Casey Ashley with 2 fish in the livewell. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Chad Patterson.
Yusuke Miyazaki's first keeper of Day Two. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Howard Avery.
Only three previous times in Elite history has the average bass weighed less than two pounds. Most recently, it happened in 2011 on the Arkansas River when the average fish tipped the scales at just 1.97 pounds. The year before that, Clarks Hill Reservoir yielded an average bass weighing 1.92. And the current record for smallest bass dates back to 2007 when the Kissimmee Chain's average keeper weighed only 1.78 pounds. West Point can beat that ... unfortunately.
If you watched the weigh-in yesterday, or even if you just glanced at the standings, you probably noticed that the fishing was a little slow. One hundred anglers weighed in 441 bass. The average in an Elite tournament would be around 460, so the fishing was a little tougher than usual. The number that should have shocked you, though, was the total weight of those 441 bass — 729 pounds, 11 ounces. It means the average bass coming out of West Point Lake yesterday weighed just 1.65 pounds (about 1 pound, 10 ounces). That's really, really small.
The vast contrast in the Elite Series anglers always amazes me. Yesterday morning I was running all over the place chasing Steve Kennedy out of the gate. Today I followed Cliff Crochet out of the ramp on a half mile run at about half throttle. As Cliff made his first cast I saw Kennedy blow by in route to his 5th or 6th stop no doubt.
It's Terry Scroggins' first stop of the morning. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Highlander.
Combs moves to the riprap at the other end of the bridge. He has already attracted three boats full of fans. He leaves 10 minutes later with an empty livewell. He caught all his bass late yesterday. I'm sure he was hoping for a fast start this morning.
We found a place to park near the bridge. Dawn is breaking and commuter traffic is ripping past us as we stand on the bridge waiting for blast-off. We still have overcast conditions and likely rain in the forecast. Some of the pros yesterday said they fared much better with bigger bass during practice when the sun was out. They are hoping for sun today. That's not gonna happen today and probably not tomorrow or the day after. Or even the day after that.
It's early on Day Two, and Kevin Short already has two in the boat.
Zero. By 1:30 p.m. Thursday, that’s how many bass Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, believed he’d end up weighing in on the first day of the West Point Lake Battle.