Looks like we dodged a bullet with the weather. To our south is a steady stream of heavy rain moving across western Arkansas.
We started up north without any luck. No boats led us back south down the Arkansas River. And we kept going. And going. Looks like a lot of boats locked through, just like last year’s winner Chris Jones.
Who did not is Tommy Biffle. He’s got four keepers in the livewell. That’s of no surprise and to be expected. The other given is the technique. He’s flipping and pitching along a gnarly stretch of isolated lay downs lodged on sandbars adjacent to the channel.
His co-angler will get a great experience today. This morning I met him on the elevator with his mom. He’s 16-year-old Dillion Smith, fishing his first ever B.A.S.S. event. It was special for me because I remember my first experience too. I was his age. I hope he does better than I did.
Video: "Fletcher Shryock - Impossible is Nothing"
West Michigan pro Ben Nielsen is hoping to catch more fish like this one in today's finals of the Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake St. Clair. Photo by co-angler Ed Dyer
We’ve left Joe Balog. Fate unknown. Meanwhile, fourth-place angler Ben Nielsen is not a happy camper. He’s got a smallmouth in the livewell. But around him is a charter boat, and the clients are dunking live bait in the lake. And they are catching fish too.
That’s how it goes in this game, of course.
Lots of unknowns developing out here. Such as Fletcher Shryock. Yesterday said he’s going for broke on Lake Erie. The wind has spun the compass dial from the southwest to the northwest. He told me that northeast is best. It’s indeed a new day on Lake Erie when compared to the weather from the previous days. And then we have the rest of the bunch. Many stayed here in Lake St. Clair.
Needless to say, the final weigh-in could be interesting at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Auburn Hills.
Georgia pro Wil Hardy found out that giant catfish like this one will also bite an umbrella rig on Lake St. Clair. Photo by co-angler Ed Dyer
The service crew has left town but that’s not all bad for Joe Balog. He’s in his hometown and a marine mechanic and personal friend is on the way. He’s due here soon.
This situation could have been much worse. Balog is within one mile of the boat ramp. That’s a lot better than being miles away and in the middle of the lake. Hopefully, his down time will be limited. He’s making the most of it. One keeper is in the livewell.
To his credit, he’s avoided disclosing his sweet spot for a reason. It’s only two miles away from the breakdown site. Once he gets back in action, the catch up could happen quick.
We’ll find out later if this was a calculated move saved just for today.
The weather is now a huge factor. It’s overcast with a slight breeze out of the northwest with the temperature in the low 60s. That’s in stark contrast to the previous days when it was sunny, hot, muggy and very windy.
Michigan pro Ben Nielsen and co-angler Justin Lonchar are ready to take off in the finals of the Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake St Clair. Photo by co-angler Ed Dyer