Kicker and cheesing

A kicker showed up for Keith Allen and Jeffery Montgomery from Angler Nation out of Oklahoma.

Waiting for the tide

Kelly Pratt and Charles Rackley of Virginia know the James River well. Pratt especially has a stellar reputation fishing the Opens there, but Norfork not so much. The duo joked about waiting for the tide to come in because they are so used to that determine where they fish and when they adjust, but unfortunately for them, the tide has definitely left Norfork and won't come back until the spring rains fill it back up. 

They do have a keeper smallmouth in the boat and have landed a few walleye as well today. They said they caught them well in practice, but are trying to figure out where they went with this cold front. 

Looking for kickers

Keith Allen and Jeffery Montgomery from the Oklahoma Angler Nation have a early limit for around 10 pounds. Need a few kickers now.

Three keepers

I found the duo of Trevor Prince and Barron Adams of Georgia. The two anglers may sound familiar if you paid attention to this event last year. They finished third place in the Team Championship on Kentucky Lake and made the individual fish-off for a Classic spot. Adams came up just short and finished second to the eventual champion Scott Clift. 

Prince and Adams have three in the boat so far. Two of those are largemouth and one is a spotted bass. Their third keeper happened moments ago and it was a good sized largemouth, probably 3-plus pounds conservatively.

"That's one we don't have to measure," Adams said. "I like those kind," said Prince.

They said they weren't on much of a pattern after a hot and cold practice so they are hitting everything they have to see how they stack up. 

They'd love to try their luck at a Classic bid since it's just over the border into South Carolina at Lake Hartwell. 

A nice keeper

Brian Gottfried of Upstate Anglers in New York with a nice keeper.

Best weather day

Believe it or not, Day 1 of the Toyota Bonus Bucks Team Championship will be the best weather day of the two-day full-field event. With temperatures in the high 20's at takeoff we saw frosty walkways and front decks. Some teams had issues getting boxes open because they were frozen shut and others resorted to using heat and blow torches to get their trolling motors to work. Tonight's low temperature is expected to dip down to the mid teens with a high just above freezing on Thursday

Definitely some adverse conditions not really relating to catching fish, but rather functionality. One of the first teams I found today were the duo of Kelly Robinette and Billy Line of Virginia. They qualified via the Priority team trail. 

This morning they have 2 keepers, one of which they caught in front of me. They said they've caught close to half a dozen, but that length is what they are looking for. They have two spotted bass in the livewell. It is assumed that the cold temperatures will help fishing because the water temperature is seasonably warm for December 6th. The spotted bass are certainly active so far and only need to be 12 inches to keep while largemouth and smallmouth have to be 15. 

Team Championship begins

Day 1 of the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship at Norfork Lake got underway with chilly and foggy conditions for the 162 teams competing. First boat left the dock just after 6:45 a.m. CT and first check will be at 2:45 p.m. CT. 

A shot at glory

Over 160 teams have a shot at glory this week at the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship at Norfork Lake in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

This weeks format features two tournaments as we decide the Team Champion and also the Classic Fish-Off Champion that will fish the 2018 Geico Bassmaster Classic.

The first two days of the event (Wednesday and Thursday) will feature all 162 teams as the two-day weight total will crown a Team Champion. The winning team will win a Nitro Z20 with a 225 hp Mercury and will be decked out with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Lowrance Electronics.

After Thursday's weigh-in the Top 3 teams will be briefed and prepared for the individual portion. Friday and Saturday will feature 6 individuals and the two-day weight will decide the last Classic spot.

There is a lot of excitement and anticipation in the room tonight.