BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) -- Keith Poche's local knowledge paid off Friday as he scored 17 pounds and 13 ounces of bass on a blustery day on the Red River to grab a slim lead at the 42nd Bassmaster Classic.
Poche, who grew up in Natchitoches, an hour south of the boat launch for the event, found a sweet spot early in the opening day and never moved. Poche hauled in more than 20 fish, his bag boosted by the big bass (6-13) of the day.
After three days of fishing northwest Louisiana's most prolific waterway, the winner will walk away with $500,000 of the $1.2 million purse. The second-place angler will pocket $45,000.
Dustin Wilks of Rocky Mount, N.C. (16-9), David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn. (16-8), and Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn. (16-6), were close to Poche in the field of 49 anglers that will be trimmed to 25 after Saturday.