Big Afternoon Cull Helps Rivet Take Lead At Bassmaster Open On Sam Rayburn
JASPER, Texas —

Tyler Rivet already has secured spots in next year’s Bassmaster Elite Series and the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic. But Thursday, on Day 1 of the St. Croix Bassmaster Central Open at Sam Rayburn presented by Mossy Oak Fishing, Rivet fished like he needed to win to reach those lofty goals.

Rivet, a 28-year-old Elite Series pro from Raceland, La., caught a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 14 ounces. That gave him the early lead in the final Central Open of the season, whose winner will lock up a spot in the Classic scheduled for March 24-26 on the Tennessee River in Knoxville.

Rivet was a bit surprised at his good fortune on Day 1, considering he didn’t find anything spectacular during practice and never really established a pattern on Thursday. He chose instead to cover large swaths of the 114,000-acre reservoir and rely on his electronics to pinpoint the best bass.

The strategy, or lack thereof, was effective. It also might have been inevitable, given Rayburn is almost 6 feet below pool, which made fishing different — if not difficult — for many anglers on Day 1.

“It’s shallow out there,” Rivet said. “Everything is matted over, but you really can’t punch through the grass. So, I got away from the grass today ... I just covered water and LiveScoped all day.”

Rivet said slack winds and bright sunshine made for ideal conditions to scope fish. He leaned on finesse fishing most of the day, though his largest bass (6-13) came on a jerkbait at about 1:30 p.m.

“I was LiveScoping two little sticks,” he said. “I didn’t even see it. He came out of nowhere and ate it. I had one small one left that I needed to cull, so that big one let me pick up about a pound and a half.”

Rivet knows that because his catch on Thursday came from random places and on random lures, his fortune could quickly change on Friday. Still, he’s positioned himself for a solid showing, much like this year on the Elites, where he finished 25th in the Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. That showing cemented his spots on next year’s Elite circuit and the 2023 Classic.

“Hopefully I can go out there and hammer them again tomorrow,” he said.

A total of 372 competitors are in this week’s derby — 188 in the angler division and 184 more on the co-angler side. They are fishing for part of a $312,000 total cash purse that will be divided among the Top 40 anglers in each division, including $43,867 to the winning angler and $20,854 to the top co-angler.

Kyle Austin, of Ridgeville, S.C., is second in the angler field with a limit weighing 20-2, including a 7-12 largemouth which leads Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors. Garrett Paquette, of Canton, Mich., is third with 19-8.

In addition to the winner earning a spot in the 2023 Classic, six spots in the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series will be decided by the end of this tournament — three going to the anglers who finish atop the Central Open standings and three more to anglers placing highest in this year’s overall Bassmaster Opens points standings. This is the ninth and final Open of the year, with earlier Central Open stops at the Red River in Bossier City, La., and Ross Barnett Reservoir in Ridgeland, Miss.

Various possibilities remain as to which anglers get berths and how, which keeps the pressure on more than a few of the competitors at Rayburn.

In the co-angler field, Rondell Joseph, of Manvel, Texas, took the Day 1 lead with a three-bass limit weighing 9-5. Allen Heston, of Pittsburg, Texas, is second with 8-15 and Ross Bryant, of Alexandria, La., is third with 8-9.

Heston’s 6-2 was the heavy bass among co-anglers Thursday.

Co-anglers will fish again Friday with a champion being crowned after the Day 2 weigh-in. The Top 10 in the angler field will advance to fish for the tournament title on Saturday.

Day 2 begins Friday with a 7:15 a.m. CT takeoff from Umphrey Family Pavilion in Brookeland, Texas. Weigh-in is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.

Full coverage of the tournament can be found on and live coverage of Championship Saturday will be available on FS1 beginning at 7 a.m. CT.

The Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce is hosting this week’s events.