Bill Lowen is in unfamiliar territory. Fishing only his second Classic, this Ohio resident finds himself as one of the favorites — chosen by his fellow anglers and the pundits alike because of his tenacious attitude and repeated shallow water successes — to win the 2009 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River.
"It's true; I love to fish rivers and I love to fish shallow water," he says with his characteristic laugh. "But honestly the Red River isn't fishing like a river to me. I'd say it's more like Florida. When you get back in the oxbows it's all grass, and pad stems, and stickups."
Regardless, Lowen has had a good practice. In three days last week and one day this week he's managed to catch several solid keepers each day, the kind of fish that'll put him in the hunt come Sunday.
"I've found a few and might have something to work with on Friday. I've been able to catch a couple of 3-pounders every day and at least one good one to go with them. I'm satisfied as of right now, no complaints.
"The thing is I don't know if my pattern's going to hold with the weather changes coming. It was warmer today (Wednesday). I went to a spot late in the day much like where I'm going to fish when the Classic starts and caught two 3-pounders and a 5-pounder in just a few minutes.
"That tells me my fish haven't moved. But it's supposed to get a little cooler so I don't know. Remember, though, the best patterns can fall apart in a matter of minutes. They're in the boat when they're in the boat during the tournament, not when you're talking about them after a few days of practice. I'm not making any predictions about myself or my fish." He will, however, make a prediction about the final weight and the final day of this Classic."I can't see anyone catching much more than 51 pounds here this week. There may be a bag or two in the 20- to 22-pound range but I can't believe anyone will catch three 20-pound bags in a row. I just don't believe it'll happen. Three, 17-pound sacks is more realistic."And this could be a close one. I wouldn't be surprised to see several guys all bunched up together at the final weigh-in on Sunday. This could be an exciting Classic, for all of us. I can't wait to get started."