David Williams of Maiden leads the BASS Southern Open after the first day on Lake Norman with a five-fish limit that weighed 14 pounds, 1 ounce. 

“The bass were active the first hour,” said Williams, whose catch consisted of four spotted bass and one largemouth said. “I had my limit by 8 a.m. It got tougher after the sun came out, but I did cull four times.”

Williams leads Richard Howes of Oviedo, Fla., by only 6 ounces. Howes’ kicker largemouth weighed 4 pounds, 5 ounces and was the big bass on the first of the three days of competition.

Chad Morgenthaler of Coultetville, Ill., is in third place, only 3 ounces behind Howes. 

“Several of the guys in the Top 12 are fishing in the same area I am,” Morgenthaler said. “That could make it tougher for all of us tomorrow.”

Leading the co-angler division is North Carolina’s Trey Brown. He boated a three-bass limit early in the day that weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Then he spent the rest of the day experimenting with other techniques that might help him Friday.

Three other “local” pros are in the top 10: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., fourth with 13-2; Doug Easton of Huntersville, fifth with 12-11; and Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, eighth with 12-2.

A famous name that cracked the top 10 on Thursday was Roland Martin of Clewiston, Fla., who caught a five-fish limit that weighed 11-13, leaving him tied for ninth.

The second-day weigh-in on Friday will be at 3 p.m. at Blythe Landing on Lake Norman. The final-day weigh-in on Saturday will be at 4 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops in Concord.