Dick Cepek Tires Bassmaster Elite at Lake Seminole presented by Hardee's
Lake Seminole - Bainbridge, GA, Mar 13 - 16, 2014

Five things to watch on Friday

Will sight-fishermen be able to sustain their success?

James Overstreet
A big one to watch for is, well, a big one - like Bernie Schultz's 10-10 lunker that easily claimed the daily big bass bonus.

1. Consistency

Despite catching a tournament-leading 30 pounds, 5 ounces on Day 1, Shaw Grigsby sounded anything but confident that he could repeat that on Day 2.

"I have no idea," said Grigsby, who has won two previous B.A.S.S. tournaments on Lake Seminole. "I don't know if I'll get a bite out there tomorrow."

That might have something to do with a trend Bernie Schultz mentioned. Schultz, who is second behind Grigsby with 26-14, said, "When I first started this game, there were maybe a handful of guys that sight-fished. Now there's maybe a handful that don't."

That's the big question for tomorrow: Will the guys that caught them sight-fishing spawning beds be able to continue that on Day 2. There are a lot of guys doing the same thing.

2. Water Clarity

The reason more anglers didn't sight-fish Thursday was because of the high winds that muddied a considerable amount of Lake Seminole overnight. There were as many guys at the top of the leaderboard who "just went fishing" as there were those looking at the bass on spawning beds. Some planned on fishing spawning beds Thursday, but found dirty water where there had been clear water during practice.

"I didn't catch any fish sight-fishing," said David Walker, who is seventh with 21-4. "That (dirty water) might have helped me out."

That muddy water could clear if the wind lays down as predicted, and it will open more areas for sight-fishermen. Those concentrating on spawning bass did some considerable damage on some areas Thursday.

"I'll have to fish some new water," said Skeet Reese, who is 37th with 16-7. "We pretty much wiped out one area."

3. Are More Fish Moving Shallow?

Kevin Short, who is third with 25-9, knew on Wednesday that he wasn't going to sight-fish today. He'd noticed a big wave moving shallow on Tuesday during practice, but far fewer bass doing the same on Wednesday. So the big question is whether more bass will move to spawning beds as the weather gradually warms the rest of the weekend? There are still plenty of bass in Lake Seminole that haven't moved shallow to the spawning beds. And several anglers are concentrating on intercepting them before they get there.

Chad Morgenthaler, who is in 10th place with 20-10, said he started sight-fishing Thursday, but moved deeper early in the day, when he caught fish that were moving shallow but hadn't set up on beds yet.

"I want them to keep coming," Morgenthaler said. "And I hope nobody catches them before they get to me."

4. Will more huge bass make an appearance?

Bernie Schultz shot up the standings on the strength of a 10-pound, 10-ounce lunker. In any tournament, 10-pound fish, and those in that neighborhood, can be difference-makers.

At Seminole it could be especially critical, just ask Schultz. Unlike many lakes the Elites hit, a 10-pounder here isn’t especially mystical.

With the hoped-for, expected rush of fish moving up, then some more of those type fish, even if they only weigh in the 8- or 9-pound range, could make a difference in the standings before this event is over.

Thing is, while a 10-pounder here isn’t as rare as Big Foot, they won’t show up for everyone. The lucky finger of fate, though, lands somewhere (maybe more than once) in the current top 20 and whole landscape changes.

5. Boat numbers

Every sight-fishing tournament is the same. If you are bent on getting to the fish on beds, you have to be first. In case after case, the same fish are found by several anglers.

On Day 1, the early anglers get the best picks. On Day 2 beds found in practice can, and will, reload. That’s why boat position is more important in these events than any other.

In the Bassmaster Elite Series the take-off order is completely flipped on Day 2. The last boat to take off on Day 1, takes off first on Day 2, and so on.

If you watched the weigh in, you heard time after time, especially late in the day, “when I got to my spot someone was already there. I got no shot at those fish.”

That will be a similar story on Day 2. But because the field will swap, it could impact almost everyone in the standings. How much though, will be the key.

Obviously, not many folks will be infringing on Shaw Grigsby. But for a big part of this field will be thinking more along the lines of what they will need to do to stay in the top 50.  

advertisement

advertisement