Classic Coverage: Foutz 38th out of 52 Bassmaster Classic Anglers on 1st Day

Foutz stayed ahead of some of the country's top bass fishing professionals

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Foutz boats his fifth bass of the day on Friday, the first day of competition in the 2018 Bassmaster Classic. (Photo: Richard Simms)
GREENEVILLE, S.C. – Jacob Foutz, the 19-year-old Bryan College student fishing his first ever Bassmaster Classic didn’t come out high in the standings after the first day of competition, but he still managed to come out ahead of some of the country’s best bass fishing pros. Foutz brought 11 pounds, 15 ounces to the scales after Day One fishing on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell.
The leader after Day One is Jason Christie with 20 pounds 14 ounces, about nine pounds ahead of Foutz.
Jacob Foutz gives a thumbs up as he waits on the Day One take-off in the 2018 Bassmaster Classic on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Foutz is the youngest angler in the field. He earned his spot in the Classic by winning the 2017 Carhartt College National Championship.

Before the 7:30 am take-off Wednesday morning Foutz said, “I really got a good night’s sleep last night. I’ve got a few butterflies but I’m not really nervous.”
Not long after boating his fifth limit bass, Foutz gets number six on the line. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Foutz started slow, having only landed three small keepers by about 10:30 Friday morning. But as the sun climbed, his pattern pitching docks seemed to improve. He put his fifth bass in the livewell around 11 am and then culled with a sixth not long after.

Around 12:30 he boated a larger fish and very soon after found his biggest fish of the day, a 4 pound largemouth.
Jacob Foutz shows off his largest bass on Day One, a 4-pound largemouth. The largest bass any angler caught on Friday weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces. (Photo: Troy Rogers)

 

“There was one dock that was right on the point of little pocket I was fishing,” said Foutz afterward. “I pulled up to it and threw my jig back there… it fell about a foot and one just crushed it. That ended up being my biggest one. I’m gonna try to expand on that a little bit and see what that gets me.”

Jacob Foutz enters the arena for his first-ever Bassmaster Classic weigh-in. BASS officials produce an impressive show including lights, music and fog machines as anglers enter in their boats, in front of thousands of spectators. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Foutz is a reserved young man, but admitted that pulling into the weigh-in arena with spotlights glaring, fog machines spewing smoke and rock music blaring was something he’ll never forget.

“That was incredible. It was just breathtaking,” said Foutz. “It’s something I can’t wait to do again tomorrow.”
The young man is always optimistic about the next day. He believes the experiences of Day One are definitely going to help.
In BASS competitions anglers are not allowed to use landing nets. Fishermen must land their bass by hand, or if their not too big, just flip them into the boat. (Photo: Richard Simms)

“Tomorrow is going to be a lot cleaner,” he said. “The nerves won’t be quite as high. I’ll be able to make better decisions without second-guessing myself.”

Foutz caught at least 17 keeper bass on Friday, culling up several times.
“Getting bites isn’t the problem. Getting quality bites is the problem,” he said.
Even at only 19-years-old Foutz has held up bass in front of weigh-in crowds many times. It is likely none will ever compare to holding up fish in from of his first-ever Bassmaster Classic crowd. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Even though he wasn’t on top, the young college student from Charleston, Tenn. beat some of the best in bass fishing on Friday. Amazingly, bass fishing powerhouse Skeet Reese caught ZERO on Friday – the only angler in the field who didn’t bring five bass to the weigh-in stand. Foutz also came out ahead of longtime professional anglers Bobby Lane, Greg Hackney and former Classic winner Randy Howell.

Saturday’s weather forecast on Lake Hartwell calls for a chance of rain or thunderstorms early, then giving away to just clouds for most of the day.
Accompanied by his official Bassmaster observer, Troy Rogers, Jacob Foutz makes a move as he hopscotched around Lake Hartwell to the many places he’d located during practice. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Foutz said, “I think it’s going to help the bite a little because these fish seem to like low light conditions.”

On Sunday the field will be cut to the Top 25 anglers. After Day One Foutz ended in 38th place. However he is only one pound, 15 ounces away from being in the Top 25. One good fish on Saturday could keep him in the competition through Sunday.
“I might spend a little more time on [spotted bass] in the morning and see if I can get a couple of two-pound spots to get the ball rolling,” said Foutz. “But I caught my biggest one out deeper so I’m going to make a few adjustments tomorrow.”
The predawn scene at Green Pond Landing on Lake Hartwell as hundreds of boats prowl the water and hundreds of spectators line the banks to watch the Bassmaster Classic anglers head out. (Photo: Richard Simms)
Things get more serious as the 7:30 take-off for the 2018 Bassmaster Classic grows closer for Jacob Foutz. (Photo: Richard Simms)
Some anglers saunter slowly out of the boats going to the weigh-in stage. Perhaps a little excited, Jacob Foutz leapt from his boat almost running to the scales with his bass. (Photo: Richard Simms)
Foutz’s school, Bryan College, was well-represented on the water and in the weigh-in arena. (Photo: Richard Simms)

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