DEL RIO, Texas — On all but a few lakes, saying you need 25 pounds to stay in the chase for the cut or a chance to win typically means you're scrambling.
On Lake Amistad, site of this week's season-opening CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, 25 pounds is pretty routine. Eighteen pros caught limits of 25 pounds or better Thursday and then another 12 limits of at least 25 pounds were weighed in Friday.
For the guys looking to make the 12-man cut Saturday evening, a 5-pound average could be just enough to punch their ticket to the Sunday finale.
"Twenty-five pounds a day will keep you in the hunt," said Alton Jones of Texas, who moved into fourth Friday with a total of 53 pounds, 7 ounces, after his catch of 29-10. "If I get close to 30 I could move up substantially, but to do that you probably need a 9-pounder and you can't really count on that. But you can definitely count on those 4- and 5-pounders."
Mike Iaconelli of New Jersey and Kevin VanDam of Michigan are tied at the cut line with 49-12. Behind them, looking to move up, are six anglers including first-day leader Ken Cook of Oklahoma and Terry Seagraves of Florida, who was fourth on Day One before falling to 17th.
Weather conditions should continue to be favorable for sight fishermen, with highs near 80 degrees and winds 7-10 miles per hour out of the northwest expected today. Another front is pushing in from the northwest, although it's not expected to seriously impact the area until next week.
Water temperatures also are climbing as daytime highs and nighttime lows, which are in the high 50s, continue to climb bit by bit. Dean Rojas of Texas said he's seen water temps in some areas fluctuate as much as 2- to 5-degrees this week.
"I've been to most of my areas and the temperatures are climbing, the moon is up all night and almost full, and the daytime temperatures are good," he said. "There are so many 4- and 5-pounders in this lake, they're just moving up constantly. I'm just moving down the bank pretty quickly to pick up a quick limit.
"The thing that could hurt us is boat traffic this weekend," he added. "I don't know exactly how bad it could be, but it's tough when you pull into an area and there are two or three boats already there. But we fish behind some of the best anglers in the world on the tour so it's not that big of a deal."
Jones said 25 pounds may be common and even with spawning bass moving in, it won't be a walk in the park. Nailing an 8- or 9-pounder and getting it in the boat will be critical.
"Some guys have really burned the fish in their areas, so I think it's important to fish some fresh water," he said. "I'll be doing that, looking for some new fish, but out here it's a little different. The big fish show themselves (in the clear water) and they're so competitive. When you pull into an area, you know pretty quickly if the big ones are there or not."