ANDERSON, South Carolina -- As the wind gusted off Lake Hartwell Thursday afternoon, GEICO angler Robert Pearson noted that an Walmart FLW Tour tournament can't be won on the first day, but it sure can be lost.
While numerous anglers brought in fewer than the maximum limit of largemouth bass on the first day of the four-day event, Pearson kept himself in contention with a full allotment of five fish weighing a respectable 10 pounds, 8 ounces.
That total put him 89th out of 152 fishermen who brought in bass on Thursday.
"I'm very blessed and pleased with the results," Pearson said. "We didn't mess up today, and my decision-making was right on point. I tried some stuff out very early, and with all the wind this morning, it just wasn't there."
With springtime arriving in the United States, fishing techniques change because of the weather. Pearson started off the first day on Lake Hartwell with 14 rods on his GEICO boat and later went below deck to get a couple more.
He settled on a Shaky Head jig head on a spinning rod – a "very finesse" setup – and, "It worked out very well for me," Pearson said.
"I used all 14 (rods), and I went in the rod locker and used a couple more," Pearson said. "I narrowed it down to just one. I figured these fish, with the high pressure coming in and bluebird skies, that pushed the fish right up under the dock with all this sun. Buddy, they were there for me. I don't know what happened to everybody else, but they were there for me. I caught 'em and caught 'em. I just couldn't get rid of that one little one."
The "little one" was a fish Pearson had to measure as he got off the lake to make sure it was the legal limit. It was legal, but Pearson wished his smallest fish could've been replaced by a larger one he couldn't quite reel in.
"I had a short one that barely measured 12 inches," Pearson said. "If I'd have caught the one we lost right at the dock, that would've given me 15, 16 pounds. That being said, I'm very happy with what I brought in today."
Pearson is less than four pounds out of the top 30 anglers who advance to the weekend.
"I've got all day tomorrow," Pearson said. "I don't have to come in tomorrow until 4:45 p.m., so I've got all day to figure it out. I learned a little today, and I'll just go get 'em tomorrow."
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