Canterbury feels the pain

After going 0 for 7, Scott Canterbury just put his first 16-inch largemouth in the livewell.

“All I want to catch is a keeper.”

“A” keeper? Yep, that’s what he told photographer Andy Crawford, who relayed that comment and this photo to me.

Andy said of the 7 throwbacks, three of those bass would be solid keepers anywhere else.

Looks like a long day ahead for the current Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

Canterbury’s early bites

Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year leader Scott Canterbury has put two bass in the boat already this morning: one smallmouth and one largemouth.

The problem has been the 16-inch minimum size limit. Neither of the fish reached that length, so he had to release them both.

As expected, his early focusing is shallow, running a bank of flooded bushes.

Expect an early flurry

The two hours, after today's 7 a.m. takeoff will provide the best fishing conditions, by far, today on Lake Tenkiller.

"I think you'll see BASSTrakk light up the first couple of hours in the morning," said Shane Lineberger. "Then it's going to really, really slow down, and guys are going to have to grind it out."

Tenkiller has plenty of bass in it. It's just a tough time of year to catch them, especially in daylight hours. And the 16-inch minimum length limit on both largemouth and smallmouth bass makes it particularly difficult.

"I think the first hour or two is really going to be the key," said Keith Combs. "After about 10 o'clock, it just feels like I'm not going to catch anything."

Tenkiller's falling water level

Several factors figured into the low winning total weight predictions at Wednesday's anglers' meeting. A five-bass daily limit weighing 12 pounds, which usually wouldn't make the Day 2 top 35 cut at an Elite Series event, was frequently mentioned as a winning formula over the next four days.

The combination of 90-degree water surface temperatures and falling water levels makes Lake Tenkiller a particularly tough challenge. And, man, has Tenkiller had a huge rise and relatively rapid fall this year.

Since Sunday, the lake has fallen 1.51 feet. Since August 29, it has dropped 8.88 feet. And since June 27, it has plummeted 30.19 feet. It was at the end of June when Tenkiller rose to 663.67 feet above sea level. The top of the flood pool is 667.

The "normal" or conservation pool level here is 632 feet above sea level. Recently there has been a steady release of 3,500 to 5,000 cubic feet per second from the dam, and that will probably continue until the 632 conservation pool level is reached. In other words, the lake level will continue to fall another foot and a half during this tournament.

"You're really going to get your skills tested," said Chris Zaldain.

Who's on LIVE on Day 1?

The six anglers who will have LIVE cameras during Day 1 of the Cherokee Casino Talequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller are Scott Canterbury, Harvey Horne, Yusuke Miyazaki, Dale Hightower, Drew Cook and Randy Sullivan. 

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