With 14.69 pounds Bobby Kilzer takes the day 1 lead at the 2010 American Fishing Tour National Championship. The event launching out of Paris, TN on Kentucky Lake is proving to be tougher than anyone would have expected. The lake noted as one of the best in the country was just dropped 3 ½ feet combined with a cold front shut down the fishing for over half of the anglers.
"I didn't have any bites until around 10:30 this morning", said Kilzer. "I think most of the bait fish were down deep. I fished mostly north around Blood River this morning and then came back under the bridge and caught a couple of keepers within sight of the tournament stage. And, I caught every single fish today on a football head jig", he continued. "I've been fishing with ABA for about 5 years now--- since the last time the National Championship was held here. A year ago, I suffered a stroke that paralyzed my entire right side. My motivation to regain my motor skills was to fish in this National Championship. And, I am proud to be here!" he concluded.
In comparison, on day 1 the anglers at the 2009 Championship brought in 1192 bass weighing 2,066 pounds. Kentucky Lake is being very stingy with only 263 bass brought in weighing 638 pounds with only 157 anglers weighing bass and only a few had a limit.
The weather is warming which could have a big impact on today's weigh in. "It is anyone's tournament at this point", said Gary Conner, the tournament director. "I have seen this many times, weak weights on one day then the weather turns the bite picks up. Literally anyone can make a big move today and take the lead", concluded Conner.
The big fish of the day was a 6.05 pound largemouth caught by Jordan Birch of Drummonds, TN. The UT Martin student is a Business Management and Marketing Major who has been fishing with American Bass Anglers for about 8 years. "I also caught my fish on a Football Head Jig", said Birch. "I started off on the flats then found a secondary channel. I found some schooling fish on the flats but they were moving so fast I had to try to keep up with them all day. I really haven't had a chance to be on the water since the Triton Owners Tournament that was here in June. I'm really hoping the wind picks up tomorrow because then I'll know what to do", concluded Birch.
The tour, which is operated in 41 states, will determine the best of the best in bass fishing for the weekend angler. The event, hosted by the Paris Henry County Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee River Resort Act, will feature the top 500 anglers from across the country.
Anglers will be vying for a part of over $200,000 in cash and prizes. The Angler of the Year and National Championship winner will receive a 2010 Triton Boat and Mercury motor package plus, there will be a draw boat presented to one lucky angler at the conclusion of the event.