TYLER, Texas — Overcast skies should have fish biting for the 51 college teams gathered for the College Bass West Super Regional on Lake Tyler. With fish in various stages of the spawn, anglers should have no trouble catching fish, but the big bite will reign supreme in Texas.
Kyle Turner, from Stephen F. Austin State University, fishes Lake Tyler frequently and thinks the clouds and rain in the morning with put a premium on catching a good bag on Saturday's Day One of competition.
"I live five minutes from the boat ramp, so I spend a lot of time here," Turner said. "If the weather permits, it's going to be a great event."
Forecasts call for thunderstorms early on Saturday and then clearing skies into Sunday, with wind likely both days, almost a mirror of the conditions anglers faced in the 2009 event held on nearby Lake Palestine.
"It's crazy, the weather is almost identical to last year," Turner said. "I think somebody can go out and catch 22 pounds tomorrow and then nothing on Sunday."
Changing weather will challenge anglers to stay attuned to the movements of the fish.
"Sunday is calling for bluebird skies, so whoever makes the adjustment will win," Turner said.
Anglers will be chasing a five-fish limit of bass that measure at least 14 inches in length. The full field of teams with fish both Saturday and Sunday, and the team with the heaviest two-day combined total will be crowned West Super Regional champ.
Don't bet against the local favorites from the University of Texas at Tyler. That includes Kasey Calbow, who is only a short car ride from the water.
"We fish out there weekly and that may be too much," Calbow said. "I don't think there is an advantage for anybody. We've seen guys fishing out here all week and everyone is catching fish."
Catching the bigger fish will be the challenge and the competitors will have a unique playing field to work from. Launching from Lake Tyler Marina on Lake Tyler West, anglers can also idle through a channel into Lake Tyler East, opening plenty of options for anglers to sift through.
"I think the New Lake (East) is going to get a lot more action," Calbow said. "It's got more grass."
Another angler pointed out that a few local tournaments in recent weeks were won out of the Old Lake (West) and Calbow merely shrugged.
Deep insight or professional misdirection, anglers should have no problem covering up the two lakes, the more immediate concern will be the overnight weather. A storm system might persist through the Day One launch, with some severe weather possible.
Zach Brown from Stephen F. Austin State University put it best: "It doesn't matter what lake you are in tomorrow, you are still going to have to catch them in the hail."
Anglers take off from the Lake Tyler Marina at 7:40 a.m. ET, with weigh-ins at the Academy Sports + Outdoors in Tyler starting at 4:45 p.m. ET. Full coverage from the event can be found on CollegeBass.com.