SHREVEPORT, BOSSIER CITY, La. – The second day is typically “moving day” on any Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open stop.
It appears that will be the case again but only to an extent.
The Bass Pro Shops Central Open #1, being held on the Red River here in northwest Louisiana, produced many limits on Thursday, but the fish were on the skinnier side, with most limits checking in at about 9 or 10 pounds. Only 60 of the 186 boaters who competed on opening day bagged a double-digit total. The leader, James Johnson, had a 16-pound, 5-ounce sack.
When there’s the obvious potential for a 20-plus pound bag of fish, moving day tends to put anglers in a pattern of their own. Those that didn’t fare well on Day One will change their locations, their lures and their presentations in an attempt to at least make a check. The anglers who are in the middle of the pack will attempt to move up the leaderboard. Those who did well will more than likely run to the same spots, hoping to duplicate their catches and make the cut to 12 on Day Three.
A sampling of anglers Friday morning launching at Red River Marina South proved that most think they can stick to their game plans and make a run at the cut to 12, or at least a check.
“I think I learned something yesterday afternoon and I’ll try to use that,” said Clarksville, Tennessee’s Lisa Sternard. She was in a tie for 54th with a five-fish limit after Thursday’s opener and clearly is one of the anglers looking to make a move up the board.
She said the expected heavy cloud cover and a 40 percent chance of rain throughout Day Two could aid her cause. Day One was fished under bluebird skies.
“Clouds today could help our bite,” she said. “I’m flipping real shallow. I have no idea what anybody else is doing. I can only worry about myself.”
Scott McGehee of Madison, Miss., had a limit of 8-13 by 9 a.m. on Day One and is tied for 78th place going into Day Two. He said “moving day” won’t change his strategy; it’s a matter of hitting the big keeper bites he missed on Day One.
“I still have to go out and catch a limit of fish,” he said. “I had a big bite yesterday that I lost. The key today is going to be not losing that big bite when it comes. With the fish I’m catching, the weather changes won’t affect them too much, but I might not catch them on a Speed Craw like I have been catching them. I may have to start catching them on top.”
McGehee said he was looking for 13 or 14 pounds on Friday to make the money cut.
Dale Hightower of Mannford, Okla., is tied for 54th with Sternard. He said he’ll follow the same game plan as he did Thursday and hope for the right bites.
“They may be a bit more scattered,” he said. “I think the cold front (which blew through earlier in the week) kept them held tight yesterday. The fish are in transition right now. Some of them are spawning, some of them are postspawn. You have several ways to fish right now. I’ll stay close and hope for the best.”
One angler who’s looking for a different bite on Friday is Elite Series pro Scott Rook who had three fish that totaled 5 pounds on Day One. Sitting in 154th place didn’t sit well with the veteran Arkansas pro.
“I fish for a Classic berth,” he said. “And I went to a place where I thought I could get some 5-pound bites. I did in practice, but I didn’t yesterday. I didn’t get any big fish to bite at all.”
Rook plans to continue to pound the spot he found productive in practice.
“It’s not about a Classic berth now,” he said. “It’s trying to cash a check. I kind of dug myself a hole yesterday.”
Shane Williams who lives in Keithville, just outside of Shreveport, doesn’t have much of a hole to dig out of on Friday. He ran downriver and is tied for 30th with an 11-6 total.
“I’m absolutely sticking with what I was doing yesterday, even though the conditions have changed,” he said. “I expected to have more weight yesterday. I had one 4-pounder and finished out a limit with some filler fish. But there’s the potential for a 17-pound bag in there.”
Friday’s weigh-in will begin at 2:30 p.m. CT at Red River South Marina in Bossier City, La.