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GREENVILLE, S.C. — The final day of the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on Lake Hartwell is shaping up to be a free-for-all with a handful of former Classic champions sitting atop the standings with the coveted trophy and $300,000 first-place prize well within their grasp.

Takahiro Omori, an Elite Series pro from Japan who now makes his home in Emory, Texas, caught five fish that weighed 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday and claimed the lead going into Sunday’s final round with a two-day total of 31-11.

The 2004 Classic winner holds a razor-thin lead over Elite Series pro Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. (31-9); 2003 Classic winner Michael Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J. (31-0); 2014 Classic winner Randy Howell of Springville, Ala. (30-11); and Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C. (29-14).

Blame it on the fish

deanrojas j5c2995 bass seigo saito

ANDERSON, S.C. – When the stakes are as high as they are at the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, a bad day can devastate an angler.

So you’d be inclined to think that Dean Rojas, the Classic’s Day 1 leader, would be licking his wounds after struggling to find a small limit on Day 2.

But you’d be wrong.

“I fished perfectly,” Rojas said soon after leaving the water Saturday afternoon. “I have no complaints about my performance.”

Blame it on the fish. They just didn’t bite for Rojas on Day 2. He fished the same way and in the same areas as Friday, but after weighing 21 pounds, 2 ounces on the weather-shortened first day, Read More

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Doesn’t it just figure that after the coldest day in the history of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, four anglers from warm, sunny climates are sitting atop the standings?

Elite Series pro Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., wowed the crowd at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., with five Lake Hartwell bass that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces despite frigid temperatures that were in the neighborhood of 10 degrees just before takeoff at Green Pond Landing in Anderson, S.C.

Rojas also overcame a 28-minute penalty as punishment for being late for check-in to Wednesday’s practice period.

He leads Bassmaster Elite Series pros Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., (20-2); Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, (18-8); and Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., (15-7).

“This is our biggest stage that we perform on, and to be able to catch a big bag like that on the first day is amazing,” Rojas said. “How could you script it any better than that? Obviously, I’d rather finish it that way. But hey, I’ll take it.”

The guy who got the least amount of fishing time on an already-shortened day 1 of the 2015 Bassmaster Classic returned to the launch with the heaviest bag.
Dean Rojas, the veteran from Arizona who's fished himself out of contention on opening day more than once in recent Classics, grabbed the early lead with a 21-02 stringer from South Carolina's Lake Hartwell on the coldest day in the event's history. He compiled that impressive bag despite having to remain at the dock for 28 minutes after the rest of the field had departed – a penalty for being 28 minutes late to check-in for Wednesday's final practice session.
"It's the best day I've ever had in the Classic, by far," he said. "It was absolutely a surprise – I didn't think I was on that kind of quality. I thought most of my fish were in the 3- to 3 1/2-pound range, not 4 to 5 pounds." Read more