, Muskogee, OK

February 23, 2013

Two share lead in Bassmaster Classic

By John Kilgore
Phoenix Correspondent

— TULSA — Day 1 of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic is now in the books and despite the bone-chilling temperatures, these anglers, some of the best on the planet, have begun to knock the socks off the fish at Grand Lake.    

When the boats launched Friday morning, it was 22 degrees and over 2,000 people were at the take-off.

Tied for first place are New Jersey angler Mike Iaconelli and Cliff Pace from Mississippi, each with five fish that garnered a bag weight of 21 pounds, 8 ounces.  Newcomer Hank Cherry from North Carolina had 20-15 for third place.

In fourth is Kevin VanDam with 19-12, amid speculation he had to pour coffee on live well lids to get them to open. They were frozen shut.

Tracy Adams of North Carolina is in fifth at 19-10.

A local favorite from nearby Park Hill, Jason Christie, did not disappoint.  Christie’s fish totaled 18-12 which was good enough for sixth place. He started out strong and had three fish within five minutes. Later, he lost a big fish.

Edwin Evers of Talala is sitting in 10th place with 16-13 while Wagoner’s Tommy Biffle is in 27th place with an even 12 pounds. Biffle had relayed that in practice he was on some good quality fish but the conditions changed and he, like many of the other fisherman, had to alter their game plan. He actually practiced fishing during his deerhunting time to prepare for this event.

The day’s big bass was caught by  Mark Pierce  and weighed 7-1..

All anglers were pretty tight-lipped about the baits used, however, jerkbaits and swimbaits fished about as slow as you can go with a few fish caught on jigs.

Today’s weigh-in will tell the tale of the top 25 anglers to continue on to the Sunday’s finale.