GEORGETOWN, S.C. — Forgoing a long run to the presumed big-bass “promised land” of the Cooper River, South Carolina’s Jason Williamson remained close to the takeoff site and found the right bites to amass a five-bass limit of 15 pounds, 11 ounces which leads Day 1 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay.

While over half the field committed to a hour-plus run south along the Intracoastal Waterway, through Charleston Harbor and into the Cooper River and surrounding waterways, Williamson stayed in the Waccamaw River and played his time-management strategy to perfection. Essential to his plan was a thorough and persistent approach.

“A lot of guys are running the bank and flipping. You have some fish that are spawning supershallow. You have some postspawners that are done. And you have some that haven’t spawned yet,” Williamson said. “What I’m doing is trying to get the best of all three worlds in one area.

“I’m fishing shallow, I’m backing out and fishing deeper and I’m doing some midrange stuff too. A lot of guys are buzzing through an area, catching what’s aggressive and then going. I caught what was aggressive, then I backed out and got a few more bites. Adjusting throughout the day was key for me today.”

Williamson threw a mix of flipping baits, topwaters and finesse baits. The right area, he said, was one with greater depth than surrounding backwater spots. This allows the fish comfortable postspawn habitat, which keeps them in the area longer.

“Some of these backwaters have 12 to 15 feet of depth, and those fish move up and down with the tide; they adjust throughout the day,” Williamson said. “I was able to move with them in one area.”

The area Williamson fished had a mix of lily pads, docks, wood and some rock. This diversity ensured significant forage to hold quality fish.

Williamson’s catch included a 6-10 largemouth that leads the $1,500 Phoenix Boats Big Bass award competition. BASSTrakk had reflected a 5-pounder on his catch record, but Williamson admits the thrill of the moment caused him to underestimate.

“I caught her this morning pretty early and I was so excited I put her in the livewell and didn’t really realize she was that big,” Williamson said. “I thought she was 5- to 5 1/2 pounds, so it was a pleasant surprise.

“You look at the weights here through history and you think ‘I don’t know if it’s possible to catch that kind of weight fishing where I’m fishing. But after today, I have a lot more confidence that there are some bigger fish that live here than I thought.”

In second place, Hunter Shryock also stayed local, committing his day to the Santee River and securing a limit that weighed 15-8. He caught his bass by flipping a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss around cypress trees.

The problem he faced was recent releases from Santee Cooper Lakes pushed a tremendous amount of water into the river and raised the level about 3 feet since his last day of practice. This eliminated many of his spots, but he was able to dial in one viable area.

“The good thing about this one area is that the higher water has the fish penned into one spot where I can reach them,” Shryock said. “If the water gets much higher, it will push them too far into the (shoreline cover), and I won’t be able to reach them. I might end up running to the Cooper River tomorrow.”

In third place, Luke Palmer made the run to the Cooper River and returned with a limit that weighed 14-2. Palmer is using an undisclosed mix of reaction baits and slower presentations. For him, the day’s stiff east wind created a challenge for his preferred game plan.

“I wish the tide would have gone out a little more than it did,” he said. “I really like for the tide to come on out and get down that drain so I can pinpoint them a lot easier. I’m staying in drains with hydrilla, and that’s the difference.”

Rounding out the Top 5 are Indiana pro Bill Lowen with 13-4 and Alabamian Clent Davis with 12-14.

The tournament will resume Friday with takeoff at 7 a.m. ET from Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex. Weigh-in will be held at the same location at 3:15 p.m.

Only the Top 35 anglers will advance after Friday’s second round.

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2019 Bassmaster Elite At Winyah Bay Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors:  Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors

Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay Host Sponsor: Georgetown County

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 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, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

                      2019 Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay 4/11-4/14
                               Winyah Bay, Georgetown  SC.
                            (PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  15-11  100
  Day 1: 5   15-11
2.  Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH        5  15-08   99
  Day 1: 5   15-08
3.  Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             5  14-02   98
  Day 1: 5   14-02
4.  Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  13-04   97
  Day 1: 5   13-04
5.  Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  12-14   96
  Day 1: 5   12-14
6.  Garrett Paquette       Canton, MI               5  12-08   95
  Day 1: 5   12-08
7.  Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  12-06   94
  Day 1: 5   12-06
8.  Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  12-01   93
  Day 1: 5   12-01
9.  Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL            5  11-15   92
  Day 1: 5   11-15
10. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  11-13   91
  Day 1: 5   11-13
11. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  11-06   90
  Day 1: 5   11-06
12. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC          5  11-04   89
  Day 1: 5   11-04
13. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA             5  11-02   88
  Day 1: 5   11-02
14. Greg DiPalma           Millville, NJ            5  11-01   87
  Day 1: 5   11-01
15. Jesse Tacoronte        Kissimmee, FL            5  10-14   86
  Day 1: 5   10-14
15. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             5  10-14   86
  Day 1: 5   10-14
17. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              5  10-11   84
  Day 1: 5   10-11
18. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  10-09   83
  Day 1: 5   10-09
18. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  10-09   83
  Day 1: 5   10-09
20. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  10-07   81
  Day 1: 5   10-07
21. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  09-15   80
  Day 1: 5   09-15
21. Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             5  09-15   80
  Day 1: 5   09-15
23. Rob Digh               Denver, NC               5  09-13   78
  Day 1: 5   09-13
23. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  09-13   78
  Day 1: 5   09-13
25. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  09-11   76
  Day 1: 5   09-11
26. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  09-10   75
  Day 1: 5   09-10
27. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  09-09   74
  Day 1: 5   09-09
27. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  09-09   74
  Day 1: 5   09-09
29. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  09-05   72
  Day 1: 5   09-05
29. Dale Hightower         Mannford, OK             5  09-05   72
  Day 1: 5   09-05
31. Matt Arey              Shelby, NC               5  08-15   70
  Day 1: 5   08-15
32. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  08-14   69
  Day 1: 5   08-14
33. Seth Feider            New Market, MN           5  08-13   68
  Day 1: 5   08-13
34. Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                 5  08-11   67
  Day 1: 5   08-11
35. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  08-10   66
  Day 1: 5   08-10
35. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  08-10   66
  Day 1: 5   08-10
37. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL               4  08-10   64
  Day 1: 4   08-10
38. Randy Pierson          Oakdale, CA              5  08-08   63
  Day 1: 5   08-08
39. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            5  08-07   62
  Day 1: 5   08-07
40. Drew Cook              Midway, FL               5  08-05   61
  Day 1: 5   08-05
41. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  08-03   60
  Day 1: 5   08-03
42. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  08-02   59
  Day 1: 5   08-02
43. Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA  5  07-13   58
  Day 1: 5   07-13
44. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  07-11   57
  Day 1: 5   07-11
44. Lee Livesay            Gladewater, TX           5  07-11   57
  Day 1: 5   07-11
44. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           5  07-11   57
  Day 1: 5   07-11
47. Brad Whatley           Bivins, TX               5  07-07   54
  Day 1: 5   07-07
48. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY               5  07-06   53
  Day 1: 5   07-06
49. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  07-05   52
  Day 1: 5   07-05
50. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              4  07-05   51
  Day 1: 4   07-05
51. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          5  07-02   50
  Day 1: 5   07-02
51. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  07-02   50
  Day 1: 5   07-02
53. Chris Johnston         Peterborough Ontario CA  5  07-01   48
  Day 1: 5   07-01
54. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  06-15   47
  Day 1: 5   06-15
54. Derek Hudnall          Baton Rouge, LA          5  06-15   47
  Day 1: 5   06-15
56. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  5  06-11   45
  Day 1: 5   06-11
57. Clark Wendlandt        Leander, TX              5  06-09   44
  Day 1: 5   06-09
58. Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX           5  06-08   43
  Day 1: 5   06-08
59. Randy Sullivan         Breckenridge, TX         5  06-07   42
  Day 1: 5   06-07
60. Quentin Cappo          Prairieville, LA         5  06-05   41
  Day 1: 5   06-05
61. Ed Loughran III        Richmond, VA             5  06-04   40
  Day 1: 5   06-04
62. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  06-03   39
  Day 1: 5   06-03
62. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  06-03   39
  Day 1: 5   06-03
64. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               4  06-01   37
  Day 1: 4   06-01
65. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          4  05-13   36
  Day 1: 4   05-13
66. Jay Yelas              Lincoln City, OR         5  05-12   35
  Day 1: 5   05-12
67. Chris Groh             Spring Grove, IL         4  04-11   34
  Day 1: 4   04-11
68. Gary Clouse            Winchester, TN           2  04-09   33
  Day 1: 2   04-09
69. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               3  04-05   32
  Day 1: 3   04-05
70. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  2  04-00   31
  Day 1: 2   04-00
71. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           2  03-03   30
  Day 1: 2   03-03
72. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           1  03-01   29
  Day 1: 1   03-01
73. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           1  01-09   28
  Day 1: 1   01-09
74. Harvey Horne           Bella Vista, AR          1  01-06   27
  Day 1: 1   01-06
75. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00
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Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        62       342       631-04
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          62       342       631-04