Bites were few and far between for Fred Roumbanis, but fortunately for him, he got the right ones today at Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin.
The Bassmaster Elite Series pro took the lead in the pro division of the Bass Pros Shops Bassmaster Central Open finale by catching a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 9 ounces. Some key bites in practice helped Roumbanis locate the big fish he caught today.
“I didn’t stick (hook) many fish in practice, so I went right to where I got the bites and caught them today,” Roumbanis said. When the London, Ark., angler did set the hook on some bass during practice, he caught a couple of 4- and 5-pounders.
His hot spots produced six bass in the opening round. His best five included three 5-pound largemouth.
“I’m not getting a lot of bites,” he said. “It is an absolute grind.”
After catching his fish, Roumbanis left his area to save it for Friday’s second round. He thinks the bass he found are still in a summertime mode.
“I don’t think they have quite made their fall deal yet,” he said. “They are still back on their summer stuff (isolated objects), and they are pretty predictable once you figure it out. I’ve got two patterns going so I think I can just go fishing and do all right.”
Former Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Greg Hackney cashed in on his home waters advantage to take over second place with a 17-6 limit. The Gonzales, La., pro had a good practice a couple of weeks ago, but he noticed the fishing has slowed down after a cold front last week dropped the water temperature 13 degrees.
Hackney experienced his best action early and late on the first competition day.
“The middle of the day was just a grind; I would catch one every now and then,” he said. “I would also catch a lot of little ones. When the water was warmer, (prior to the front), everything I caught was 2 pounds or better.”
Other pro division anglers in the Top 5 include Derek Hudnall, Baton Rouge, La., third place, 16-2; Cody Bird, Granbury, Texas, fourth, 15-14; and Hunter Parra, Houma, La., fifth, 14-13.
Competing in his first Open, 31-year-old Blake Naquin from Thibodaux, La., took over the lead in the co-angler division with three bass weighing 11-8. Even though the oil and gas service company employee was fishing his home waters, Naquin said he learned a lot more about the basin while paired with pro angler Billy Billeaud of Lafayette, La.
Leading the pro division for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award after the first day is Parra with a 7-12 largemouth. Naquin leads on the co-angler side of the big bass pot with a 4-4 bass.
The Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau (www.cajuncoast.com) is hosting this event.
Friday’s launch, weigh-in and the final-day takeoff will be held at the Jesse Fontenot Memorial Boat Landing, 700 River Road in Berwick. The final-day weigh-in on Saturday will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 175 Bass Pro Blvd., in Denham Springs.
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