Here at Red River South the wind is howling but the pros don't seem concerned.
Bill Lowen said that "it'll spin some guys out" by muddying different areas but he believes his river experience will allow him to adjust.
Greg Hackney believes the wind will actually be beneficial. Yesterday it was "horrendous" but from a different direction. "They call it the Red for a reason," he said. "These fish are used to muddy water. It only gets tough when there are a lot of floating particles in the water and this will filter it out some."
Tunes are cranked up, carpet is being laid and contractors are pacing the floor in a flurry of excitement, getting everything ready for the 2012 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods to open tomorrow morning.
Booths are spilling out of the main convention hall at the Shreveport Convention Center into the hallways, with tons of products available for avid bass anglers to touch, test, sample and buy. To learn more about attending the Expo, click here.
Be sure to stop by the B.A.S.S. booth for the opportunity to win prizes!
"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." — Yogi Berra
The Hall of Fame New York Yankees catcher said the above about Mama Leone's, the once-famous, now-defunct Manhattan Italian restaurant. After spending most of Wednesday observing the action in one Pool 5 backwater, which shall remain nameless, you have to wonder if Berra's quote might apply to this place. More than one of the at least 17 Bassmaster Classic anglers who came into this area Wednesday left saying, "I won't be back."
After witnessing the conditions on the Red River, it's apparent they might be speaking the truth, but at the same time they'll be somewhat misleading. The Classic may not be won in this place, but it will be won in some place similar. As anglers around here like to say, "They don't call it the Red River for nothing." And in the main river channel, the river is running seriously red.
But in the backwater that shall remain nameless, there was a clear mud line in the water, where ugly met pretty. And that is the attraction – fairly clear backwater staked out starkly by a red line of muddy water. If those anglers don't come back here when the three-day Classic begins Friday, they will be going to some place like it.
Several telling comments came from the competitors on Wednesday. To sum up, they were: 1) It's so difficult to move around the stump-filled Red River that you need to hunker down in one or two places, three at the most; 2) There's enough bass-attracting cover in the backwater areas that crowding won't be a problem; and 3) Bass tend to congregate this time of year on the Red River; you might pick a place apart for an hour or two with no success, then strike absolutely pure gold.
It's time to hunker down, not run and gun. So you must pick your spots carefully.
Several Classic qualifiers have mentioned how they think this will be an "interesting tournament" and how it will probably be decided by split-second decisions on the water, not some preconceived plan hatched during practice. After watching Wednesday's practice, I couldn't agree more. The clear, backwater areas of the Red River have been scoped out and fished through, but water conditions are going to change daily during the Friday-through-Sunday event. A cold front is expected Friday night. Not a brutal cold front, but something that will cool the water that was warming rapidly Wednesday. Thursday is press day, when all the competitors will be in front of tape recorders and TV cameras, not experimenting with the 24-hour changing conditions of the Red River.
Friday, 49 anglers will attempt to achieve a lifetime goal, knowing that recent practices have given them, at best, a glimpse of a winning formula.
So, yeah, it should be interesting. Who is going to be able to think on his feet well enough to figure out this puzzle that is the Red River in pre-spawn with a limited amount of clear water?
No matter who wins here, it will be well-earned.
Kevin VanDam and Davy Hite are best friends on the Elite Series. They travel together and room together all over the country.
While Hite has been renewed this last season, VanDam has been on a tear. There was a time in the early 1990s when Hite was the guy tearing up the competition, winning 8 events and two Angler of the Year titles. The two staunch competitors have an interesting relationship.
In our conversation with Hite yesterday, he talks about VanDam and what makes him special as an angler and a competitor.
Although Edwin Evers hasn't captured a Classic title, yet. He's pretty certain he knows how to win it.
What's more he knows what it will take to win at this Classic on the Red River.
He's not saying, he's got a lock on it. But in our conversation from yesterday, he gives us the basics for winning a Classic on the Red River.
Back through the lock with Keith Poche into Pool 5 where we visit some familiar haunts and some spots on the backsides of those haunts.
There are fish in all sorts of environments, from deep rock piles to the shallowest hyacinth mats. But which spot will be the most durable for three days?
Which places will even have fish on them in 36 hours?
As always this final practice day serves up as many answers as questions. Mr. Poche will be weighing them all until it comes down to a game time decision.
This is your B.A.S.S. channel weather report for the week of Feb. 22-26.
On Wednesday, the Shreveport-Bossier City area experienced a high of 76 degrees but winds were whipping at 20 mph. So much for one good practice day, but the anglers did appreciate the sun’s help.
Thursday, an off day for the anglers, will warm to above 80, which should warm the water even more and expedite some fish activity.
The warming trend won’t last long. A cool front should make it close to freezing for Friday’s launch. The low will be around 37. The day will be partly cloudy with a high in the low 60s, almost 20 degrees lower than Thursday.
Saturday is more of the same; Mostly sunny with a morning low near 40 and a high around 60.
On Sunday’s Classic finale, the morning low will be 47 and a high of 62, making it three similar fishing days.
Good news is there won’t be any wild fluctuations, but the bad news is it won’t be as warm as the anglers had hoped.
Edwin Evers is one of those anglers that you expect to win every event. And at some point, you just know that he will be a Classic champion or an Angler of the Year.
To date, he's not won either. But his motivation is as strong as ever to win.
Yesterday he talked about his first Classic and his memories of that event and how he's driven to win the title.
You can watch part of that conversation here:
Shaw Grigsby says he knows where he plans to start, but with boat No. 34 he may have to settle for his second or third or fourth choice.
As he planned to move to his next and final practice spot, he watched Fred Roumbanis head directly that way. Even in practice the Red is fishing small.
Someone needs to erect a traffic light at the entrance to this Red River backwater that shall remain nameless. The count has risen to 17 Bassmaster Classic participants who have fished here today.
Federation angler Tom Jessop is the latest. Jessop announced his presence by catching a bass within range of James Overstreet's camera before stopping by for a visit.
Jessop started his day by locking down to Pool 4, but said he didn't find much to his liking there.
"I've got a couple of places," Jessop said. "But overall there's a lot of places where you're not going to catch fish, places where you're supposed to catch them."