The spotted bass, herring puzzle

You will probably see a lot of "heroes and zeroes" in this tournament. Not literally zeroes on the scoreboard, as much as lightweight limits. The heroes will have 20-pound-plus bags. That's due to Lake Lanier's relatively uncommon combination of spotted bass predators and blueback herring prey. Lanier is far from the only lake like this, but they're atypical on the Elite Series tour.

"Somebody is going to catch them," said Scott Canterbury of Odenville, Ala., yesterday. "It's been a little tough for me to get a lot of bites. But there are some big fish biting, and there are going to be some really big bags of spotted bass brought in."

Choosing the depth to concentrate is the big puzzle now. Carl Jocumsen of Queensland, Australia, mentioned catching big bass in 2 feet and 22 feet in practice. Bill Weidler of Helena, Ala., said he was catching them in 40 to 80 feet.

Watching someone solve the puzzle that is Lake Lanier right now will make for an interesting week.

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