Leader exceeds own expectations

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Denny Brauer didn't expect much from Thursday's opening round of the Bassmaster Elite Series "Pride of Georgia" tournament.

But after fighting a cold that kept him from practicing as much as he wanted to earlier in the week, the Missouri pro weighed in a 22-pound, five-fish bag that placed him at the top of the leaderboard.

"I wasn't sure I'd figured a whole lot out," he said apologetically as an enthusiastic crowd applauded.

In second place was South Carolina angler Davy Hite, who won the Thurmond Lake event in 2006 and hopes to claim a second $100,000 grand prize this weekend.

"It's different than I've ever seen it in the spring," he said of the changing weather patterns, low water and unpredictable baitfish movement.

Nonetheless, he weighed in a five-fish limit totaling 18 pounds, 15 ounces and said he had a lot of fun on the lake.

"I feel comfortable out here," he said. "I just live an hour down the road."

Behind Hite was Elite rookie David Sherrer, of Shreveport, La., with 18-8. Placing fourth was Dave Smith, of Del City, Okla., with 17 pounds, 4 ounces. Smith boated the Purolator Big Bass of the Day, a 7-1 brute. Kenyon Hill, of Norman, Okla., was fifth with 17 pounds.

Defending champion Mike McClel-land, of Bella Vista, Ark., weighed in a solid 15 pounds, 9 ounces and is within striking distance in 10th place.

In all, 109 pros -- each paired with a "co-angler" amateur partner -- fanned out across Thurmond Lake for the four-day tournament at Columbia County's Wildwood Park.

In the co-angler division, amateurs are battling for a top prize of $25,000. Georgia's Kenny Newborn leads with 11 pounds, 15 ounces, topping fellow Peach State angler Mike Harris by 1 ounce and Massachusetts' Jay Flaherty by 2 ounces.

Today's competition, which begins at 6:30 a.m., will determine who makes the cut after the 3 p.m. weigh-in. Only 50 pros and 50 co-anglers will fish during Saturday's third round, and the top 12 pros will battle it out Sunday.

On Saturday, fans can also talk to the Elite pros during "Ask the Experts" at Bassmaster University presented by Comcast, set for 2:30 p.m.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.


WHAT: Bassmaster Elite Series "Pride of Georgia" Tournament WHEN: Today through Sunday WHERE: Wildwood Park at Thurmond Lake

PARKING COST: $5 per vehicle, spectators welcome at 3 p.m. weigh-in


1. Denny Brauer (Camdenton, Mo.).........5..........22 pounds

2. Davy Hite (Ninety Six, S.C.).........5.........18 pounds, 15 ounces

3. David Sherrer (Shreveport, La.).........5.........18 pounds, 8 ounces

4. David Smith (Del City, Okla.).........5.........17 pounds, 4 ounces

5. Kenyon Hill (Norman, Okla.).........5.........17 pounds

6. Dean Rojas (Lake Havasu City, Ariz.).........5.........16 pounds, 13 ounces

6. Dustin Wilks (Rocky Mount, N.C.).........5.........16 pounds, 13 ounces

8. Alton Jones (Waco, Texas).........5.........16 pounds, 12 ounces

9. Terry Scroggins (San Mateo, Fla.).........5.........16 pounds, 7 ounces

10. Mike McClelland (Bella Vista, Ark.).........5.........15 pounds, 9 ounces

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Does_it_really_matter 05/02/08 - 06:56 am
No suprise that a jig expert

No suprise that a jig expert takes the lead on the first day. That is the most consistent lure on the lake if you are not in the blue herring.

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