Bradley Roy is staying close to the launch. After catching a number of fish and having yet another competitor (Terry Scroggins) pull into his first spot, Roy left. He arrived at his second location to find John Crews and Mark Daniels already fishing the area. He caught one short fish, and he’s heading out again.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been stocking Florida strain largemouth bass in Lake Travis since 1988. But all the pre-tournament talk here this week, and in previous tournaments here, has been about the numbers of 1- to 2-pound fish.
In the first hour today, big news is drowning out the dinks. In addition to Cliff Pace's 10-pound, 5-ounce bass, Josh Bertrand has landed an 8-3, Brent Ehler caught a 7-10, and both Micah Frazier and Drew Benton have boated 5-10s.
Remember, at Texas Fest the anglers aren't estimating weights. The fish are put on calibrated scales for judges to weigh. What you see in the BASSTrakk Twitter feed is the real deal. This ain't "fake news."
So far, we’ve seen only two types of structure on this lake: rocks and floating docks. Actually, there are only floating docks on this lake because of the extreme fluctuations in the lake levels. Just two years ago, Travis was 50 feet below full pool. Today, the lake is just 12 feet low. Both rock and docks will play this week, of course, but according to sources the floating docks will be the keys to bigger bites. We are on Skeet Reese now, who is targeting the floaters. It appears that he is throwing a buzzbait. With the water temps starting off this morning at 79 degrees, the surface bite should be ripe.
Cliff Pace has the nickname "Game Face" for a reason. He seldom changes expressions. But even "Game Face" had to laugh when he caught a largemouth bass that weighed 10 pounds, 5 ounces this morning.
Immediately, phone calls were made to Pace's judge to see if he'd made a mistake and meant to enter 1 pound, 5 ounces.
Nope. Pace really does have a 10-pounder in his livewell in the first hour at Lake Travis.
Timmy Horton is the first angler we found mid-lake. He’s sitting a long cast from the bank and casting 360 degrees around his boat. His first couple casts yielded three fish, all too short to keep. According to our boat driver, the anglers will be wading through a bunch of shorts to find five keepers.
It's going to be quite interesting to see the "Lures of the Top 12" story after this tournament is over. It seems you can catch bass on anything you want to try at Lake Travis right now.
"I had 20 rods on the deck during practice, and I caught fish on every one of them," said Fred Roumbanis yesterday. "I mean everything. I think you're going to see guys catch a hundred bass a day. I don't know if we've ever seen that in an Elite Series tournament."
Brett Hite echoed those thoughts, saying, "You can catch them from 40 feet to the surface right now and anywhere in between. You can catch them on a moving bait, a twitch bait, drop baits, stick baits - it really doesn't matter."
What aren't in abundance are bass measuring the 14-inch minimum.
"You can catch a hundred without ever catching a keeper," said Wesley Strader. "Yes, you can. That's what's crazy. You can catch a hundred 13-inchers."
The overall forecast looks to be a pretty decent one out at Lake Travis for the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Benefitting Texas Parks And Wildlife Department if you do not mind the hot temperatures in South Central Texas. The above image is for the closest reporting station just a couple of miles away from Lake Travis, which is showing the daytime highs and overnight lows for the area.
At this point, Thursday will be the hottest of the 4 days on Lake Travis as there will be plenty of sunshine and very few clouds out there to help with any shade relief. Not much wind to help out either as we're only expecting winds out of the south-southeast at 2-8 MPH. The temperature at launch will be around 70 degrees, while the daytime high will be close to 95 degrees. The good news is that the dewpoint levels will be in the lower 60s, so the heat index will equal the actual temperature.
Friday will be much of the same with hot and dry conditions, but a little stronger wind and a few more clouds will bring just a little more relief to the anglers. Skies will start off partly cloudy at the start of the day with the temperature in the upper 60s, but some of those clouds will dissipate a little leaving us with mostly clear skies by the afternoon. The afternoon high will be in the lower 90s... still hot, but winds out of the south at 5-15 MPH will be able to bring a little cooling to the anglers. Dewpoints will only be a couple of degrees higher than Thursday, so the heat index will run about 1 degree higher than the actual temperature.
Saturday will be nearly a duplicate of what Friday's forecast shows... more hot temperatures and starting to feel a little humid underneath mostly clear skies. There will be a few more clouds at the start of the day with the temperature in the lower 70s, but as those skies begin to clear out some, the temperature will reach the lower 90s once again. The southerly wind will be a little stronger averaging 10-15 MPH, with gusts up to 20 MPH possible. Dewpoints will be a few degrees higher, in the mid to upper 60s, making the heat index values run about 2-3 degrees warmer than the actual temperature.
Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. Tournament director, is giving instruction to the judges on training day with Rick Clunn looking on.
Update by Rick Moore, judge