GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — The current that was integral in positioning the fish earlier in the week began to fizzle out Friday and so did some of the better offshore fishing. The number of 20-pound bags brought in on Day Two dropped to 29, as opposed to 40 on the first day.
Stephen Browning saw his weight drop off to 19 pounds, 5 ounces, and the biggest difference from his Day One bag of over 26 pounds was the lack of current.
"The lack of current allows them to spread out more," Browning said. "Maybe they will crank up the current tonight, but that's wishful thinking — that would be too easy."
One notable exception was Clark Reehm, who noticed increased current in his area that helped position the fish in predictable current breaks. He's averaged a little over 20 pounds a day and made the cut in 30th place.
"They ripped the current around the bridges today," Reehm said. "I couldn't get on my offshore fish, so I basically ran around and fished current breaks. The current was on all day today, but I noticed it backed up a couple of times."
The offshore bite has been hit or miss for Reehm, but sticking to the current breaks allowed him to catch fish throughout the day to cull up to his final tally of 19 pounds, 13 ounces.
"On that offshore stuff, they're either firing and they bite every cast, or there's nothing," Reehm said. "Out there, they don't have the flexibility to run round either because someone else could get on their spot."
Outside of Reehm's small, key places, anglers have to fight to get to their spots early and capitalize on a good morning bite. Jason Williamson was Boat Two leaving the docks, which allowed him to arrive first on his best spot.
"Here, getting an early draw is so critical," Williamson said. "I was able to start where I wanted to and caught all of my fish off that one spot. There are a lot of people fishing there, so it is just a matter of who gets to them first."
Like Williamson, Gerald Swindle had a party catching bass after bass on his primary fishing hole, but the fishing was best first thing in the morning.
"I probably caught 100 fish in the first two hours," Swindle said. "I even caught a double, with a 3- and 2-pounder hooked on the same crankbait. It was one every cast for an hour or so. When you get a line-up and get a good school, you can catch them like that."
Swindle, like many other anglers this week, has had to contend with major traffic from both recreation anglers and other competitors, and has not slowed down his catching to conserve fish for that reason.
"On a community spot, you know someone is going to move in on you, so you have to catch what you can," Swindle said. "Tomorrow, I'm going to watch that weather and if it clouds up, I might go up shallow."
Forecasts for the Guntersville area include showers tonight and possibly extending into the morning with cloudy skies and highs in the 60s, a drastic change from a sunny, hot start to the tournament. The weather adds yet another piece to the puzzle the top 47 anglers will have a chance to unravel starting Saturday.