Hopes of catching bass at Bull Shoals seemed to be blowing in the wind at today's takeoff. It certainly didn't feel like good weather for fishing, with a northwest wind gusting from 10 to 20 miles-per-hour, which flapped the American flag and spun the windmill atop Bull Shoals Boat Dock.
But, as early catches have shown, this lake is getting primed for it's spring explosion. The water surface temperature in the boat dock was 60 degrees yesterday and had cooled to 54 degrees this morning.
That slight, brief cooling isn't going to stop the spawning process. And it's going to get increasingly warmer the rest of the way.
Predicted highs and lows for Bull Shoals:
Friday - 57 high, 34 low
Saturday - 68 high, 43 low
Sunday - 70 high, 43 low
Monday - 71 high, 51 low
It's forecast that there will also be some wind each day, shifting to the south-southeast over the weekend.
This is setting up as a "perfect spawning storm."
Often when you try to predict the weather or fishing, you'll find yourself horribly wrong. So keep that in mind.
But the 12 Elite Series anglers that qualify for Monday's final may be extremely happy that B.A.S.S. officials postponed Day 1 of the Ramada Quest yesterday. The clouds and warm weather that all 100 anglers craved Thursday are predicted to be there Monday, with a SSE wind at 8 mph.
And it would come after a three-day warming trend. The fireworks may just be started at Bull Shoals.
We just passed Josh Bertrand, who is leading the rookie AOY race, leaving East Sugarloaf Creek as we were running in.
We came upon Jason Christie farther up the creek. He already has three in the livewell, but no big ones yet. Strike that. Christie just caught bass number four. The water temperature is 53 degrees, nearly 10 degrees colder than it was last week.
The wind is blowing him down the bank at warp speed. He's chunking' and windin'. Now Christie just made a short run to another bank.
Yesterday was not the first time an Elite competition day was postponed ... or even canceled. It first happened in the second year of the Elites (2007) on Lake Guntersville, when the third competition day was canceled. The same thing happened to the third day at Erie that year. In 2008, it happened at Amistad in the season opener. The next year, it happened at back-to-back events (Dardanelle and Wheeler). Since then, though, the weather's been pretty good, we've been pretty lucky, and we haven't lost any competition days.
Just going through the Marshal photos it's interesting to note that they are almost all spotted bass and smallmouth. I've not seen a largemouth yet.
Conventional wisdom typically holds that largemouth are the fish you win on in this lake. I'm sure there are some in the live wells on the water at the minute, but it is interesting that these other two species are making up the lion's share of what we are seeing.
Be interesting to watch as the day progresses and then as the tourney progresses, when the largemouth start showing up in these photos.
If you listened to some of the anglers after the cancellation yesterday, and you were prone to believe every word an angler utters, you would likely have been thinking there would be few fish caught today.
A brutal front pushed through right in the middle of a big push of spawning fish hitting the bank. The front would certainly push them off, shut them down they said.
Of course it's easy to be pessimistic about the future. That pessimism hasn't been proven true, at least to this point. By the bevy of photos the Marshals are sending in, it appears the fish in Bull Shoals survived the storm pretty well.
Of course we understand the fishing, or the end of day weight's won't be as heavy, but Bull Shoals is once again proving itself full of fish.
These guys might be cold right now, but the water temperature has remained into the 50s, according to the gauge at Bull Shoals Boat Dock. But by day's end, and even tournament's end, the action is hot enough right now to tell us that we are going to watch another great event.
It's No. 3 for Ledoux -- a 2 1/2-pound smallie.
Marty Robinson with a 2 lb-er. Photo by Jeff Hamilton.