Without a tourament to fish many of the Elite anglers found the time to have a relaxing breakfast. In the first photo by Mark Woods, that's Scott Rook, Kevin VanDam and Davy Hite getting ready to chow down.
In the second photo, by Gary Harner, Brandon Palaniuk chats with locals.
Anytime an Elite Series tournament is going on, I check in on the live blog every 20 minutes or so to get my fix. I just have to know what’s happening. I’ve been writing about the Bassmaster pros for over 30 years and I’m still an addicted fan.
The blogs are a happy distraction when I’m supposed to be busy writing in my office back home in southern Ohio. Since I wasn’t getting much work done at home during Elite Series events, I figured I might as well be at the tournaments blogging.
I bugged Steve Bowman for months to sign me up as an official Bassmaster blogger. My pestering paid off. I’m here at Bull Shoals ready to watch, learn and report.
I was just as hyped as the pros were this morning to get started. Then the day was cancelled due to an incoming storm predicted to bring high winds, rain, lightning and possibly hail.
Most of the pros had already launched their boats when the tournament was cancelled. The mood instantly went from metal-to-the-pedal to slamming into a brick wall.
The pros were disappointed, but understanding--for the most part. Many were looking forward to fishing in foul weather. It’s just the thing for turning on the bigger bass in a clear, Ozark Mountain lake like Bull Shoals. It pulls the fish into the shallows and makes them susceptible to power fishing tactics.
That opportunity is gone. The pros will have to regroup deal with sunshine and lower temperatures tomorrow.
This is what the Weather Channel is telling us on their website, a site that is likely being heavily monitored all over this area at the moment.
"A severe thunderstorm is occurring or imminent in your area. Unplug electronics before the storm hits, and move to an interior room on the lowest floor of your home or business. Please check back for official updates."
The storm has officially hit. We are sitting at Gaston's Resort with a big picture window that looks out over the White River. A few minutes ago, you could see up and down the river as far as you wanted. Currently, the rain is so hard it's coming down in a sheet that has draped itself over the river so thick you can't hardly see the river just 50 yards away.
Prior to the bottom dropping out a flash of lightening and thunder hit so close that the windows shook in the cabin. Every angler under cover is thankful they aren't having to deal with this at the moment.
If they aren't, they are crazy. But then again…..
A lot of these anglers are either camping out or staying in a cottage along the historic White River.
Above the dam on that river is Bull Shoals, below it is the tailwater that houses some of the finest rainbow and brown trout fishing in the country. This is where Forrest Wood and Jerry McKinnis started their friendship and respective businesses more than 50 years ago. People still flock to the river because of it's abundance of fish.
These anglers are no different. Brent Chapman headed straight to the river once the tournament day was cancelled. He donned his waders and woke up his kids and they spent close to an hour casting to the trout near their campsite. We will have a story and photo gallery on the action soon. Other anglers were doing the same, many of them talking trash to each other on who was going to catch the most or biggest.
Chapman may have won that battle. He got there first and was able to catch close to a dozen rainbows before the rain ran him and his kids back to shelter. We don't know if any of the other anglers were able to get out. But it's our guess, when this storm passes, the trout of the White River will see an influx of Elite anglers taking out their cancelled-day frustrations.
If you were at the dock Thursday and without the modern conveniences of smart phones and cable television, you might have wondered what all the fuss was about. The wind was howling. You could feel that no matter where you were standing. Strong winds in the Ozarks have a way of riding down every ridge and hollow, giving you the feeling in some places that the wind is coming from every direction.
As said before, that type of wind by itself would cancel events on many lakes, even Bull Shoals. It would have been a rough ride. The winds are blowing into the 20s and the Weather Service is promising gusts up to 40 miles an hour.
With the help of cell phone apps, many were standing around and watching a line of yellow and red storms bearing down on the area. In this part of the country and this time of year, that can mean tornadoes. The Weather Service promises the threat of those as well. That was the primary reason for the cancelled day.
One of the main paths to Bull Shoals is Highway 65 through the north central part of Arkansas. Just a week ago a tornado tore a path down that highway and the damage is scary. If you know what to look for you can see damage from recent and many years past from the same kind of terror. It doesn't take driving through many parts of this area before you realize how damaging this storm could be.
Currently, it's almost 9 a.m., here and the storm is just getting here. The distant rumble of thunder is getting closer and it sounds angry. Pops of lightening have been evident off in the distance since early this morning. Most every one is taking cover and getting ready to ride this out, including the dot com crew. But during the course of the day we will keep you updated.
For the second Elite event of the season, a tournament day has been cancelled. This one as the result of strong winds and a line of storms that promise the potential of tornadoes.
When I woke up this morning the wind was blowing. I knew if we were at Erie, Toledo or many others this day would be cancelled. When you add in the tornadoes then this was an easy call to make.
B.A.S.S. officials postponed the start of today's Elite Series Ramada Quest at Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas. With heavy thunderstorms and rain approaching the lake officials didn't want to risk the safety of the anglers, marshals, tournament crew and spectators. Here's a look at a radar map for the area, snapped about 8:00 Central. Green indicates rain, and the band of yellow and orange is thunder and lightning.
Weather permitting, the tournament will now launch on Friday and run through Monday. More details coming shortly.
It's dark in the Ozarks. But you can hear the wind rushing through the valleys and hilltops.
When we went to bed, we expected to wake up this morning to severe thunderstorms, rain thunder and lightning.
None of that happened. It is 45 minutes before take-off, warm and breezy and you can see distant, silent lighting.
The storm is likely to hit during take-off. A postponement is possible.
Don't forget to set your team in Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing today! You can play free -- and win big!
Just ask Nolden Dominique of Gheens, La., or Jason Baird of Gypsum, Kan. Both players won a $2,500 gift card to Bass Pro Shops as well as a B.A.S.S. tournament jersey for picking the best performers at the Sabine River and Falcon Lake. You could enjoy a little spending spree yourself to Bass Pro if you win for Bull Shoals!
If you need a little help with your choices, this article can provide some direction. This pundit's top picks are Alton Jones, Cliff Pirch, Aaron Martens, Matt Herren and Chad Pipkens.
Be sure to set your team before launch tomorrow morning. Good luck, players!