Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Blog

Williams continues to grind

11:36 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

David Williams continues to grind away at filling a limit this morning. He's now got three keepers, caught on three different baits. Total weight: 6 pounds, maybe.


"They're biting funny today for some reason," Williams said.


His day hasn't gone as planned. Everyone thinks the later flights today will have an advantage due to the expected weather change.

But Williams experienced a disadvantage this morning when boats were already on his prime spots from Day 1.


"That's not how I wanted to start, at all," Williams said.

The Prince predicament

10:23 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

As noted before this tournament started, Elite Series pro Cliff Prince is in an unusual predicament. He's the "bubble boy" in the Elite Series yearly point standings for a Bassmaster Classic qualification.


If someone who hasn't already qualified wins this tournament, Prince is out. For instance, Day 1 leader David Williams and second place Richard Howes, both of whom have fished all the Southern Opens, could knock Prince out.


Prince could decide his own destiny by winning here. He hasn't fished the other two Southern Opens, but his win would prevent someone from bumping him off the list. Prince kept himself in contention yesterday with a 26th-place weight of 10-5.


And he could also benefit with a little help from his friends. Chad Morgenthaler (3rd, 13-8) and Andy Montgomery (4th, 13-2) have already qualified for the Classic through the Elite Series. If either of them wins, Prince is in.


Tournament director Chris Bowes lauded Prince at Thursday's weigh-in for taking the last minute chance to decide his own fate.

"If you've got any chance at all to make the Classic, you've got to take it," Prince said.

The leader had no fish, until now

10:07 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

David Williams, the leader with 14-1 on Day 1, is struggling a bit today. He didn't have a keeper until just now. No. 1 was a decent fish - 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds.


"It's been dead this morning for some reason," said Williams, who noted that he caught keepers throughout the day Thursday.


"They'll start biting when this front comes in."


Williams had two 3-pounds-plus bass in his bag yesterday.

Luck of the draw

10:05 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

I don’t give much credence to the “luck of the draw” at most Bassmaster Open tournaments. The earlier you start on day 1 the later you get the green light on day 2 and vice versa. The result is that every angler has equal time on the water after two days of fishing regardless of the number they draw.

However, there are times when the draw can play a big factor. It appears that the Norman Open may be one of those times.


At the weigh-in yesterday, it appeared that more kicker fish were caught by anglers in the earlier flights. Two of the top three in the standings were in the first flight, including Florida’s Richard Howes and Illinois’ Chad Morgenthaler. The leader, North Carolinian David Williams, was in the fourth of 10 flights.


Norman’s bass were active in the fog that blanketed the Lake early yesterday morning. When the fog lifted, sunny, calm conditions made for tougher fishing, especially for a kicker fish that is essential to doing well here.


The sun was out this morning, but clouds have rolled in. The forecast is for clouds, a stiff breeze, a falling barometer and rain this afternoon. These conditions should favor anglers in the later flights.


Since Richard Howes and Chad Morgenthaler were in the first flight yesterday, they were rotated to the last flight today. They’ll start later, but they’ll still be fishing 2 hours after the first flight checks in. Today’s weigh-in will tell just how lucky their early draw yesterday proves to be.

Carson Orellana nets two on one cast

9:33 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

Here come the clouds, etc.

9:21 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

Being a self-professed weather geek I couldn’t resist checking the latest satellite map of the cloud cover.


To echo Steve Wright’s previous post change indeed is on the way. Clouds cover a wide area to the west of us. The Weather Channel experts are calling for our area to be at the northern edge of the front that fired up the damaging storms from Texas to Arkansas yesterday.


Yesterday’s cookie-cutter limits of 10, 11, 12 pounds won’t cut it today for locking in a top 12 berth tomorrow. I predict the window is opening up for a largemouth bite that could already be fired up and last until weigh-in time. Today, the later flights will certainly bring change to the leaderboard.

Murphy's law dogging Murphy

9:17 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

It's a good new/bad news situation for Michael Murphy this morning.


The good news: He's got three bass in the boat.


The bad news: He's got a blown powerhead on his outboard.


"I can only go about 7 miles an hour," said Murphy, who is making the best of it.


He started the day in 108th place after catching 3 bass weighing 4-15 on Day 1.

Weather starting to change?

8:54 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

It feels like there's a weather change in the air, as was predicted, but it may be coming earlier than forecast. There's considerably more chop on the water than we saw all morning yesterday. And the sky that was clear at takeoff is now mostly overcast.


We'll see at the 3 p.m. Blythe Landing weigh-in whether this weather makes a difference.

No longer dipless on the water

8:39 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

I didn't use tobacco in any form for the first 50 years of my now rolling downhill like snowball headed for hell life. But I do use tobacco now, in smokeless form.


How I ended up on Lake Norman this morning without a dip felt criminally negligent until just a few minutes ago. As we were watching Cliff Pace pause to put the proper clips on the fish in his livewell, I realized I had a fellow dipper in sight.


Yeah, baby, all is right with the world now. Tip of the hat to Cliff Pace for helping me continue my quest for mouth cancer.

Pace has a limit

8:22 am EDT, Oct 3, 2014

Cliff Pace has caught two fish in the 10 minutes we've been watching him. One was a keeper. Pace says he's got a limit, with one good one.


Pace came into this event with the goal of catching 12 1/2 pounds a day. He fell behind that mark on Day 1 with 10-9 (23rd place).


"It's really hard to catch a 14- or 15-pound stringer," Pace said yesterday. "But for me to get back to that 12 1/2-pound average, I've got to catch one of those bags (today)."