Kimura has been here before

Two years ago, Kenta Kimura caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces to take the first day lead in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open at Grand Lake. Yesterday, Kimura did it again – this time with 21-14.

The 34-year-old pro from Osaka, Japan, knows as well as anyone that one day does not guarantee anything in a three-day tournament, especially at Grand Lake this time of year. In 2019, Kimura kept the lead on Day 2 with a limit weighing 14-4, but fell to 4th place on the final day with only three fish weighing 8-10.

“I just know the way it is on this lake at this time of year,” Kimura said Thursday. “I don’t want to do that again, for sure. This is the biggest opportunity of the year for me.”

Kimura was speaking of the chance to win this tournament and qualify for the 2022 Bassmaster Classic. He qualified for the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series through the Central Opens in 2020. He finished 69th in the Angler of the Year standings in his rookie season.

“I really don’t know what I’m going to do (Friday),” said Kimura after Thursday’s weigh-in. “I’ll probably go back to where I caught them for a few hours. But this is the same type of deal (as 2019) to me. I’ve got to keep looking.”