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UPDATED ACCOUNT (11 p.m.)–Gonna have to find a better field reporter. Gary Dobyns busted a near 4-pound largemouth, not a smallmouth as earlier reported. That changes the prognosis for me–Gary is definitely on the winning fish!

Gary Dobyns, though yet to win an Open, was hardly the surprise leader in the U.S. Open today (11.73 pounds) but perhaps no one figured he would anchor his catch with a 3.9-pound smallmouth. On the other hand, the standings are snug click here, and a 3-pounder in another sack could change the balance of power at the end of day two.

Several former winners, Justin Kerr, John Kerr and Rich Tauber (left) commented on the day.

Defending champion Justin Kerr of Simi Valley found a different lake this time around, but his 9.71 pounds put him in the top five. “I’m happy with what I caught,” he said. “For me, I never found a school (as he did in 2008). This year I’m fishing individual fish.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s not comfortable with what he has found. He told me this afternoon, “I had my limit by 8:30 and upgraded in the afternoon. I should be able to catch that weight a couple of days.”

Right behind him in the standings was John Kerr of Ramona with 9.53 pounds. The former Open champion said, “I’m not doing anything different than when I won. I’m throwing reaction all day. I don’t have a worm rod in my box.”

When I asked him about tomorrow, he said, “If the wind blows, I’ve got a shot.”

Another former winner, Rich Tauber of Woodland Hills checked in with 7.98 pounds, easily within a cast of the top five spots. “I’m fishing all alone,” he told me this evening, adding, “It’s very, very hard. It’s a bite every hour and a half, but they are the kind of bites you need to win.”

As for tomorrow, he said, “I do feel I can get similar results. But it’s going to be an absolute grinder.”

Tami monday mugOn the AAA side, Tami Curtis–Tami on tour– (today with pro Gary Moore of Orange) weighed in 6.17 pounds for four bass, so she still has a good chance at a check. For Tuesday she has drawn former 2-time winner Byron Velvick, which could bode well for the girl from Texas.

When asked about her day, Tami said, “I feel very good–it was better than I had done the last couple of days of prefish. With Byron, I feel real good about catching fish tomorrow.”