By A Drop


JASPER, Texas Talk about your tight races.

With the top two numbers more reminiscent of Olympic figure skating scores than most bass tournament weights, the first day of the McDonald's Big Bass Classic has the top two anglers only .01 of a pound apart.

Danny Abbott of Huntington, Texas, holds the lead with 9.48-pound lunker, which won the $1,000 prize for largest fish in the 7 a.m.-8 a.m. hour.

Jeff Ashen of Livingston, Texas, came in three hours later with a 9.47-pounder, also good for $1,000.

Abbott and Ashen have the top two weights among the 4,000 anglers plying the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir hoping to take home the top prizes of a Dodge truck and Triton boat.

The Big Bass Splash, in its 24th year, is awarding two Dodge trucks, six Triton bass boats, travel trailers, Bad Boy Buggies and cash totaling more than $560,000.

Abbott and Ashen will have to sweat out the next two days, or go catch a bigger fish, to take home the grand prize, but they already have a grand. Cash prizes from $1,000 to $200 are awarded hourly from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the largest 12 bass brought in.