LA CROSSE,WI(WXOW)--It's the majors of bass fishing--a tournament held right here in La Crosse.
Thursday marked the end of the first day of the Bassmaster Elite Series Mississippi River Rumble. Event director Eric Lopez said the crowd at the first weigh in was one of the biggest he's seen for the first day of weigh ins.
More than one thousand people were in the stands at Veteran's Memorial Park as 98 of the world's best angler's brought back their five best fish.
Kyle Fox sits atop the standings with a five fish catch of 16 pounds, 8 ounces.
Trailing by only three ounces is Aaron Martens from Alabama.
Martens said he's fished the Mississippi River plenty of times, but adds that it's much different up here, than it is down south.
"I didn't really expect to catch 16 pounds on the first day. Like what you see, 13 pounds 14 pound bass that I've been catching everyday so to catch 16.5 the first day is awesome,"said Martens.
Even at the early hour of 615am, there were still several hundred people at the Clinton Street Boat Landing and lining the Clinton Street Bridge to see the start of the tournament. From there, anglers fanned out up and down the river in search of bass.
A number of them, including Shaw Grigsby and Brent Chapman, said they caught more than 50 bass each during the day, though none were the really big ones they were hoping for. In fact, the largest bass caught today was four pounds, 13 ounces, hooked on the end of Stephen Browning's line. He's sitting in 32nd place.
38 anglers, including Kevin VanDam (38th place, 13-7), Mike Iaconelli (27th, 13-12), and Dean Rojas (12th, 14-12), bunched up between 13 and 15 pounds.
Going forward, 98 anglers will get some rest and head out on the river all day again on Friday. By Saturday, that number will be cut in half. Lopez said that's when you'll really start to see the emotions come out--when just 12 anglers are left.
"That's where you see the nerves and the tension. It's going to be a really interesting place to be Saturday afternoon watching the anglers sweat it out to see if they made that cut,"said Lopez.
The champion will be announced Sunday. The winner pockets a check for $100,000.
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