Teb Jones got off to a great start this morning with a bass in the 4-plus-pounds range. Jones is fishing various current breaks within a 1 1/2 mile area of the Grand River. He said his two biggest fish the previous two days have come on a swimbait, as did this one.
I want to personally thank the US Army Corps of Engineers and the good folks tending the locks and helping our anglers maximize their fishing time. We always get great cooperation and support in Oklahoma.
Here are some photos from the Chouteau lock this afternoon.
(Photos by Kenneth Todd)
~ Chris Bowes, Senior Tournament Director, B.A.S.S.
James Overstreet reports varying conditions on the river, although it's a dangerous run from end to end.
"I've lived around this river all my life and never seen the size of the trees and stuff coming downstream," the Bassmaster.com photographer said. "There aren't many guys running full throttle out on it, that is for sure."
He makes a good point. A twig sticking above the surface can be connected below to a tree the size of a bass boat, not unlike what you see in the picture submitted by Overstreet.
Not surpirisingly he's not seen any boats fishing out on the main river channel. The action is in the creeks. The water is clearer.
"The water coming into the creeks is keeping those areas flushed out and the mud out on the river," added Overstreet.
Interestingly, the water is also clearer near the lock and dam system leading into Kerr Reservoir. That's where Overstreet guesses one-half the field of 194 boats is now. The reward is a pool much more expansive and holding more creeks and backwater areas. The clearer water is likely a key draw for the anglers.
The risk is getting back on time. All those boats must lock through to make the weigh-in on time or forfeit crucial ounces and pounds due to late pentalities.
Timing and weather are two big factors to watch for today on the Arkansas River.
Timing relates to the anglers planning to lock through into Kerr Reservoir. The fishing is reportedly good there, with clearer water and better overall fishing conditions. On the down side the anglers going there are completely at the mercy of the lock operators. Their priority is commercial barge operation and those vessels get clearance over bass boats when locking through. One angler reportedly spent more than 2 hours waiting on his turn to lock through. Had it been tournament day the angler would've missed his alocated check-in time.
As for the weather it's more about the past than present. Lots of rain fell here recently and the upper river and backwaters are high and muddy. Those conditions, along with swift current pose a challenge for finding fish and boat control.
We'll watch to see how those factors play out today on the river.
Nothing happens with out the support staff. Stephanie Birdwell helping Jon Birdwell for the first Central Open.
Good food at the tournament meeting. Photo by Roman Holmes
Starting to find the size I'll need.
Day 2 of practice for Garrett McClendon of Bixby, Oklahoma. His second keeper of the morning.
Chad Wiley is finding some good practice bass.
2nd cast this morning, 5-1/2 lbs.