FLORENCE, Ala. — Wil Dieffenbauch was the second-to-last boater to weigh in on Day 1 of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, but he’s first on the leaderboard.

Dieffenbauch, 33, of Morgantown, W.Va., caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 4 ounces to seize the early lead in this three-day event in northeast Alabama.

Wil Dieffenbauch of Morgantown, W.Va.., is leading after Day 1 of the 2022 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Pickwick Lake with 15 pounds, 4 ounces.
Photo by Chase Sansom/B.A.S.S.

Not that Dieffenbauch’s day started with a bang. He went to what he thought was his best spot as soon as he took off Wednesday morning, but with his late draw, two boats were already positioned there. Dieffenbauch tooled around the same general area for two hours with little production before deciding to scrap the spot and look for something better.

It was a wise move.

“I stayed shallow in a 3-mile section of water,” he said. “There was a good amount of wind blowing today which helped me and there’s bait everywhere, at least where I am.”

Dieffenbauch said he caught his best bass on a lure he makes. That was the only detail he was sharing for the time being, though.

“I’ve been making it for a long time, and it’s taken me a long time to perfect it,” he said.

While many of the 100-plus competing anglers struggled mightily on Pickwick, Dieffenbauch said a 2-foot drop in water overnight didn’t affect his bite. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pulling water on Pickwick currently to get the 47,500-acre impoundment down to winter pool.

“I didn’t even notice a difference, really,” Dieffenbauch said. “I actually saw more shad popping today than I did in practice.”

Will Davis Jr. of Sylacauga, Ala., held the lead for most of the afternoon but dropped to second after Dieffenbauch charged from behind in the waning minutes of the weigh-in. Davis, 30, weighed a 13-13 limit with his two biggest bass coming later in the afternoon on a Davis Bait Company Shaky Fish — a lure his family makes.

“I only had three fish at 1:20 (p.m.), but then I pulled into a different area and caught those two big ones,” he said. “One weighed 3-14 and the other was a largemouth that was a 3 1/2-pounder.

“It was just a lot of different things today,” Davis continued, noting that two earlier keepers came on a spinnerbait and another on a swim jig. “You have to keep the faith and keep on grinding. Today’s a day when you could easily spin out (mentally).”

Kris Bosley of Amarillo, Texas, certainly is within striking distance, ending Day 1 in third place among boaters with a 13-4 limit.

“I had five keepers today on five keeper bites using five different baits,” Bosley said. “It was typical fall fishing. You just have to fish what’s in front of you; cover water. I’ve got two large areas and I’m just picking everything I can apart. There’s not a lot of cover, but I’m fishing riprap, grass, a channel ledge … being around bait is the whole key.”

Tim Talento of Meriden, Conn., is in fourth place after catching a limit that weighed 12-15. He used a myriad of baits but said his catches came “running across fish” rather than a particular pattern. He’s targeting largemouth, saying his smallmouth bite was too sporadic in practice.

“It’s a real grind out there,” Talento said. “I must have made 10,000 casts and I covered a lot of water. I have a couple of small spots that have been producing, and I lost a couple key fish today that would have really helped me out.”

Doug Thompson, of Mabelvale, Ark., caught a 4-15 to grab the early lead for the Big Bass Award and the $1,000 cash prize that goes with it.

The Top 3 anglers in the tournament will qualify for the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic scheduled for March 24-26 on the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tenn. The overall winner on Pickwick also will earn an invitation to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series for 2023 and the use of a fully-rigged Nation’s Best boat for the year.

A total of 58 pros and 56 nonboaters are competing in the event. Only five boaters caught limits on Wednesday and no nonboaters caught a three-bass limit.

 

David Porter, of Rockwall, Texas, caught two bass and leads all nonboaters with a 6-5 total. Pheerayout See of Rochester, Minn., is second with 6-3 and JJ Dickens of Beaver, W.Va., is third with 5-12.

Porter is in the lead for the $500 Big Bass among nonboaters with a 4-6.

The Top 12 anglers in both divisions will claim cash prizes, with $20,000 cash going to the top boater and $10,000 to the leading nonboater.

The full field will compete again Thursday, with the nonboater champion being crowned after the Day 2 weigh-in. The Top 10 boaters will advance to Day 3, as will the two leading boaters from each of the five B.A.S.S. Nation regions (if not already in the Top 10), the nonboater champion and any nonboaters that have enough weight to be among the Top 10 boaters overall.

Day 2 competition will begin Thursday at McFarland Park at 6 a.m. CT. Weigh-in is scheduled for 2 p.m. Follow all the action on Bassmaster.com.
The 2022 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship is being hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism.

 

2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Title Sponsor: TNT Fireworks

2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Strike King, Triton Boats, VMC

 

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, 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 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, 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, St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series presented by Mossy Oak Fishing, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship, Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.

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2022 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship 11/9-11/11
Pickwick Lake, Florence  AL.
(BOATER) Standings Day 1

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

1.  Wil Dieffenbauch       Morgantown, WV           5  15-04    0
Day 1: 5   15-04
2.  Will Davis Jr          Sylacauga, AL            5  13-13    0
Day 1: 5   13-13
3.  Kris Bosley            Amarillo, TX             5  13-04    0
Day 1: 5   13-04
4.  Tim Talento            Meriden, CT              5  12-15    0
Day 1: 5   12-15
5.  Mike Wolfenden         Warwick, RI              4  12-14    0
Day 1: 4   12-14
6.  Jonathan Dietz         Corry, PA                4  11-08    0
Day 1: 4   11-08
7.  Nick Uebelhor          Jasper, IN               4  11-00    0
Day 1: 4   11-00
8.  Brian Jones            Conroe, TX               5  08-08    0
Day 1: 5   08-08
9.  Doug Thompson          Mabelvale, AR            2  08-04    0
Day 1: 2   08-04
10. Jeremy Montgomery      Overland Park, KS        2  06-14    0
Day 1: 2   06-14
11. Jared Knuth            Wahoo, NE                2  06-10    0
Day 1: 2   06-10
12. Cole Findley           Forsyth, MO              3  06-09    0
Day 1: 3   06-09
13. Marco Burighel         Pianiga VE ITALY         3  06-07    0
Day 1: 3   06-07
14. Tanner Bock            Davenport, IA            3  06-06    0
Day 1: 3   06-06
15. Amos Dixon             Camden Wyoming, DE       3  06-03    0
Day 1: 3   06-03
15. Keegan Graves          Meridian, ID             3  06-03    0
Day 1: 3   06-03
17. Aaron Orsi             Millbury, MA             2  05-01    0
Day 1: 2   05-01
18. Joe Johnson            Clarksville, TN          2  04-15    0
Day 1: 2   04-15
19. Timothy Dube           Nashua , NH              1  04-13    0
Day 1: 1   04-13
20. Ramsey Romanin         Wolcott, CO              2  04-01    0
Day 1: 2   04-01
21. Monty Fralick          Martin, SD               2  03-14    0
Day 1: 2   03-14
22. Brad Brodnicki         Buffalo, NY              2  03-12    0
Day 1: 2   03-12
23. Jurgen Geiger          Windhoek Namibia NAMIBI  1  03-11    0
Day 1: 1   03-11
24. Matt Martin            Brookhaven, MS           2  03-08    0
Day 1: 2   03-08
25. Justy Varkevisser      Johannesburg Gauteng SO  1  03-07    0
Day 1: 1   03-07
26. Eddie Levin            Westerville, OH          1  02-10    0
Day 1: 1   02-10
26. Brent Tullis           Tyrone, GA               1  02-10    0
Day 1: 1   02-10
28. Frank Scarla           Amity, OR                1  02-09    0
Day 1: 1   02-09
28. Brent Shores           Boise, ID                1  02-09    0
Day 1: 1   02-09
30. JJ Gibbs IV            Lake Havasu City, AZ     1  02-08    0
Day 1: 1   02-08
30. Thomas Waltz           St. Albans, VT           1  02-08    0
Day 1: 1   02-08
32. Brandon Pedigo         Lawton, OK               1  02-06    0
Day 1: 1   02-06
33. Matty Wong             Honolulu, HI             1  02-05    0
Day 1: 1   02-05
34. Matt Judy              Moncks Corner, SC        1  02-02    0
Day 1: 1   02-02
35. Conor Cahill           North East, MD           1  02-01    0
Day 1: 1   02-01
35. Paul Gietka            Abingdon, MD             1  02-01    0
Day 1: 1   02-01
37. Barry Launder          Harare Chisipt ZIMBABWE  1  02-00    0
Day 1: 1   02-00
37. Frankie Mueller        Kingman, AZ              1  02-00    0
Day 1: 1   02-00
39. Tim Carmouche          Gonzales, LA             1  01-14    0
Day 1: 1   01-14
39. James Graves III       Syria, VA                1  01-14    0
Day 1: 1   01-14
39. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               1  01-14    0
Day 1: 1   01-14
42. Justin Campbell        Pasco, WA                1  01-12    0
Day 1: 1   01-12
42. Danny McGarry          Newcastle CANADA         1  01-12    0
Day 1: 1   01-12
44. Nicholas Holt          Ellsworth, ME            1  01-11    0
Day 1: 1   01-11
45. Jorge Barraza          Col Juan de Dios Batiz   0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Michael Boggs II       Wheelersburg, OH         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Ruben Burgos Yecora    Agoncillo SPAIN          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Nuno Cesar             Montemor-o-novo PORTUGA  0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Kenneth Cleveland      Bakersfield, CA          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Chris Fredrick         Marshfield, WI           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Kurt Glass             Grovetown, GA            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Steve Lee              Minneapolis, MN          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Joel Leiser            Kalispell, MT            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Dan Mundy              Swartz Creek, MI         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Pete Saele             New Lenox, IL            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Dave Turner            Citrus Springs, FL       0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. David Winters          Rock Hill, SC            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
45. Kentaro Yamada         Osaka JAPAN              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1         5        92       230-14
———————————-
5        92       230-14
2022 TNT TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship 11/9-11/11
Pickwick Lake, Florence  AL.
(NON_BOATER) Standings Day 1

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

1.  David Porter           Rockwall, TX             2  06-05    0
Day 1: 2   06-05
2.  Pheerayout See         Rochester, MN            2  06-03    0
Day 1: 2   06-03
3.  JJ Dickens             Beaver, WV               2  05-12    0
Day 1: 2   05-12
4.  Ray Cates              Overland Park, KS        2  05-02    0
Day 1: 2   05-02
5.  JT Fitzgerald          Lincoln, DE              2  04-00    0
Day 1: 2   04-00
6.  Jon Pollock            Lakewood, CO             1  03-08    0
Day 1: 1   03-08
7.  Grant Aumiller         Trout Creek, MT          2  03-07    0
Day 1: 2   03-07
8.  Dwight Minogue         Benton, LA               2  03-05    0
Day 1: 2   03-05
9.  Bailey Madere          Madisonville, LA         1  03-03    0
Day 1: 1   03-03
10. Eric Frazier           Newport, VA              1  02-13    0
Day 1: 1   02-13
11. Colton Haney           Baldwin, WI              1  02-12    0
Day 1: 1   02-12
12. Luis Jimenez           Calahorra SPAIN          1  02-10    0
Day 1: 1   02-10
12. Tim Meeks              Elk Grove, CA            1  02-10    0
Day 1: 1   02-10
14. Tom Leblanc Jr         Omaha, NE                1  02-08    0
Day 1: 1   02-08
14. Jacob Zaremski         Rochester, NY            1  02-08    0
Day 1: 1   02-08
16. Brandon Logue          Greenwood, NE            1  02-07    0
Day 1: 1   02-07
17. Anthony Dulac          Harpswell, ME            1  02-01    0
Day 1: 1   02-01
18. Kristopher Gaertner    Morris, IL               1  01-14    0
Day 1: 1   01-14
19. David Eades            Lexington, KY            1  01-11    0
Day 1: 1   01-11
20. Scott McNeely          Acworth , GA             1  01-08    0
Day 1: 1   01-08
20. Kenji Suzuki           Aichi JAPAN              1  01-08    0
Day 1: 1   01-08
22. David Bertsch          Harrison, ID             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Jacob Bull             Seymour, TN              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Johnny Clark           Northport, AL            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Nigel Dalton           West Haven, UT           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Colten Didion          Mount Vernon, OH         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Lanny Dooley           Mountain Home, AR        0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Neil Engelbrecht       Windhoek Khomas NAMIBIA  0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Matthew Furtado        Attleboro, MA            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Josh Giran             Elizabeth, PA            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Matt Goltz             Monona, IA               0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Francesco Guazzi       Modena ITALY             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Eric Hammer            Peoria, AZ               0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Tyler Hatfield         Augusta, MI              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Devin Hines            West Haven, CT           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. James Hollingshead     Clarkston, WA            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Jonathan Lee           Honea Path, SC           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Brian Marino           Vineland, NJ             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Lewis Mendall          Winthrop, MA             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Jesus Morales          Apodaca Nuevo Leon  MEX  0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Hieu Nguyen            Stillwater, OK           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Andrew Nienaber        Cape Town Western Cape   0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Peter Owen             Barnstead, NH            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Terry Peterson         West Jordan, UT          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Tristan Pierce         Hollister, MO            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Paulo Ramos            STA-Clara PORTUGAL       0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Tracy Rich             North Bay CANADA         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Ricky Schlauch         Chester, MD              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Garrett Sicely         Albany, VT               0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Michael Smith          Laurel Hill, FL          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Dustin Sortor          Lafayette, OR            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Fraser Speirs          Harare ZIMBABWE          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Keith Thompson         Mooresville, NC          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Jeff Wehner            Fishers, IN              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Darren Wilson          Las Vegas, NV            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
22. Terry Wilson           Carlsbad, NM             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1         0        28        67-11
———————————-
0        28        67-11