Story by Justin Brouillard | Photos by Tanner & Travis Lyons
Each catching five bass limits of 17-pounds, 12-ounces, 2021 NPFL Champions Buck Mallory and Brandon Perkins take a share of the day one lead at Lake Hartwell.
Starting off the day fast, Mallory’s third bass of the morning was a 4.5-pound largemouth and it was all uphill from there. Culling about six times throughout the day, the Lawton, Michigan pro ran a junk fishing pattern of “random areas with good bass” to catch his fish and credits a late adjustment for his share of the leading weight.
“I am fishing a good mix of spotted and largemouth bass and later this afternoon, I made a bait change after losing three nice fish and really got dialed. I am hitting and missing guys fishing similar type stuff but I had nobody pull in on me and I never pulled in on anyone. Once I figured out the changes, I made some adjustments with that different bait and went to work. I am looking forward to the rest of this week.”
Understandably, Mallory declined to share too much information until after the day two weigh in.
Tied with Mallory for the day one lead, Brandon Perkins went into the morning after a subpar practice and was able to secure a solid limit early, and then went to work doing what he likes to do.
“My practice wasn’t awesome; I really don’t like to catch a lot anyways and I ran three spots this morning and finally landed on them on the third stop. I really don’t know if I found a shad spawn deal or what but I had one bite in practice and it was a good spotted bass.”
Catching a fish on his first cast, a big fish blew up close by and Perkins fired a bait over and quickly landed a 3-pound spot. Moving on to spot number two, he wasn’t feeling it and another boat was close by. On the third spot, it all came together and the Counce, Tennessee angler went to work catching the majority of his bag.
“I caught them really good on that deal and I think I left with 15-pounds. I was fairly comfortable with that weight and I probably could have caught more if I stayed but I felt like I should leave it. I had a good weight and wanted to go fish how I was comfortable and try to cull up.”
After making a move shallow, Perkins got to looking and was able to catch a few other bigger fish including a lost “6 plus pounder” that bit a bait and quickly got wrapped up in some brush.
“She was super shallow and I couldn’t get in there to get to her but I was actually surprised she bit to begin with. She did spit out my bait so I got that back and I know where she lives. I have to keep looking for them but with an early check in tomorrow, I have a feeling that big one is going to end up hurting me bad – it would have been a 3-pound or bigger cull.”
Ending the day in the 3rd place spot, Valliant, Oklahoma pro Eddie Carper landed a 5-pound, 5-ounce kicker to anchor his five bass limit of 17-pounds, 9-ounces. Sticking with his practice plan, he was able to get off to a fast start and secured a limit by 7:30 this morning.
“That was my goal weight, I was hoping to catch 17-pounds and was planning to quit. I made a short run this morning and caught them fast but the big ones didn’t show up. I fished for a while before making a move down by the dam to some fish I had on deep timber in practice.”
After fishing around at the lakes south end, Carper made his move back up the lake and noticed a point he had some schooling fish in practice was vacant. Trying to ditch his small limit, he was able to catch a few schooling bass before they vanished as the sun got high.
“I was able to cull up but it died fast and I just went junk fishing the rest of the day. I found a creek in practice back up near take off with a log jam and on my second flip today I got that 5-pounder. It was the same flip I caught a 4-pounder in practice.”
That fish gave him the confidence to keep his head down in that creek. A short while later in some flooded bushed, a 3 and a 3.5-pounder brough his weight from 14-pounds to over 17 and his official weight for the day.
“It’s all a timing bait for me and those herring fish school up at certain times when the sun is bright and after that, it’s all junk fishing for me. I am looking forward to going tomorrow as it should be even better.”
With a five bass limit of 17-pounds, 7-ounces, Drew Six worked a “three phase” spawning pattern to end the day in the 4th place spot. With an early limit, including his bigger fish, a 5-pound, 12-ounce kicker sealed the deal on a solid day one.
“I had a limit by 9 AM including my big fish. I landed that big one on 6-pound test and I am using a Z-Man StreakZ and Texas Swivel Head and fishing on key areas next to deep cuts.”
With high skies and little wind projected the next two days, the Clinton, Ohio pro will continue to fish his spawning deal but expects the quality to drop off throughout the rest of the event.
“I knew I would catch them good but I didn’t expect this quality. I can see it with the weights today, we are going into a post spawn period and it may happen fast. I am fishing some pre-spawn, some fry guarders and fry chasers. I expect to keep getting bites but the quality will probably drop off.”
Starting fast and furious, Mike Corbishley began his day with a fast limit with one weighable fish and ran a junk fishing pattern to catch weight of 17-pounds, 1-ounce. Ending the day in the 5th place spot, the Raleigh, North Carolina angler is fishing a mix of structure, with different baits, and fishing all phases of the spawn.
“I thought I would have a decent day this morning but it all depended on getting a big bite or not. Ironically, today, I had one 4-pounder and a bunch of good quality bass in my bag.”
After his quick start, Corbishley ran a few more “timing deals” to begin his day before the high skies shut down the fish. Losing some quality fish and getting short strikes, he knew it was time to pivot and find some bigger quality bass.
“I think I will be good the rest of the week but the one thing that might hurt me is that several guys saw me catching them this morning and I am a little worried that more people fished those areas after I left.”
Be sure to tune in when we go LIVE at 8am with Fat Cat and Luke Dunkin in studio with James WorldWide Watson on the water.