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Bassmaster Opens
Todd Auten Leads At Lake Toho Open

by Cara Clark / B.A.S.S.
Page(s): 1 2 3
[Click to enlarge image]

Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., takes the lead on Day 1 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open presented by Allstate. He brought in four bass weighing 22 pounds, 10 ounces.
Photo by Bassmaster
(Jan. 23, 2014 - KISSIMMEE, FL.)...

It’s not often that an angler leads the first day of a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open presented by Allstate with less than a limit of five bass, but Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., is doing just that. After Day 1 at the first Southern Open of 2014 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Central Florida, he finished the round with four bass weighing 22 pounds, 10 ounces.

Auten’s catch was anchored by the early leader for Carhartt Big Bass honors, a 9-7 largemouth that struck an Xcalibur Xr75 lipless crankbait.

"I was covering a lot of water and throwing the Xr75," Auten said, though he elected not to share more information.

The Florida subspecies of the largemouth bass is known for being finicky in cold weather. Simply put, they don’t like it, so the recent cold fronts have done nothing at all to help the fishing. On Day 1, bites were few and far between. The great fishing the anglers enjoyed before the fronts arrived is now long gone, and many reported that the fish they located in practice had "disappeared."

Not everyone struggled, though. In second place is Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kotaro Kiriyama of Moody, Ala., with a limit of five bass weighing 19-2.

"It wasn’t easy today," Kiriyama said. "I only had six bites, and none of them came until 1:40 this afternoon."

Kiriyama played his cards close to the vest, not disclosing his location or bait of choice, but he did say that his fish were "really, really shallow."

Trevor Fitzgerald, winner of the 2010 Southern Open on Lake Seminole and owner of Fitzgerald Rods, had a tough day, finishing with a limit weighing 12-2 that put him in a tie with three other anglers for 30th place.

"I caught 15 or more on an Xcalibur Xr50 (chrome with a blue back), but they were small. The bite was good when the wind was blowing, but slowed when it calmed down," Fitzgerald said.

To add to his challenges, Fitzgerald lost a huge bass late in the day while punching a mat close to the weigh-in site.

Last year’s champion, Rich Howes of nearby Oviedo, Fla., struggled in the first round. He has been battling vertigo for several months, and a relapse right before this event has made fishing a physical challenge. Howes weighed in three small bass on Day 1 for 4-1 and sits in 144th place.

At stake are cash and prizes and a berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell, S.C., for the winner who fishes the full series of three Southern Open events.

On the co-angler side, Bryan Jones of Zephyrhills, Fla., leads the way with a three-bass limit weighing 16-8. "My fish came from six to seven feet of water on a spinnerbait. I was slow rolling it. The action was pretty slow just a bite now and then."

Boats will take off Friday at 7 a.m. local time from Big Toho Marina, 101 Lakeshore Blvd., Kissimmee, FL 34741. The weigh-in on Day 2 will be held at the same location. On Saturday, the final weigh-in will be held at Bass Pro Shops, 5156 International Dr., Orlando, FL 32819.

2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Presenting Sponsor: Allstate

2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2014 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Boat U.S., Booyah, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Plano, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications - Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times - comprehensive Bassmaster website and ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, B.A.S.S. Nation events and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.

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