LAKE WALES, Fla. — Two days ago, the prevailing thought on how the Citrus Slam would play out on Lake Toho was — it won't be won on bedding bass.As a matter of fact, there were so many believers in that philosophy that even Terry Scroggins, an undisputed Lake Toho expert, only spent two hours of his three practice days looking for bedding fish.He found a few. So did Byron Velvick. And the standings are top heavy with guys who caught fish on the beds. They were the ones walking to the weigh-in carrying their stringers with both hands.After Day One, the prevailing thoughts, well, they aren't so prevalent anymore.All of that is just borderline scary, especially if you are one of those anglers languishing in that 10-pound range and firmly believing in past prevailing thoughts. In the time between when the final fish was weighed on Day One and the takeoff on Day Two, there will be a ton of thinking on which direction the fish will take. They have two choices: The fish will head to the beds or toward those post-spawn haunts.
If they do, then those guys sitting atop the standings now will likely win this event. If they don't, then the winner will come from someone who was too hard-headed to change. But change is sometimes too attractive to resist, when points and money are in the equation.It doesn't help the decision-making process when you consider 2001 and Dean Rojas' record-breaking 108-pound, 12-ounce stringer that Preston Clark beat in 2006 and Steve Kennedy smoked last year at Clear Lake, Calif.The scary part? Even though Rojas' record win was in January, there was a prevailing thought going in that it wouldn't be won on bedding fish. On Day One of the event, the moon and stars lined up perfectly with the whims of a bunch of big-headed bass and produced ledgendary bed-fishing conditions.
There are still a lot of guys who believe that won't happen here."This is still a post-spawn event,'' said Greg Hackney. "The spawn is over, for the most part."But the ranks are growing that something akin to that 2001 tournament is starting to take place. It may not be as big a push, but it would certainly shape this event."There may be a big wave coming," Velvick said.
Even Bobby Lane, who is a favorite in this event, believes a wave could be coming. He hopes not, thinking that a big push would hurt his chances of winning.Of course, there's no way of knowing who will be right or wrong in their assumptions until the last fish hits the scales. It's just that the presense of this new idea will certainly make things interesting.
Those who didn't catch them will certainy be running the banks looking for big females, while those who just sort-of caught them will be wondering if a change is in order. Now there are two ways for this to play out: A bed fishermen will win or they will drop out of sight while a hard-headed post spawner will slowly build a winning weight.
Visit Bassmaster.com for full coverage of the Elite Series Citrus Slam on the Kissimmee Chain, from Lake Wales, Fla., March 13th–16th, 2008. Daily weigh-ins with live streaming video and real-time leaderboards start at 4 p.m. ET. "Hooked Up" will air Sunday at 10 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. ET.