Photo by Greg McCain
Jonathan Edwards caught a whopper during the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation State Championship Oct. 31 on Pickwick Lake. The larger bass weighed 7.59 pounds.
This crew is here to cheer on Jamie Laiche of Louisiana, who has led both days of the championship so far. They said they're just as excited for the weigh-in as they are for the LSU v. Alabama football game tonight.
Jeff Fischer waits to weigh in on the final day of the Nation Championship.
Anglers' families are arriving and ready for the weigh-in to begin! From left to right: Sharon Pierce, Jennifer Pierce, and Stephanie Blevins.
Bruce Cooke of Zimbabwe is first in line waiting to weigh in.
2016 Elite Series rookie Brett Preuett has been my guide and camera boat while covering the Nation championship on the Ouachita River out of Monroe, Louisiana. He runs his Mercury powered Triton through the miles of bayou backwaters like he's been doing it for years.
Check out this quick video as we weave through trees, brush and blowdowns. He hits hair-pin turns at 50 mph like a boss!
"I think the we could see some pretty big bags of fish today," said Brett Preuett, 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series rookie. He's fished over 30 tournaments on the Ouachita River out of Monroe, and the Louisiana native believes rain is a good thing at this event.
"So much of the bite here depends on current, and with fresh water pouring in from the river banks, the bass could really fire up," he said. I've found that a rain day after two to three days of fishing moves a lot of fish into the backwaters and bayous."
Preuett explained that with the influx of water, sediment gets stirred up, which attracts the shad and other baitfish, and that in turn attracts the bass.
"If I were fishing today, I'd be in one of two places: I think the leaders, who are in the back of "Boggy" should see increased activity, with more bigger fish likely. The reason for that is the current will increase, which moves the bait around and the bass will be more likely to feed aggressively. The other place I'd spend a lot of time focusing on is drainage tiles. Anytime you see a tube with water rushing out of it and dumping into the river, stop and fish it thoroughly."
The conditions are tough, but this specific scenario lends itself to some great fishing.
Weigh-in will be interesting.
A handful of anglers at the BNC are fishing in small aluminum boats, which makes it easier to get back into shallow water.
John Proctor, Albert Collins and Jamie Laiche, in ninth, second and first place, respectively, all chose to navigate the stump-filled bayous of the Ouachita River in smaller boats.
Before weigh-in Friday, Proctor, who represents South Carolina, said he planned ahead of time to bring his aluminum boat with him.
"I knew enough about the place that I knew getting into the tough places would be helpful," he said.
Proctor said he came here before the cutoff to practice on the Ouachita River and brought his aluminum boat with him.
"I really felt I needed it to get back in there, and I'm definitely still happy with the place I went yesterday and where I plan to go tomorrow," he said on Day 2.
"I think I made the right decision."
While Proctor sits in ninth place after Day 2, he is first in the Southern Division.
We will see during weigh-in at 2:30 CT if Proctor, Collins and Laiche made the right call.
Photo by Thomas Allen
How weird is it that three of our B.A.S.S. Nation state officers are long-time FedEx employees?
Ray Meyer, Jerry Ramasci and Paul Kroisenbrunner have all been with the international courier service for longer than some of our B.A.S.S. Nation Championship competitors have been alive.
Meyer, youth director for New Hampshire, is an account executive with FedEx and has been with the company for 26 years.
Ramasci, youth director for Massachusetts, is an operations manager there and has worked with FedEx for 34 years -- and the company has only been in existence for 44 years!
Kroisenbrunner, president of Ontario, is a field service tech and, like Meyer, has been there 26 years.
We don't know what attracts so many FedEx employees to leadership positions within the B.A.S.S. Nation, but we're sure happy to have them!
It's all relative, but today's forecast in Monroe, La., was calling for 2-3 inches of rain. It's safe to say we're on track to meet that estimation. The mud, puddles and flowing streams of runoff pretty much tell the story around the boat ramp and weigh-in stage. It's wet...
A steady rain is one thing, but factor in stout wind and rapidly dropping temps and you can bet the conditions are uncomfortable for the 59-angler field. According to the local, hourly forecast, the temperature is set to lose 1 degree per hour and settling at about 51 for the overnight low.
At 12:51 p.m. local time, it is currently 59 degrees.
Rain by itself is managable, and not a horrible condition to deal with while fishing. In fact, 2016 Elite Series rookie Brett Preuett said it should improve the fishing on the Ouachita River. Why is that? Look for another post in a few minutes detailing how today's rain could increase the amount of fish, and improve the quality, brought to the stage.
Wind can be annoying, but by itself it's not typically a weather condition that will negatively affect fish activity.
Cooler temps are welcomed this time of year, but you combine all three and it can create a challenging scenario.