For weeks, Lake Guntersville was expected to serve up yet another 100-pound plus tournament. It's known for big weights. But after Day One, it's obvious that 100-pound production may not happen.
So what's really happening on the lake? Bassmaster.com asked Troy Jens, one of the top guides on the lake with more than 11 years of experience.
Here's his analysis of the first-day's action of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series Southern Challenge:
With a number of anglers bunched near the 20-pound mark, Jens believes the fishing will become more difficult as most of the easy fish were hauled off on the first day.
"The sight-fisherman will suffer because there are not many fish still up on the bed and those that were have been targeted already," said Jens. "It's definitely going to be slimmer pickings because we've come off one of the main spawns and a lot of those fish have moved down to the ledges and humps.
"So I believe the weights are going to go down a bit in this tournament. Twenty pounds a day could very well win this; 75-80 pounds will probably win it."
Jens said being able to adjust will be crucial as scattered storms are forecast throughout Friday's second round.
"It's going to mess up the sight-fishing," Jens said. "We've got a lot of severe weather, so I'd be very surprised if this is won by a sight-fisherman. You have to have
a strong variety.
"I don't think the storms will be a negative factor, if anything it's going to help. The unstable weather, fish activity level greatly increases in that time. There's some good places, if they adjust, to go to when the wind is blowing."
Among the leaders, Jens said Kevin VanDam and Timmy Horton are anglers who can take the event.
"I think VanDam is one to watch and Timmy Horton is always strong on this lake. I also think some of the old-timers, who are just very methodical fisherman, very experienced, are guys to watch — Zell Rowland and those guys. They are good at making adjustments."
Jens said catching limits won't be difficult, but anglers swimming big worms, rolling big spinnerbaits and using lipless crankbaits will have the advantage.
"You can catch all the keepers you want, 2 pounds, up to 3 pounds. It's the guys who are targeting those open-water fish on the ledges and humps that will finish stronger in this tournament."
The topwater bite also is improving, Jens says, and should surpass bed fishing.
"I believe the tournament is going to be won in the North Sauty and South Sauty. Those fish are more in the post-spawn stage and are already migrating and becoming more grouped up on the humps and ledges. The grass up there is perfect for open-water bites."
Terry Scroggins is one who Jens thinks can take advantage of the changing conditions.
"He's been on a roll and he's very good on the grass," Jens said. "He'd definitely be one of the guys I'd watch."
Others who Jens likes are Mark Tucker, Jason Quinn and Rick Clunn.
"Quinn has 17 pounds and he's always good out here," Jens said. "Clunn, he's just one of the versatile anglers. He's a threat anywhere. This is one that could pan out for him."