HOUSTON — One giant largemouth separated Brent Ehrler from the rest of the 52-angler field after Friday’s first round of the three-day 47th Bassmaster Classic on windswept Lake Conroe.
Ehrler, the Bassmaster Elite competitor from California, hauled in a 9-pound, 12-ounce bass to hold an 18-ounce lead over Kentucky angler Bradley Roy’s 22-1 catch, and less than a two-pound edge over Louisiana’s leading bass-chaser Cliff Crochet, from Pierre Part, who brought in a solid 21-8, five-bass limit.
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Chasing them is former New Orleans’ Bassmaster Classic champion Mike Iaconelli. The New Jersey man held fourth at 21-2, Clifford Perch, from Arizona, rounds out the top five at 20-11.
Defending Classic champion Edwin Evers is 13th place (18-3) and four-time Classic champion Kevin VanDam is 12th (18-6).
Constant south winds estimated in the 20-25 knot range pushed 4-5 foot waves across the main lake Friday in advance of overnight thunderstorms, which could delay the start of Saturday’s second round. The field will be cut to the top 25 two-day totals for Sunday’s final round.
Weigh-ins are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday and about the same time Sunday at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston.
“Classic Live,” which carries on-the-water Classic action, will air from 7-10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the Bassmaster website: www.bassmaster.com. It’s also available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
If you’re interested in updated catches throughout the day, www.bassmaster.com carries “BASSTrakk” with observers in each boat sending in estimated catches and catch weights, and the website will also carry real-time leaderboard during the weigh-in.