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Chris Felty Of Idaho Leads On Noxon With Mixed Bag


TROUT CREEK, Mont. — Chris Felty’s day didn’t go as planned, but he’s OK with that. The Idaho angler found his groove on Montana’s Noxon Reservoir and now leads on Day 1 of the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional.

“This morning, I went to my No. 1 spot from practice,” said Felty of Caldwell, Idaho, “but all the good fish were gone. So I moved into current and just started looking for smallmouth.”

His Plan B paid off, and he brought in a bag of 13 pounds, 11 ounces, nearly a pound heavier than anyone else in the field.

“It was a grind to get my weight,” Felty said, but he managed it with a mixed bag of four smallmouth and one largemouth.

Felty has been a member of Boise Bass, an Idaho B.A.S.S. Nation club, for two years, and this is his first B.A.S.S. Nation divisional.

“I’ve never led a tournament before,” he said. “It’s tough. You can lose on the first day, but you can’t win on the first day.”

Now, Felty has pressure on him.

“I’m just going to go back and chase smallmouth tomorrow,” he said. “The water will get dirtier, so I have to have enough patience to get it going and wait for the bite to happen.”

Although no one is right on his heels, the rest of the anglers in the Top 12 have more than 12 pounds, so they’re not that far back. Half the field caught five-fish limits, and a handful of the anglers weighed in bass on Day 1 that exceeded 3 pounds. His 1-pound margin is healthy but doesn’t give him much wiggle room.

Felty’s overall lead helped his state team to a second-place standing after Day 1. Idaho has a cumulative weight of 106 pounds, 5 ounces, and throughout the weigh-in, it swapped the top spot back and forth with Montana. Montana, the host state, ultimately ended the day in first place with 114 pounds.

“Last time we hosted the divisional, we didn’t do that well,” said Curtis Spindler, Montana B.A.S.S. Nation president. “We had good anglers then, and we have good anglers now. So we’re going to try our best to win this time.”

In the lead for Montana is Tim Johnston of Kalispell, Mont., who won the top spot on Montana’s team last year and went on to compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic after winning the West at the national championship. He’s vying for another top spot and potential trip to the Classic.

“I still can’t get over the fact that I was in the Classic,” said Johnston. “I had dreams about it for three weeks afterward. I want to go back.”

If Johnston maintains his lead for Montana, he’ll compete in the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Louisiana’s Ouachita River, Nov. 6-8. Currently on deck to join him are Felty for Idaho; Eric Hammer, Arizona; Dwayne Fochler, California; Scott Sheldon, Colorado; Kevin Wiggins, Nevada; Kyle Price, New Mexico; Michael Gibney, Oregon; Don Allphin, Utah; Mitch Ratchford, Washington; and Bill Golightly, Wyoming.

The biggest bass on Day 1 was a 5-4 caught by second-place Mitch Ratchford of Kennewick, Wash. If his bass holds up, he’ll earn Carhartt Big Bass honors for the tournament.

On Thursday, will continue coverage of the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional. Takeoff is at Lakeside Motel and Resort Boat Launch in Trout Creek, Mont., at 6 a.m. MT. The weigh-in is in the same place at 2 p.m. MT. Competition concludes on Friday, May 23.

2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: Boat US, Booyah, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Plano, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

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