Kevin Hawk leads the Bassmaster Southern Open at Smith Lake after the first day. B.A.S.S. photo by James Overstreet.
The final B.A.S.S. Open of 2012 began yesterday at Smith Lake in Jasper, Alabama. Like the final Northern and Central Open events before it, this Southern Open finale has major ramifications for various anglers in terms of 2013 Bassmaster Classic qualifications and invitations to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series next year.
Kevin Hawk, who sprang into prominence in the bass fishing world in 2010 when he won the Forrest Wood Cub at Lake Lanier, leads the three-day event after one day of fishing. Hawk, who said he caught his fish a variety of ways, brought 16 pounds, 7 ounces to the scales on Day 1. Hawk has fished all three Southern Opens, so a win would earn him a berth in the Bassmaster Classic. Going into this weekend, he was second in the Southern Opens points race. Whether or not he notches the win, it will be interesting to see whether he takes a shot at the Elites in 2013 if he finishes high enough in the standings to get an invitation. He has fished the FLW Tour for the past four years (two as a pro and two before that as a co-angler).