Groh with a good one

No one enjoys tournament bass fishing more than Chris Groh, the second-year Elite Series angler from Spring Grove, Illinois. The self-described "Chain Rat," who learned to fish on the Fox Chain of Lakes in his home state, Groh has tried to keep his frustration in check as he slowly gains confidence on the Elite Series.

Groh entered this event ranked 61st in the Toyota Angler of the Year standings. But he seems to be on the upswing. He finished 24th at the Central Open on Alabama's Smith Lake in April, then 36th in the Elite Series Texas Fest at Lake Fork in May.

Groh had only one bass in the boat at 8 this morning, but it was a good one - a 4-pounder.

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Yelas nabs 4-pounder

Jay Yelas pulled up to a main-river ridge just a couple of minutes after Matt Herren left the same spot.

Yelas almost immediately caught a couple of throwbacks, but he just capitalized by putting a 4-pounder in the livewell.

He still has some work to do, though: He said he’s only got two bass in the livewell for about 6 pounds.

Livesay on a hot spot?

Lee Livesay left Lake Fork last month with a bad taste in his mouth. He entered the Texas Fest event as one of the favorites, but didn't make the Day 2 cut, finishing in 39th place. So Livesay has some work to do this week at Lake Guntersville. And he's getting it done this morning early.

As you can see in the accompanying video, Livesay put this 4-pound, 3-ounce bass in the boat early. He had three keepers weighing 10-3 at 7:00 a.m.

Cappo, Williamson off to hot start

Quentin Cappo and Jason Williamson are fishing within talking distance of each other, and just a few minutes away from launch. Both are off to a strong start. Cappo has four fish for about 12 pounds and is in the lead for now. Williamson has a 4.5, which is one of the bigger bass of the day so far. With the competitors running all over Lake Guntersville, it’s always interesting to see who stays close to home. So far that decision is paying off for these two Elites.

Our media boat driver Jesse Tacoronte is guessing Cappo and Williamson are dragging big worms in grass, in 10-12 feet of water. Tacoronte isn't fishing today because of a rules infraction. But he didn't turn tail and head home, he's helping us out, and interacting with fans. 

Rivet with first fish of the day

Tyler Rivet was boat No. 9 at the 6 a.m. takeoff. He caught a 3-pounder at 6:11. It was the first of what's expected to be a big bass day at Lake Guntersville. While a 3-pounder isn't a headliner, the fish in that class will be important.

"I said it would take 83 to 85 pounds to win," Scott Canterbury noted yesterday. "After the top 35, I think it's going to fall off a little bit. But this lake has such good quality, I still think it will take 16 or 17 pounds a day to make the top 35."

A few of those 3-pounders will be important for staying in the hunt here. The field will be cut to the top 35 anglers after two days.

Lake Guntersville forecast

The average high for Scottsboro, Alabama for this time of year is 88 degrees, while the average low is around 65 degrees. The weather will be a little warmer than that as a ridge of high pressure will build over the southeastern United States that will pump warm and humid air up from the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, that means that there will be a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms each day through the weekend and into the start of next week. Here are the details for each day of the tournament.

FRIDAY

The day will start off mainly clear with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s. Temperatures will increase rather quickly through the morning and early afternoon hours, topping off around 90 degrees at the weigh-in. Clouds will build during the day but will only be partly cloudy by 2:00 pm. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms, but those look to come after the fishing day is complete. Any storms that develop during the late afternoon hours and into the evening hours could be strong to severe. Winds will be calm at the start but will eventually be out of the southwest at 1-5 MPH. Dewpoints will be in the lower 70s with heat index values running about 5 degrees above actual temperature.

SATURDAY

Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy throughout the day and there will be a small chance of a few scattered showers and thunderstorms. Rain chances at this point only look to be around 30%. Dewpoints throughout the day will be in the mid-70s, making those heat index values about 5-8 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. We'll start off in the lower 70s at launch and top out around 90 degrees for the afternoon high. Winds will be out of the southwest at 1-5 MPH.

SUNDAY

Nearly the same story as Saturday... partly cloudy skies throughout the day with a small chance of an afternoon scattered shower or thunderstorm. Dewpoints will be a little lower, but still in the lower 70s. Temperatures will start off around 70 degrees and will top out in the lower 90s. Winds will once again be out of the southwest at 1-5 MPH. The chance of rain will top out around 30%.

MONDAY

A surface front will move into the area and will bring an increased risk of showers and thunderstorms throughout the day. There looks to be some chance of a few stronger to severe storms as there will be an increase in bulk shear levels. Temperatures will be cooler during the afternoon hours, topping out in the upper 80s. It will continue to be a muggy day with dewpoints in the lower 70s. Skies will start off partly cloudy with clouds increasing throughout the day. Temperatures at launch will be around 70 degrees. Chance of rain throughout the day is currently at 50%.

LUNAR STATUS

The moon will be in the Waning Gibbous stage throughout the event weekend, as the full moon occurred on June 17th. Therefore, the illumination of the moon surface will be decreasing. Here are moonrise and moonset times:

Friday: 9:45 pm rise / 10:22 am set
Saturday: 10:39 pm rise / 10:55 am set
Sunday: 11:34 pm rise / 11:26 am set
Monday: 12:30 am rise / 11:58 am set

IT'S SUMMERTIME

The Summer Solstice takes place on Friday morning at 10:54 am CT. This will be the day that features the longest amount of sunlight at 14 hours, 29 minutes. Sunrise will be at 5:31 am and will set at 8:00 pm.

Memories of Guntersville and a Tribute to Rex Chambers

My earliest memories of Guntersville was it being a favorite of my childhood friend Lee Bryant’s father Marvin. Aside from my dad and two grandpas, Marvin was one of my big influences in bass fishing. Marvin took Ray Scott’s catch and release platform to hart and instilled it in Lee and I as we grew up fishing. Over the years those experiences have broadened and become more personal.

In the early 1990’s I transformed from a radio guy to a freelance photographer and writer. Back at that time there were three players in the outdoor Internet forum business. Bass Fishing Home Page, Shooters, and my beat Alloutdoors. All three of those originals are now defunct but I used to do many of Alloutdoors bass fishing columns and when Shemane Nugent had a fisherman on her radio show they called me to sit in on the panel. After Alloutdoors I went out on my own for a few years and I had the privilege of getting Guntersville guide Troy Jens to write some stuff and help keep the Guntersville reports current.

Gerry Lebing owner of Bass Fishing Home Page used to host an annual Guntersville Rally that featured a 1 fish tournament. I went to several of these where I got to meet Troy Jens in person as well as other bass fishing legends on Guntersville. If Troy's name doesn’t ring a bell look up some of the older Timmy Horton TV Show episodes. Troy fished with him often. One year I’d even paired up to fish with Troy but illness prevented him from going at the last minute.

In 2014 our friend Troy went missing. Mike Bucca, the maker of Bull Shad Swim Baits put out the call to come down and look for Troy. I was fortunate not to have run across Tennessee law enforcement on the way down but I came and helped Mike, Troy's brother Clay, a friend by the name of Garrett Coxwell, and well known Guntersville guide Rex Chambers hunt for Troy. The ending turned tragic, but I will say this. If I ever go missing on the water I hope those guys are involved in the search. They are all A #1 people.

I was sad to learn Sunday Morning that Rex has passed away from a heart attack after fishing a tournament on Guntersville. To his family, I extend my sympathies and for the fishing community who had met Rex or just knew him by reputation, he will be missed by a lot of people you will likely never know. Bass fishermen are a lot of things but at the core are a family.

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8 Elites head to Buck's Island before Guntersville

While you will be able to see all the Elite Series anglers starting Friday, June 21 at Goose Pond in Scottsboro for the weigh-in, if you are free on Monday, June 17 and live in the Gadsden area, you can meet eight anglers at Buck's Island in Southside, Ala. Meet and talk to some of the best anglers in the world, and I can assure you I'll be staying for the BBQ chicken. 

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