DAYTON, Tenn. — If there’s one thing I have learned, in a very cold and humbling way, it’s that trying to nail down the weather forecast part of my practice and tournament game plan in Tennessee can be incredibly difficult.
Storm systems are constantly changing direction and duration, resulting in conditions that can leave you scrambling for a Plan D. So bear with me when I say this but, as of right now, should the weather forecast hold up, we could see something legendary this week at BASSfest on Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake.
Let me set the stage for what is predicted during most of this event that is packed with the most talented anglers in the world: overcast skies, favorable wind and moon phase, likelihood of rain on four of the five days (cross your fingers and hope lightning doesn’t come with it), a barometer that will be falling at some point during each day of competition, and modest temperatures during the day with no significantly cold nights to speak of.
Let us not forget this is a TVA lake, meaning these fish will respond to current. With rain forecasted for much of the week, water will be moving, and fish will be chomping.
What’s most interesting is Wednesday, because the conditions look like the kind I lie in bed at night dreaming about. Not everyone shares my enthusiasm for wind and rain, but the fish, particularly the big fish, will be easier to catch, thereby showing themselves and giving anglers an added boost of confidence going into Thursday and even carrying that angler all week.
Chickamauga manufactures huge bass. You’ve likely seen the 13-plus-pounder that was just caught there last month. The lake also showed a mega school to Casey Martin last year in a tournament when he sacked more than 100 pounds, beating his closest competitor by about 20 pounds.
If these conditions for cloudy skies and choppy water can hold up, then guys who favor cranking and can find those big schools have the potential to show us what we all suspect this lake is capable of. I think there’s even a chance that the single day record of 45-2 set by Dean Rojas could fall Wednesday (no disrespect, Dean).
This week I like Cliff Crochet, Brandon Palaniuk, Hank Cherry, Rick Morris and my New York brother Joe Sancho, with Cherry as my pick to win. But I almost picked Randy Howell because this week reminds me of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, only much warmer.
See the forecast below, and get the latest by clicking here.