The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series was scheduled to hold its Midwestern Regional Championship on the Mississippi River this week but due to high waters the event has been moved to nearby Lake Sugema.
The Mississippi River has been on the rise due to recent rainfall and hit the moderate flood stage late last night. By Day Two of the event, the river is forecast to hit the major flood stage.
Although the fishery has changed, anglers will still weigh in daily as planned in Fort Madison, Iowa. Official weigh-in time was moved to 3:45 p.m. CT, and the weigh-in site has been moved a few hundred yards as the first location will likely be underwater by tomorrow.
“It’s not ideal but it’s going to work,” said College Series Tournament Manager Hank Weldon. “The only other option was to cancel the event, and that’s something we did not want to do.
“We want to say a huge thanks to the city of Fort Madison for helping us get this done. Once the decision was made at about 5 o’clock Monday afternoon, we had to scramble to get permits and everything else organized. By 9 a.m. this morning, we had made a site visit, set the location and had anglers out on the water practicing shortly after that.”
Lake Sugema will now play host to the nearly 60-boat field.
It’s a much smaller playing field but capable of supporting the number of boats we are expecting, says Iowa University angler Jim Vojahosky. We squeezed in a frantic interview today with Vojahosky and his teammate, John Mercer, as they scrambled to regroup and capitalize on a few hours of practice on Sugema.
“We have a little experience out here,” said Vojahosky. “We’ve fished here a couple times before but don’t have a whole lot of experience.”
As far as what’s to be expected from the fishing right now, he said, “There’s probably a pretty good flipping bite, maybe a little bit of a moving bait bite. We’re out here now trying to figure it out.”
Anglers will have a lot of places to look. Although the lake comes in at a little under 600 acres in surface area, it’s loaded with standing timber and shoreline cover. Recent winning weights on the fishery have been in the upper teens and that’s a reasonable mark according to Vojahosky.
Daily coverage of this week’s event will feature a live video stream from the weigh-in, photo galleries, BASSCam videos and stories on Bassmaster.com.
Anglers will take off on Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 a.m. CT from Lake Sugema’s Jersey Avenue Ramp with a trailered weigh-in taking place daily at 3:45 p.m. CT back in Fort Madison at Riverview Marina, 902 4th Street, Fort Madison, IA 52627.