Fed Nation: The day of reckoning

The anglers fishing the 2012 Cabela's B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Central Divisional on the Atchafalaya Basin are two-thirds of the way home. After today it’ll be nothing but fond memories and dock stories to tell back home.  But, that’s after today. There still is today, and today can make big difference to some anglers and to their teams.

The top three or four guys are all fishing different areas, at different depths and with different lures. At times, listening to them talk, it’s like they aren’t even fishing the same tournament. According to Louisiana competitor, Robbie Latuso, they are pretty much fishing different tournaments, at least in the sense of how they’re attacking the fish.

“The water’s dropping and constantly changing,” says the Baton Rouge Bass Masters member and lifelong Atchafalaya Basin angler. “You have to constantly change and adjust your fishing. It’s a matter of moving, adjusting and then making them bite. It’s hard fishin’, man. No two guys do it the same, and no two guys find the same fish and no two guys make them bite the same way.”

He continues on to explain that fish movements in the Atchafalaya Basin aren’t predictable in the traditional sense. They tend to follow the water moving from the spillway and other sources looking for something a little cooler and for something carrying a little more oxygen.

Sometimes that means that they’ll follow the water as it drops and moves. When that happens, you can catch them on the next log, the next break or the next clump of grass — out a little deeper or farther along the water’s route. But, that predictable movement doesn’t happen unless the “good” water is following that path, something it doesn’t always do.

At times it’ll follow underwater routes that are not visible or detectable to anglers sitting on top of the water. Then it becomes a guessing game, one that’s hard to win against bass. The bitter reality is that when that’s happening about all an angler can do is run and gun, fish everywhere and hope he gets lucky.

“From what I’m seeing most of the guys are throwing crankbaits and topwater baits. Square bills off the points are catching a few and so are the usual collection of topwater plugs up shallow — buzzbaits, frogs, stuff like that,” he says when asked to tell us what’s really going on.

“It’ll be tougher tomorrow, for sure. Some of the guys will weigh in big bags but most of them will drop down in weight. I expect to see fewer fish caught and they’ll be smaller. The pressure could be a problem, too. There’s a lot of water out there but the good places are starting to get crowded.”

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