TAVARES, Fla. -- Precious few of the field, most notably Pat Golden, were successful in harnessing a sight fishing bite. The rest of the field was left looking into empty beds on the first day.
"That front that came through last night probably forced them off of the beds," said Nate Wellman, who was banking on bedding fish. When he found his fish were gone, he picked up a flipping stick to round up a limit in typical Florida fashion. "Since that didn't pan out, I found something that can give me a limit pretty quickly."
Greg Vinson endured a similar scenario on the water.
"A lot of them are gone, at least the big ones are," he said. His bag consisted most of "single males" that he plucked from beds. "That's how it is with late spawn fishing, they don't stay too long."
However, Pat Golden's fish don't play by that rule. He found his biggest keeper -- an 8-15 that took big bass honors of the day -- three days ago in practice.
"I feel truly blessed that that bass was there; I'm going to try that again tomorrow," he said.
The wholesale movement of bass off beds is probably what accounted for the lackluster weights across the board. In a spawn time tournament, the Harris Chain is capable of producing 30-plus-pound stringers, as it did in a 2009 Open where Bryan Hudgins won with 68-6 through three days. His Day Two stringer of 30-15 topped several high-20-pound bags.
Though Golden is banking on his sight bite again Friday, the weather won't be doing him any favors. The overnight lows will bottom out in the 40s, which is enough to put temperature-sensitive Florida bass into a funk. The anglers hot on Golden's heels are casting rather than pitching to bedding bass, making him even more leery of his already slim lead.