Area pressured in practice

Anglers bunched up in critical current areas near Mitchell Dam

WETUMPKA, Ala. — If the first day of practice is any indication, then the Berkley Powerbait Trophy Chase on Lake Jordan will be one of the tightest races on record.

Tight in a whole lot of ways.

Although Lake Jordan sports more than 6,800 acres, it quickly became evident after a half day of practice that the hot spots, the type needed to win a title, are in short supply.

While things could change with another practice day, at present it appears as if most of the pros are on a merry-go-round, concentrating on a ½-mile area within sight of each other at the Mitchell Dam.

The tightness of the area is because of the current the dam is expected to create during the two days of competition. On the Coosa River, current is everything. Its pull moves baitfish and sends largemouth and spotted bass to ledges and points, where they not only feed but are in a position to be caught.

"Take away the current and these fish seem to suspend and they get really hard to catch,'' said Randy Howell, an Alabama resident.

The Elite Series pros dialed into the productive areas quickly, but with so many of them there, it could be hard for an angler to differentiate himself from the others.

Aside from an early morning bite reported by Alton Jones, the fishing seemed slow until anglers flocked to the Mitchell Dam when the current started around 2 p.m. ET. Even then, Tommy Biffle had been out there for most of the afternoon and when asked if the bite picked up when the current was rolling, he replied, "not a bit that I can tell."

Howell, who spent time on the lake before the off-limits, chose to stay away from the crowd and work isolated off-shore spots hoping to find an overlooked school of bass.

"There are a lot of fish suspended out here when the water isn't running," Howell said. "These spotted bass are isolated and chasing bait until the current turns on and then they get locked down on these ledges."

Howell hoped to hold out in his areas and learn when and where the bass would come up to feed. With current and spotted bass, timing is critical. The old saying, "Being in the right place at the right time," will be especially true this weekend on Jordan.

The thing is, after only a day of practice, it appears as if most of these anglers are all in the same "right" place and hoping for the right time.

Practice resumes Friday with anglers free to launch and stop fishing whenever they chose.