After all the reports of devastation from recent tornados, Oklahoma finally has some good news.
Brandon Pedigo gave his home state something to cheer about by catching a five-fish limit weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces to take over the lead in the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The 28-year-old angler from Durant, Okla., was one of the fortunate ones not affected by the tornadoes.
“There was some activity close to us,” Pedigo said. “I did have a lot of friends and family in the area that was hit, and our prayers are with them.”
Fishing in his first divisional, the rookie member of the Middle Oklahoma Bass Anglers club caught his limit around 9 a.m.
“I went to an area that didn’t have the boat pressure,” he said. “I wasn’t counting on just getting a limit. I wanted to have a good limit, and I knew the fish were in there. We probably got 30 bites today, and we lost some big ones. My partner had one straighten the hook out, and I lost a big one this morning. I could have had more than 20 [pounds], and I think I can do it tomorrow.
“I left that area early today. I was on my way out, trying to get a fish to come back to life, but it never would. I told my partner to go ahead and take the trolling motor, and he caught a 4-pounder.” Pedigo was penalized for one dead fish.
The Oklahoma angler then left the area so he could save his sweet spot for the next two days.
“It is kind of like the Garden of Eden where I am fishing,” Pedigo said. It is one of those areas where I don’t think the fish are ever going to leave. There is deep water next to it, and [it has] grass and timber and everything a bass would need.”
Pedigo hopes to finish as the top angler on his Oklahoma team, which would earn him a berth in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. Other state leaders bidding for championship berths include Jeff Avery of Arkansas; Matthew Waller, Kansas; Jamie Laiche, Louisiana; Randy Ladner, Mississippi; Greg Cooper, Missouri; Nick Ash, Nebraska; and Albert Collins, Texas.
The host Texas squad leads the team competition with 96 pounds, 9 ounces. Missouri is in the runner-up spot with 93-5.
Destre Dedeaux of Meadville, Miss., brought in the Carhartt Big Bass for Day 1, weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces.
The Central Divisional contestants will take off at 6 a.m. CT on Thursday at Cassels Boykin State Park for the second day of competition. The weigh-in will be held at the same location starting at 2 p.m. CT. On Friday, the final day of competition, the launch will be held at the same location at 6 a.m. CT, and the weigh-in will also be at the state park again at 2 p.m. CT.
Image courtesy Bassmaster