NEW ORLEANS — While the majority of the field fished either close to Bayou Segnette State Park or Venice, two anglers ran to opposite ends of the Louisiana Delta on Day One of the Classic.
Clark Reehm made the 250-mile round-trip journey to Delacroix and fished for less than two hours, while Randall Tharp was the only angler to run 90 minutes to Bayou Black. Both anglers didn't fare as well as they had hoped, but their runs were a "calculated risk" in the biggest event of the year.
Winning is everything at the Bassmaster Classic. "They live there," Reehm said. "When they are there, I would have had 15 to 20 pounds all three days without having any company. It was a calculated risk." Unfortunately for Reehm, the fish had moved with the warm weather and he was unable to locate them, taking a zero for the day.
Tharp, on the other hand, weighed in 11 pounds, 12 ounces on Day One from his spot in Bayou Black. The fishing was easier in practice, but the warming weather moved the fish shallow, where local pressure shut down the bite. "The canal where I was fishing had a lot of local pressure," Tharp said. "It didn't bother me in practice because they were all fishing the bank and the fish I was catching were out in the middle in the hydrilla.
With the warm weather the last few days, the fish pulled up to shore and that local pressure is killing them." Tharp had a few issues with execution also that will likely haunt him Friday night. One big fish ran 10 feet to the side before pulling off and the next got loose in a tree shortly after Tharp set the hook.
As for what the anglers will do tomorrow, Tharp hasn't decided yet. It depends on what place he ends up in and what the fog looks like in the morning. "The recreational traffic will be worse tomorrow," Tharp said. "It didn't bother me when the fish were out in the middle, but it hurts now that they moved up. I may go down to Venice, but I'm not running there in the fog. If I go to Bayou Black tomorrow, I'll have more time and that will help."
Reehm will stay close to the launch tomorrow and keep out of people's way. In effect, he is saving money and just plans on enjoying his day on the water. He had plenty of excitement Friday to last the weekend after an adventurous run that saw him make his first cast at 11:15 a.m. "Before today, I had never actually made the whole run," Reehm said. "I pieced together parts of the run, but it's hard to run a GPS trail going 60 miles an hour.
My game plan tomorrow is to go out and stay out of everyone else's way." For Reehm, he at least will leave the Classic with quite the story and move on quickly to his next event, a Central Open starting the 24th. "I have Lewisville next week," Reehm said. "The season starts, life goes on and I have to try to make the Classic again next year."