There are tournaments every once in a while where you just have to say “Holy Snot!”
If you were watching any part of the Elite Series Alabama River Charge presented by Star Brite, then those words became pretty commonplace Thursday.
Let me give you a little taste.
While Kelly Jordon took top honors in the Carhartt Big Bass honors with a 6-pound, 4-ounce largemouth, there were a couple times when other Elites hoisted 5-pound plus spotted bass as part of their bag.
For those of you who spend a lot of your time thinking about spotted bass as a last-minute filler to a short limit, or an easy way to post up a few bites for the kids, then think about that: Skeet Reese weighed in a 5-pound, 1-ounce spot that looked like it would kick the green out of a largemouth twice its size.
Those things make you want to say “Holy Snot!”
But it doesn’t stop there. Looking through the standings I see several things that give me pause, before I utter that phrase.
Paul Elias, for instance, is sitting in second with 18-4. His position by itself doesn’t really stop the presses. Elias is a giant in the fishing world. He wins tournaments. But for us old-timers, who remember 1982 when Elias won the Bassmaster Classic here, that is something that produces a grin and a, well, “Holy Snot!”
Even more so when you look down the standings: Some of the best river fishermen in the world (and this is a river) are sitting in the bottom of these standings. Kevin Short is 77th, Kenyon Hill is 78th, Stephen Browning is 85th, Scott Rook is 89th, Ott DeFoe, who won the postseason event here a couple years ago, is 93rd, Pete Ponds is 95th and Charlie Hartley is 97th.
There are a few more scattered above those, but just seeing that all-star cast of river anglers in the bottom quarter makes you utter those words.
Add to that is where some of these guys are fishing. If you fish local events, you realize some of these guys have the nerves of steel to go where locals would never venture. That’s mostly due to high water. Two of those are traveling all the way up the Tallapoosa. One of those paid the price by knocking out his lower unit.
Tommy Biffle paid that price. Kelly Jaye, who is with him, said on the weigh-in stand that after he idled through the only place on the river in that area you could get through, he heard Biffle’s motor fire up. He didn’t characterize it this way, but it’s our guess that however he said it, “Holy Snot” pretty much sums it up.
Understand that where they are going is normally considered canoe water, where it often takes two full days of floating in a canoe to get from where these guys are fishing to navigable water for a bass boat. This is why the locals are saying “Holy Snot!”
The locals, though, know that at any minute, whether by the whims of Mother Nature or Alabama Power, that influx of water could be completely shut off, leaving some of those anglers uttering the words.
The awesome thing is all over the Alabama River and its tributaries the fish are biting in a big way. A full 90 of the 100 anglers caught limits. The weights are respectable, even eye-opening if you were to look at the recent postseason events from here. And according to weigh-in officials, 90 percent of those fish weighed in on Day One were spotted bass. That stat alone deserves it’s own “Holy Snot” moment.
All you can say is there will likely be more “Holy Snot” moments on Day Two as well as the rest of this event. Isn’t that just the way we like it?