Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens pro Jamey Caldwell doing a little Humminbird waypoint management prior to hitting the water for his first day of practice for Northern Open #1 on Douglas Lake, Tenn.
The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, aka "Thunderbirds," were a welcome sight at the weigh-in today! (Photo by Don Barone)
Joining current leader Gerald Spohrer with a limit is second-place angler Stephen Browning and Keith Combs, the last man in the top 12. Combs says his limit weighs 13 pounds.
Here's the setup. Browning and Combs are fishing near the Red River South Marina, casting what look like square-bill crankbaits. Targets are areas of isolated wood along the channel.
This all makes sense after Browning tells us a shad spawn occurs early in the morning. That's why he's here. And so are the bass.
Browning thinks he's got 11 pounds in the boat. Recall what he told me in the article I wrote two days ago for Bassmaster.com. He said this river is loaded with like-sized fish. He's fishing every cast as if it will be the connection for that one kicker fish that will make the difference. That, he says, is the big key to fishing this river.
Tournament leader Gerald Spohrer spent no time engaging in the action. Shortly after takeoff he started fishing just outside the basin at Red River South Marina. That’s where he quickly loaded the boat with a limit. It’s a small one. But a limit.
The plan, he said, was to catch "release fish" and then move on to the river and its backwaters to cull up.
Meanwhile, nearby we encountered Jeff Kriet. He's come and gone from a stretch of lily pad fields. The stems of the pads were his targets. He failed to catch a fish.
Now we're on the hunt for the consummate river rat, Stephen Browning.
Photo: Gloria Lawson