Go to the Grass for Bass
Pro Jack Wade of Knoxville, Tenn., stood on stage after weighing in a 19 pound, 14 ounce bag of fish and said simply, "Don't ever let them kill the grass in this lake again. It's a wonderful fishery, and it's back."
Many of the pros, sitting atop bags much bigger than anticipated, targeted the bass holed up the large grass mats. Most of them were throwing frogs and other assorted top water baits for an explosive, heart stopping bite.
The estimates that were floating around registration were high teens and up to 20 pounds as an average to maintain a lead in the final Southern Open. You'd have to dig back to 18th place for an even 20 pound bag. The top 25 places were higher than 18 pounds.
"Some of these guys are really going to catch them; you will see a twenty pound bag," Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike Wurm said at the tanks as the first flight of anglers weighed in.
That we did.
Roll Tide Bass
"I think these bass are big Alabama fans," quipped pro Jack Wade from Knoxville, Tenn. "I was throwing an orange and white frog to these fish and they were killing it. You know Tennessee is coming here next week to play."
"The Original Frog"
Chris Ludwig left the Bassmaster weigh-in stage in second place with 25 pounds, 14 ounces. He would end up third at the end of the day. When asked if he would share his secret to a 25-plus pound bag with Bassmaster.com, his he had this to say.
"I am throwing the snag proof frog, the 'original' frog," he said. "I found two places in practice, but I didn't know how big the fish were until today. I would just let them blow up on it and never set the hook; I never even went to my second place today. I will need that tomorrow."
Jelani Hennessey is fishing his fifth Open of the year. He competes as a non-boater in both the Bassmaster Central and Southern Opens. He is in 12th place overall in the Central Opens, and 58th in the Southern Opens on the non-boating side going into the final Southern Open at Lake Guntersville.
It's hard enough to concentrate on two separate Bassmaster Open Series when you're fishing out of someone else's boat. What makes Hennessey all the more unique is that he is only seventeen years old and is a senior in high school.
"I have to go back to the room this afternoon and do my homework." Hennessey said. "That was the deal. My mom, my teachers and my superintendant are behind it — they think it is good opportunity for me. I have a lot of support."
I'm not telling …
Most of the reactions on stage today were the same when BASS Senior Tournament Manager Chris Bowes would ask what the big sacks were being caught on. It was some version of the same, "I'm not telling."
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Britt Meyers narrowed the field a bit. When he was asked what helped him sack 22 pounds, 12 ounces of fish he said, "If you get online and go to jymsubassbaits.com, and you look at the 200 or so baits they have, you're looking at it."
So Close …
Despite a less than impressive bag, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins admitted Lake Guntersville was one of the best fisheries in the country.
"I feel like I was all over fish today." Scroggins explained. "I was so close, yet so far away. We'll see what tomorrow will bring."