“The only thing that is constant is change.” — Heraclitus
Not sure if the Greek philosopher was into fishing, but his words should resonate with anglers preparing for Day 1 of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Florida’s St. Johns River. Today’s scheduled start was postponed due to a high-wind advisory from the National Weather Service. Later this morning, B.A.S.S. officials announced that the event will be extended to Monday.
The schedule change ensures that competitors will have the full 4-day competitive schedule; but there’s no denying the fact that we’ll see a somewhat different event. In a nutshell, the weather system pushing the big winds will shave about 20 degrees off today’s high of 81, so the tournament’s postponed schedule will find anglers fishing the challenging cold front to post-frontal conditions; rather than today’s more promising pre-frontal warmth.
We asked reigning Angler of the Year Scott Canterbury if he expects these changes to impact the way anglers will fish.
“I don’t think it’s going to change many game plans; I think it’s going to change the weights a little bit,” Canterbury said. “Today was a day where if you got around them, they would have been eating. I really think you could’ve caught a bigger bag than any day we’ll be here.
“I know that B.A.S.S didn’t want to (postpone Day 1), but with the wind blowing as bad as it is out of the south, there would be some dicey situations. The tide would be blown out a lot farther and if you were fishing shallow, it would be really, really shallow on low tide today.”
Canterbury said the biggest impact the postponed start will have is the elimination of separation. The colder temperatures will all but eliminate the shallow spawning patterns, which can potentially produce huge bags that allow a fortunate few to build a big Day 1 lead.
Pair that with the fact that today’s rough water would have greatly hindered those who were targeting offshore shell beds and we head into tomorrow with a more even playing field.
“Today was a day where you could have separated from the field; a lot of people were going to catch them, but you could have separated from the guys who were trying to fish offshore,” Canterbury said. “If you could have caught a couple of big ones, you really could have (established an advantage).
“Tomorrow (Friday), you’re still going to catch everything you can catch, but I think there was the potential of some guys catching some big bags today and it may not be as good tomorrow. Tomorrow, will be the best day of the tournament and it will get tougher as the tournament goes on. But no matter what the (weather) is, you still have to catch them if you want to get paid.”
Does Canterbury lament the loss of the week’s most promising day? Of course he does; but he prepared to adjust to the inevitable changes and he’s appreciative of the considerable deliberation that went into the schedule decision.
“With wind, weather; any of the variables that we can’t control, we have to do the best we can and make the right judgment,” Canterbury said. “B.A.S.S. made a judgement call and I’m thankful they’re watching out for our safety.”