So far I've covered 15 miles of river and I've stuck my head in a few backwaters. I've only seen 3 boats and zero fish. Looks like a lot of teams made a long run.
Here we are on the beautiful Ouachita River for the Carhartt College Series Central Regional.
Due to heavy rainfall, the river has burst out of its banks and is rolling along over 10 feet higher than its normal pool.
Muddy, cold, swift water isn't exactly ideal when targeting bass so these college anglers definitely have their work cut out for them.
I've actually fished the Ouachita River in the past. We were here for a week in the fall a few years ago and the river was brutal on us. A lot of small fish but really hard to catch anything any size. But I had heard about how good the river could fish in the spring.
So when I heard the Carhartt College Series was coming to West Monroe, I was excited to see what these guys would do differently.
I don't think any of us were counting on 10 extra feet of water.
The Ouachita River is basically a river channel with a system of backwaters that are blanketed with stumps. In a lot of these backwaters, you could actually step from stump to stump and walk a mile. Most of these stumps are normally 6 inches under murky water. So the good news,these stumps are now 10 and a half feet underwater.
The bad news is now there are a bunch of other random hazards hidden by the high water. But at least you can go down a bank (if you can get to one) without hitting something with the trolling motor every 2 seconds.
One thing's for sure, a bass is still a bass. It's still got to do what a bass has to do regardless of the water level. And in April, it's got to lay some eggs. So the bass are going to be shallow, likely around some wood.
So somebody on this system is going to find all the pieces to the puzzle today. A little backwater with a little clearer water, a little warmer water, and an area where they can pitch and flip scattered stumps and lay downs in 1 to 4 feet of water.
Or they're going to catch them on a spinnerbait...
... or a crankbait...
... or something else.
Who knows really? All I know is that I'm going to be taking pictures. Check back later on Bassmaster.com for those and and the story about what really happened later tonight.
From the Arkansas anglers- "Making the long run close to our home state of Arkansas! University of Arkansas! Go hogs!"
On the eve of competition, Texas A&M Kingsley, University of Arkansas, and Texas Tech chow down on some good Louisiana food.
Tucker Oliver from the University of Missouri. Photo by Tyler Cooper.
Wisconsin Stevens Point's Cody and Mark have now started culling. Pressure's building for the rest of the field.
The sun is officially out for Wisconsin Stevens Point. The bite should be coming soon. A few non-keepers in the last 30 minutes.
We've been with leaders Cody and Mark all morning. Two keeper bites so far but one was a solid 4. The only problem? That 4-pounder came unbuttoned. "It was a bonus bite anyways," said Cody. "Don't let it bother you, Mark."
It was a "bonus bite" because it came early in the morning. Most of WSP's 19-10 on day 1 came after 1 p.m. yesterday. With sun already out, there's a good chance the bite will pickup before 1 p.m. today. For now they're a little frustrated, but not worried... yet.