LA CROSSE, Wis. — Florida native Kyle Fox must have some Northern blood coursing through his angler veins.
As he led the Mississippi River Rumble on Thursday with 16 pounds, 8 ounces, the Bassmaster Elite Series rookie from Lakeland, Fla., was reminded that he tied down his Elite qualification in 2011 by excelling on northern fisheries like Lake Erie and New York’s Lake Oneida.
Fox, 24, added the Mississippi River to that list by beating 97 other anglers on a river he’d never before competed on, and first saw three days ago.
“I think I am so limited with what I know about a place I fish the first time, I have to go with what I do best,” he said. That, he said, was to hit the river’s shallow grassy backwaters, not so unlike what he was weaned on in Florida.
Fox led the Rumble by 3 ounces over Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., in second place with 16-5. Fox was ahead of the Top 5 by less than 1 pound: Grant Goldbeck of Boerne, Texas, with 16-0; Billy McCaghren of Mayflower, Ark., with 15-11; and Greg Hackney of Star City, AR., with 15-10.
The spread between first and 49th place — the cutoff after Day 2 — was even tighter. Just 3 pounds, 11 ounces, separated Fox from 49th place, a position shared by five pros.
2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Mississippi River Rumble – Day 1
Angler of the Year