The funk ain't leaving the lake today

Unless the inflow from today's rain can match the outflow from Lake Hartwell's dam, the funk ain't leaving the lake today. Power generation began at 5 a.m. and is scheduled to continue until 10 p.m. It was a similar outflow of 17,000 cubic feet per second that dropped the lake level three inches yesterday.

The funk? Let Bill Lowen explain it: "The lake is just not fishing the way I think it should be because the water is falling so much. It's kind of got the fish in a funk."

Added Lowen, "It absolutely has to do with falling water. It has fallen close to a foot since we've been here. Anytime it's falling, it puts 'em in a funk, I don't care what body of water you're on. If this thing would stable out, I think you'd see fish just crash to the bank."

Lowen is making the best of the funk. He's got 13 pounds at 11:15, which has him in third place. But he's got the foundation for a big bag, with a 5-pounder and a 4-pounder in the boat.

Herren with 10 pounds

Matt Herren is catching a lot of fish now, and making some nice culls. BASSTrakk has him at five fish for 5 pounds. But there’s an error in there somewhere. We believe he has closer to 10 pounds, which would put him at about seventh place in BASSTrakk. He just told us he accidentally culled the wrong fish. But that may not matter with the numbers he is catching. As I’m typing he catches another 2-8.

Are the herring spawning?

If you're familiar with Lake Hartwell, you know the best time of the year to catch bass is during the blueback herring spawn. It usually occurs a couple of weeks after the major wave of bass have spawned. However, there's definitely at least a bit of herring spawn occurring now.

Hank Cherry didn't verbally answer the question, but essentially did with a big smile when asked about the herring spawn yesterday. Todd Auten, who finished in sixth place on Day 1 with 16-13, was asked about it too.

"If there is, I haven't found it," Auten said. "But I've heard a couple of guys are catching 'em like that, and that's probably how it will be won, especially on a day like (Friday). That's when it's really going to shine."

Walters catching 'em quick

It didn't take Patrick Walters long to put his first bass in the boat. He landed a 2-pounder at 7:36, and he quickly added three more keepers. Walters started the day in 18th place after weighing 14-15 on Day 1.
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Herren with a strong start

On Day 2 Steve Bowman, Derek Hudnall and myself are following Alabama Elite Matt Herren. We have a dark and rainy morning. Launch was delayed 10 minutes to allow time for some light to peak through. The rain came down hard for the first 30 minutes of fishing, but it has lightened up at the moment.

On Day 1 Herren said he caught all of his fish early, in a 10 minute stretch, between 9:30 and 10:00. He had 15-10 for 10th place. So far today he has two keepers for 4+ pounds, moving him up on BASSTrakk to 5th place.

It’s raining hard again. Time to put the iPhone in the pocket.

Anglers for autism

John Crews is again promoting Autism Awareness during the month of April. During the two Elite Series events this month, Elite anglers will be competing for the third annual Autism Angler of April award. The trophy will be awarded to the angler who finishes the highest at Lake Hartwell and Winyah Bay tournaments (combined) while wearing the custom autism awareness bracelet.

Pros will also be optionally pledging donations to various autism charities and using the hashtag #AnglersForAutism to create a link for the cause. 

“The bass fishing community has really embraced our autism push that we are do every April. The pros, the fans, B.A.S.S., and everyone has helped us make this campaign great,” said Crews. “This year, we are going to award the awesome trophy and are stepping up our social media game with the #AnglersForAutism hashtag. I am making a pounds pledge of $2 per pound for every bass I weigh during the month of April and donating that to Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center.”

In order for the angler to win the Autism Angler of April trophy this year, the anglers who wear the blue autism wristbands will be tracked by the amount of AOY points they earn in the two Elite events in April. The step up this year for the pro anglers is they are encouraged to pledge a certain amount of money to their local or national autism charity. The next step is posting about their pledge on social media and then B.A.S.S. and the pros sharing the other pros social media posts using the #AnglersForAutism tag.

The blue Autism bracelets will also be available for sale at the two April B.A.S.S. Elite event Expos in the B.A.S.S merchandise booth. They can also be purchased online at missilebaits.com and at mylittlebuddysboat.com. The Autism bracelets will sell for $10 each and 100 percent of the money is going to an Autism charity.

Eli Delany, an Autism activist and avid bass angler, is the president and founder of My Little Buddy’s Boat Inc., an Autism nonprofit. Eli is one of the main people that has pushed the Autism flag into the forefront of bass fishing. He has worked on several efforts such as the Fishin’ With a Mission decal program. Many bass pros have had the decal on their boat for years.

April is Autism awareness month. The winner of the Autism Angler of April award will be crowned at the B.A.S.S. Toyota Texas Fest at Lake Fork. Be sure to follow each angler on social media and at the weigh-ins to see where and how much they are raising and catching.

It's wet

Hank Cherry in a steady downpour on Day 2 of the Bassmaster Elilte at Lake Hartwell. 

Videos: Day 2 from the dock

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Limits no problem at Hartwell

If you're following the BASSTrakk, you know it's already flashing like a strobe light. Rain or no rain, catching a five-bass limit of 12-inch minimum length bass at Lake Hartwell isn't much of an obstacle. Only two of the 74 anglers failed to weigh-in a limit on Day 1. The 367 fish that crossed the scales weighed an average of 2.65 pounds.

Brock Mosley took big bass honors with a 5-9. Also weighing five-pounders were John Crews (5-3), Brad Whatley (5-2) and Steve Kennedy (5-1).

Lake Hartwell's funk continues

The words "funk" and "funky" were mentioned several times by anglers before this tournament began in describing the state of bass fishing on Lake Hartwell. The cold front earlier this week and fluctuating water levels seemed to have the bass "in limbo," as Patrick Walters said.

There were expectations that the funk would end with the warming weather. And it well may, but it didn't happen Thursday when 17,000 cubic feet per second of water was released from the dam for 20 hours and Lake Hartwell dropped three inches.

"They were pulling water and in some of those shallow beds where bigger females had pulled up in the shallow sand, they were gone," said Hank Cherry, who finished tied for second place with 17-9. "I had 10 beds to choose from (Thursday) morning, and they were all gone. During practice they were in a foot of water or less. The beds were still beautiful there, but no bass. I don't know if they backed off until the weather or the water stabilizes. I'm not sure."

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