I know some of you are going to think I’m playing a head game with the other anglers when I say this but I’ll tell you I had a tough practice. It’s colder than I expected and the fish aren’t where I thought they’d be at this time of the year. It was a real surprise.
David Walker started the day with a new prop on his outboard motor. The new wore off it pretty quick. Walker was leaving one of his first fishing spots when his prop thumped a stump. "It bent one of the ears back," Walker said. "I had to change it out." Walker was in a popular backwater area at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, but he didn't seem to mind the crowd. "If you get the right plan in an area this big, there won't be enough boats in here to stop it," Walker said. But he hadn't figured out the right plan yet. "I think the conditions are really good," Walker said, "but the fish don't act like it. I'm surprised. I think this is ideal. This is the best chance to catch your biggest fish. The bass are pre-spawn; they are as heavy as they are going to be all year. "It's muddy, it's shallow, it's cold, I like it."
Wind is blowing a steady 15 now and the only-recently cleared water is getting dirty again. Poche has gotten a few bites on creature baits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits . Between the wind and the bountiful stumps, footing requires a bit more concentration. Morethan one angler has told me they've almost gone over out here and that having someone else in the boat ain't necessarily a bad thing. Remarkable to see a young former division 1 football player like Keith have to catch himself every now and then.
Browning is still cranking about an oxbow off of Pool 4, while we found Josh Polfer nearby playing with what we assume was a bedding bass. Polfer caught a small fish from the area, then hung around throwing a bright green wacky worm back into the bed. Yerger says that he's caught several 20-plus-pound winning stringers from the area Polfer is fishing. Apologies to Yerger for misspelling his name previously.
Ott DeFoe mentioned Tuesday about having to find a few places to "hunker down" on the Red River for this event. "You can't do a bunch of running around," DeFoe said. "This isn't a place where you fish one place for an hour, then run somewhere else and fish for 30 minutes, then run some place else." But you really can't appreciate those remarks until you take a boat ride into the Red River backwaters. There are plenty of visible tree stumps, but there are just as many or more just under the water surface. There's a definite mud line you cross as you ride the stumps into the clearer backwaters. But there's no way to get there quickly. It's like a slow motion bumper car ride. Only after one of these boating adventures can you understand the importance of "hunker down" places. "You're going to have to really pick it apart," DeFoe said. "Go through it with one bait, then go back through it with another bait, then go back again with another bait." Having a dozen places that are holding fish simply won't do you any good here. "You're only going to be able to fish two, three at the most," DeFoe said.
We had the opportunity to sit with Swindle yesterday and he explained a little of his game plan with us.
David Walker is having a tough morning. He's in the process of putting a new transducer on his trolling motor to replace one he knocked off. It's his second mechanical interlude of the day. H bent a prop on his first run of the morning and had to pull over to the bank to swap it out.
When the band, Bush Hawg, takes to the stage before the Bassmaster Classic weigh-in, fishing fans will have an opportunity to hear a blend of country and hard rock
My boat driver and Red River stick Beaux Yearger and I are in Pool 4, roughly 25 minutes south of Lock 5. We saw 15 boats coming through this morning, most all of which were en route to Sullivan's and the other ponds off the Red. However, Kevin VanDam was creeping along at 57 MPH, making Yearger think he's saving gas to head to Pool 3. We caught up with Fletcher Shryock who is looking for a bite in the Wagon Wheel area. "I'm now hoping I don't get bit in here," he said. If he did, he'd have to consider the area. Fortunately, he didn't get a nibble and headed to Sullivan's. Stephen Browning is further down the river cranking in a backwater. The water temperature here is 55.8, but it's a lot clearer. Yearger expects fish to be pushing toward shallow water in anticipation for the spawn.
John Crews promised his 4 year old daughter that if he wins she'll get a giant inflatable delivered to their yard for a week. She requested a "castle with windows" and he agreed. Seems a small price to pay for Classic glory -- I'm sure there are 48 other anglers who would be willing to rent the Crews family the same thing in exchange for a victory.