WADDINGTON — After one day of the Bassmaster Elite Tournament at the St. Lawrence River, the Johnston brothers are right where they want to be, near the top of the standings.

The brothers, Cory and Chris, caught five fish that weighed 23 pounds, 7 ounces Thursday and are tied for second place after the first day of competition. After today’s second round, the field will be cut to 45 before the final two rounds of the weekend.

Both Johnstons consider this to be a home event as they live in Ontario, Canada.

The first-day leader is Bernie Schultz, a 66-year-old from Gainesville, Fla., who caught a total of 25-5. He finished 15th at last year’s event in Clayton at 56-12.

“It started quick,” Schultz said of his day. “It’s been a long time. I’ve been struggling this year. It’s been a lean year. I found the spot. It’s near where I fished last year. I caught a four-pounder really quick.”

Chris Johnston, who turned 32 on Tuesday, lives in Peterborough, and is the event’s defending champion, catching fish that weighed a total of 97-8 last year.

“This is probably my favorite place to fish,” he said. “I’m excited to come here, regardless of whether I’m defending or not. I have fun here and it’s one of the best fisheries in the world. They are not built like this anywhere else in the world. I was hoping to get 22 pounds and I got a little more than that. I was thrilled with that for sure.”

Cory Johnston, 36, lives in Cavan, and finished seventh last year at 80-9.

“It was a good day,” Cory said. “Any day you can weigh 23 pounds out here, that’s definitely a good start. We thought that 22 pounds a day would do it. We are right on pace for where we need to be. It’s three more long days and the weather changes every day, so we’ll see what happens. This place just sets up the way we like to fish and it’s the closest place in the elite series we’ll ever come to where we live. We fish a lot on the Canadian side, but we obviously can’t fish there this week. We did what we could and we’ll see what happens the next few days.”

The Johnstons are close, but they also have a sibling rivalry that carries over to fishing.

“We’re extremely competitive,” Cory Johnston said. “It doesn’t matter if we are fishing, playing cards, doing whatever. It’s competitive. We work together out there and we cheer for each other.”

Said Chris Johnston, “It’s always competitive between us. The odds of us being tied are crazy, that’s for sure. (Last year) was crazy and unbelievable. I’d love to do it again for sure.”

Another angler of interest this weekend is 36-year-old Seth Feider of New Market, Minn., who is in fifth after day one with a 22-0 total. He needs only to finish 55th or above to earn enough points to win the Angler of the Year title. If he makes the weekend cut that will guarantee him the award.

“I was super nervous until now,” Feider said. “I did not have good practices. I shouldn’t need much weight (today). If I make the Saturday cut it’s mathematically over. I don’t know what we will need (today). I was settling for 16 today but got 22. That will put me at about 10 or 12 pounds to make it.”

Day one results

1. Bernie Schultz (25 pounds-5 ounces); 2T. Chris Johnston (23-7), Cory Johnston (23-7); 4. Caleb Sumrall (22-2); 5. Seth Feider (22-0); 6T. Stetson Blaylock (21-12), Clark Wendlandt (21-12); 8T. Justin Atkins (21-6), Gerald Swindle (21-6); 10. Brandon Cobb (21-1); 11. David Mullins (20-13); 12. Brandon Palaniuk (20-11); 13. Darold Gleason (20-10); 14. Marc Frazier (20-5); 15. Austin Felix (20-0); 16. Garrett Paquette (19-10); 17T. Greg Hackney (19-7), Bryan Schmitt (19-7); 19T. Justin Hamner (19-5), Joshua Stracner (19-5); 21. Bob Downey (19-4); 22. Harvey Horne (19-3); 23. Chris Groh (19-2); 24. Chad Pipkens (19-1); 25. Derek Hudnall (18-14); 26. Bill Weidler (18-9); 27. Scott Canterbury (18-8); 28. Hunter Shryock (18-7); 29. Jay Yelas (18-6); 30T. Hank Cherry Jr. (18-5), Jeff Gustafson (18-5), Steven Kennedy (18-5); 33T. Micah Frazier (18-3), Brock Mosley (18-3); 35. Bryan New (18-2); 26. Kelley Jaye (18-1); 37. Drew Cook (18-0); 38. Taku Itu (17-15); 39T. John Crews Jr. (17-14), Kyle Welcher (17-14); 41. Todd Auten (17-12); 42. Brad Whatley (17-11); 43. Robbie Latuso (17-10); 44. Koby Kreiger (17-6); 45. Rob Digh (17-5).

(Below Saturday cut line)

46. Buddy Gross (17-3), 47. Jason Williamson (17-2); 48. Luke Palmer (16-14); 49, Shane LeHew (16-13); 50. Ray Hanselman Jr. (16-11); 51T. Gregory DiPalma (16-7), Brandon Lester (16-7), Kyle Monti (16-7); 54. Randy Sullivan (16-4); 55. Yusuke Miyazaki (16-3); 56. Shane Lineberger (16-2); 57. Keith Combs (16-1); 58. Carl Jocumsen (15-13); 59. Caleb Kuphall (15-12); 60. Cliff Prince (15-9); 51. Mark Menendez (15-8); 62T. Jason Christie (15-7), David Fritts (15-7); 64. Wes Logan (15-6); 65. Quentin Cap (15-3); 66. Destin DeMarion (15-2); 67. Matt Arey (15-0); 68. Bill Lowen (14-15); 69. Ed Loughran III (14-14); 70. Brian Snowden (14-13); 71T. Brandon Card (14-12), Skylar Hamilton (14-12); 73T. Frank Talley (14-9), Jake Whitaker (14-9); 75T. Lee Livesay (14-4), Chad Morgenthaler (14-4); 77. Tyler Rivet (14-1); 78T. Mike Huff (13-14), Clifford Perch (13-14); 80. Matt Herren (13-13); 81. Chris Zaldain (13-11); 82T. Cody Hollen (13-10), Paul Mueller (13-10); 84. Jamie Hartman (13-9), 85. Scott Martin (13-2); 86. Randy Pierson (13-1); 87. Rick Clunn (12-11); 88. Pat Schlapper (12-9); 89. Kenta Kimura (10-8); 90. Matt Robertson (9-14); 91. Patrick Walters (9-1); 92. K.J. Queen (9-0); 93. Dale Hightower (6-15); 94. Drew Benton (2-3).

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

sportswriter

Have been with the WDT since the last week of December in 1993. Cover Clarkson and SLU men's and women's hockey, as well as other sports at those schools and SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton. Also cover Northern Athletic Conference high school sports

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