2011 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #3 Douglas Lake - Jefferson County, TN, Jun 2 - 4, 2011

Expect good weights at Douglas Lake Open

I’m in Columbus making signs and bored out of my mind. My boat’s in the shop. It rains every day. Things are so bad I couldn’t fish my beloved Tuesday night tournament. To pass the time, I’ve been reading Bassmaster.com — every article several times — and generally familiarizing myself with the new layout.

That’s not a bad thing. But it’s not the real thing, either. I have to say, though, that I found the preview coverage of the upcoming Open on Douglas to be interesting. I was down there last week. I can hardly believe what I found.

First, let me tell you how my weekend started. I arrived a little after daylight on Saturday morning. As I was driving around looking for a place to launch — the ramps were full — I noticed someone following me. When I stopped, this fellow got out of his car to ask if I would emcee a charity tournament. Of course, I said "Yes."

It was organized by an outfit called Tournaments for Charity. (I think that’s what they said. If I’m wrong, I apologize in advance.) They hold fishing tournaments and give a part of the money to a particular charity. In this case it was to help autistic children.

It cut into my fishing time, but it was well worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. We need to do everything possible to promote our sport. Things like that push professional bass fishing into a positive spotlight. That’s good for all of us, professionals and amateurs alike.

As I was leaving, Fletcher Shryock came up and introduced himself. I expressed surprise to see him. He explained he was prefishing, getting ready for the Open next week. He wants to prove that his previous win wasn’t a fluke, that he’s a for real competitive angler.

That attitude’s refreshing. He already has a guaranteed spot at next year’s Classic, but he has no intention of resting on his laurels. We need more guys like him around. They set an example for everyone. I really hope he does well and makes a big time career for himself.

All I can say about the fishing down there is this: Stand by for the weights that’ll cross the scales next week. At this charity tournament there were no more than 20 boats. There was one 20 pound sack and two or three others in the high teens. Ott DeFoe and David Walker are right. It’s going to take a ton of bass to win this one.

I’m not saying that the same guy will weigh a bag that heavy every day. That’s not likely. The water’s really high, and the fish are more scattered than you’d expect. That’ll hold the weights down. Still, the final tally is going to surprise a lot of people.

Bass fishing around the country is better than it has ever been in my lifetime. Take advantage of it.

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