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.
Competitors in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic anxiously wait for the start of Practice Day.
Keith Poche has locked through to pool 4 and now we've entered a good sized cutoff lake. Keith says the water temp is almost 8 degrees warmer than in earlier practice days . It's also cleared considerably. He is concentrating on stumps in a fairly shallow flat. Throws at one stumpfor 12 minutes. I think he definitely has established a hierarchy of stumps in this lake and this one is a favorite. Its submerged and he says the fish are on it--maybe even want to spawn there . He tells me it can take many many casts at one target to get a bite. Judging time andweighing probabilities is the age old tournament challenge. At the Classic it just seems a whole lot more crucial.
Shaw Grigsby didn't run far to begin his last practice day, and he liked what he saw when he got there. "The water temperature is warming up quick," Grigsby said. "It's about to get to that point where it's pretty special." Grigsby said he was fishing 57- and 58-degree water at the end of the day on Sunday. The water temperature he found first thing Wednesday morning was in the same range. And with air temperatures expected to reach 70 degrees today, the water temp will continue to rise.
Mark Tucker may be the most relaxed man in the field. As we photographed him he started up a conversation and trolling motored over to us to talk about the tournament. He's fished six or seven events here but won't be making the run to his favorite water in Pool 3. He might do it against a lesser field, he said, but with this field the short fishing day that resulted would be a death sentence.
One of the big questions that most folks are having in this event is how will these anglers spread out over the course of a three-day event?