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March 7, 2013

FISHING: Ehrler leads FLW Tour event at Smith Lake

JASPER — A full field of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals began competition in the FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake on Thursday. After the final fish was weighed at the venue’s Dam Access, pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., sat atop the leaderboard and now has his sights set on the top cash award of up to $125,000.

“My weight doesn’t really show the whole story of exactly what went on out there,” said Ehrler, the second-place finisher at the FLW Tour season opener at Lake Okeechobee. “It was pretty interesting how my day went. I mixed it up and did a bunch of different things. I was fortunate enough to get a couple of big bites.”

Ehrler brought a five-fish limit of spotted bass to the scales that weighed 17 pounds, 8 ounces. He holds a slim 8-ounce lead over fellow pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., who weighed in 17 pounds even.

“I pulled up to a spot today that I didn’t get a bite on in practice, but it just looked right,” Ehrler said. “There were some good laydowns, and the bank just looked right. I saw some fish on my Humminbird, but I didn’t catch any. I fished quite a few areas and covered a lot of water. I was fishing near the area again later in the afternoon and decided to take another shot at it. That time, it worked.

“It just takes time, though,” Ehrler continued. “I had a long day today and didn’t have to weigh in until 5 p.m. Tomorrow, I weigh in at 3 p.m. That could change the outcome of how I will catch them. Having a long day let me fish relaxed, while having a short day tends to push you and make you fish a little faster.”

Ehrler did not want to divulge any information about his bait selection but did mention that he wasn’t fishing too far from the takeoff site.

“I’m making a 20-minute run,” he said. “And I’m covering everything in between. I didn’t find a whole lot today, but I eliminated a lot. I think it could be a tough day tomorrow because this lake seems to really feel the pressure. Tomorrow I’m just going to worry about catching five. When I do that, then I’ll be going after a few big ones.”

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