Mark this day because it's the rarest of events for pro anglers. The old maxim about practice is "start early, stay late," but when we got back to the ramp a few minutes after 1 p.m., it appeared some trailers were already gone and other anglers where in the process of retrieving their rigs. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, even in fishing.
No one comes to the Bassmaster Classic planning to wave a white flag, but few planned to launch in 19-degree weather, either. I wrote an article with Kevin Short for Bassmaster Magazine recently — 10 tips for tough tournaments. Kevin told me he likes tough tournaments because about half the field gives up before they ever launch; you don’t have to beat them because they’ve already beaten themselves. Of course, the Classic is a bit different. I don’t think anyone’s going to give up before they launch, but a few anglers might throw in the towel emotionally if things aren’t going well by noon or 1:00 on Friday. I know KShort wishes he had qualified for this Classic. It just might shape up to be his kind of derby.
If you're looking for conditions that will likely help the locals in a Bassmaster Classic, I think you've got them. The snow and falling water temps should work in favor of the anglers who know Grand best. They're more likely to have a good idea where they can find some semi-active fish on Friday, when it looks like it will be the coldest. Of course, there are plenty of northern anglers in this tournament who know they're stuff, too, including KVD, Ike, Bill Lowen, Pete Gluzsek and others. They may happy to see all this cold weather.
Ice in the guides is causing some issues. Bobby Lane made a cast with his crankbait and watched it sail into the distance when his line snapped. He said it was one of his good ones, so he set out to search; fortunately, it didn't take long before he spotted it among the waves.
Just because there's snow falling on Tulsa and Grand Lake, no one should start thinking about helicopters to get the Classic competitors to the official weigh-ins, or some such, like The Rolling Stones' appearance at Altamont.
Thursday's weather forecast isn't much better than today's. But no one will be going to the lake; it's media day in Tulsa.
The latest forecast for the three-day tournament is as follows:
Friday: High 37, low 20, 0% precipitation possibility, NW winds at 8 mph;
Saturday: High 48, low 25, 10% precip., S winds at 3 mph;
Sunday: High 65; low 34, 0% precip., SSE winds at 16.
The air will be chilly most days, but the roads between Grand Lake and Tulsa should be clear, although Friday's takeoff could be a bit dicey.
You know it's cold when you can write on your boat!
I am on the water with Takahiro Omori. Now it started snow on the lake. COLD! His rod guides get ice every once in a while.
After a couple of hours, this is what Omori's boat looked like:
This is the view of Todd Ruffin, a photojournalist from Tulsa's News on 6, who's riding along today with Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Bassmaster Classic qualifer Matt Lee. We hope Ruffin is as bundled up as Lee is!
There's a mass exodus at the Wolf Creek ramp.
John Crews, Russ Lane, JVD, Big Show and Chris Lane, among others, have had enough of the snow shower covering the Grand Lake area.
Boats with almost an inch of quick falling snow on their decks helped make most of the anglers' decisions to call it a day.
"You can't get much accomplished in this," Russ Lane said.
"Today was mostly a waste of time," JVD said.
"It's Oklahoma, and the weather changes every 30 minutes here. I expect it to change again," Scroggins said. "I've had a couple of good days of practice and a couple that weren't so good."
We're following the exodus in hopes of making it back to Tulsa. Wish us luck as Darren Jacobson and David Hunter Jones work up their photos as we ride. Hopefully we'll bring you some snowy shots and fish catches from the last day of practice.
The snow is still heavy but it's getting wetter and therefore less comfortable. We just watched Mike McClelland doing what he does best, fishing S-L-O-W. We progressed past him to Edwin Evers, who is hopping around the back of a long skinny pocket fishing discrete pieces of cover. He's not going fast, but he's faster than McClelland