1: 2   03-05
20. Kevin Mullins          Brooklyn, IN             1  03-02    0
Day 1: 1   03-02
21. Matt Byrnes            Hudson, WI               1  02-09    0
Day 1: 1   02-09
22. Kyle Slomba            Baltimore, MD            1  02-08    0
Day 1: 1   02-08
23. Toby Cross             Bowdoinham, ME           1  02-05    0
Day 1: 1   02-05
24. Larry Wigmore          Smyrna, DE               1  02-03    0
Day 1: 1   02-03
25. Bryce Hauf             Winner, SD               1  02-02    0
Day 1: 1   02-02
26. Mike Bell              OGDENSBURG, NY           1  01-15    0
Day 1: 1   01-15
27. Colten Didion          Westerville, OH          1  01-14    0
Day 1: 1   01-14
28. Austin Johnson         Noxon, MT                1  01-13    0
Day 1: 1   01-13
29. Sean Bowen             Midwest City, OK         1  01-12    0
Day 1: 1   01-12
30. Ryan Bone              Douglasville, GA         1  01-10    0
Day 1: 1   01-10
31. Kenneth Ellis          Bowman, SC               1  01-07    0
Day 1: 1   01-07
31. Greg Jager             Kennewick, WA            1  01-07    0
Day 1: 1   01-07
33. Tyler Lawwill          Asheville, NC            1  01-06    0
Day 1: 1   01-06
34. Kirk Albrecht          Fort Collins, CO         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Dennis Carroll         Ashland, NE              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Phil Clopton           Macks Creek, MO          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. David Dias             Brattleboro, VT          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Tim Kellam             Crittenden, KY           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Nathanial Kimberling   Coeur D Alene, ID        0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Kyle Klein             Hutchinson, KS           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Bryan Larson           Waconia, MN              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Bill Lionetta Jr       Alton Bay, NH            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Matthew Marques        Seneca, IL               0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. John Serge             Philadelphia, PA         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Scott Seros            Bend, OR                 0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
34. Hayden Spradling       Gilbert, AZ              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1         3        65       166-01
———————————-
3        65       166-01

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