Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 03/09/2017

Story courtesy of FLW Communications 

LEESBURG, Fla. - Mud Hole Custom Tackle pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, caught a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 11 ounces to take the lead on opening day of the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes. The event, presented by Ranger Boats, features a field of 326 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division.

The weather conditions in central Florida were near perfect Thursday, and anglers experienced warm, sunny conditions with a minimal northwest breeze. Although the majority of the bass on the Harris Chain are now in their postspawn phase, there were still quite a few largemouth found on beds by the FLW Tour anglers.

“I think the fish in the canals are pretty much done, but we’re still seeing that last wave of bass come up from the main lake,” said Cox, the reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion with more than $930,000 in career earnings. “I caught three today looking at them. The others I caught casting.

“I had around 10 to 15 fish on beds marked during practice that I went to today, but they were gone,” Cox continued. “Luckily, the wind wasn’t blowing today and it opened up a few areas that were unfishable during our practice time. I just went fishing. I started off near takeoff and just worked my way around most of the chain. I didn’t go through any locks, but I ran the whole tank of gas out.”

Cox said that his history on the Harris Chain definitely helped him on Day One.

“I’ve been fishing here forever. I remember my mom driving me out here with the jon boat and dropping me off at the pier. It is awesome to be here, at a major event, fishing on the lake that I grew up on.

“I really struggled at the first two events this year and I wanted to just get five in the boat today and I was lucky to get five good ones. Now I’m going to go home and try to figure out how to do it again tomorrow.”

The top 10 pros after day one on the Harris Chain are:
1st: Mud Hole Custom Tackle pro John Cox, DeBary, Fla., five bass, 25-11
2nd: Shane LeHew, Catawba, N.C., five bass, 23-15
3rd: Jim Moynagh, Carver, Minn., five bass, 23-9
4th: Tim Frederick, Leesburg, Fla., five bass, 21-15
5th: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 21-13
6th: Carl Jocumsen, Frisco, Texas, five bass, 20-12
7th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 19-10
8th: Matt Wittekiend, Angleton, Texas, five bass, 18-15
9th: Andrew Upshaw, Tulsa, Okla., five bass, 18-4
10th: Rusty Trancygier, Hahira, Ga., five bass, 18-2

For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.

Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, earned the day's $500 Big Bass award in the pro division thanks to a 7-pound, 14-ounce largemouth.