Lowen: 'It's going to be ugly'

There's one spawning area that seemingly every one of these 75 anglers knows about. This morning's boat launch order may have determined who went there first thing, and who chose another tactic. It's a smaller area than the usual St. Johns River spawning flat in Lake George.

"The area where they are spawning is going to be jam-packed up," said Bill Lowen. "It's probably going to be like nothing we've ever seen before. It's going to be ugly. I don't think the new guys realize what's fixing to go down."

Warm weather hurt Prince

Palatka, Fla., resident Cliff Prince likes warm, sunny weather as much as anyone. However, Prince was disappointed to see it arrive this week on the St. Johns River for one simple reason: It took away his edge over the 74 other anglers in the Power-Pole Bassmaster Elite.

“If it would have stayed cold, I feel like I would have had a pretty good advantage,” Prince said. “I wasn’t planning on 80 degrees three days in a row. The nastier the better for me.”

The warm weather brings the spawning bass factor into play in a big way. Prince was banking on his years of fishing the St. Johns and knowledge of deep structure like shell bars giving him an advantage in pre-spawn conditions.

“I know 50 places offshore, where some of these guys might know two,” he said.

Now everyone is on a level playing field, with a chance to swing for those home run 8-pounders on spawning beds, which always decide these St. Johns River events.

“It’s going to take a heavier weight than I originally thought to win this tournament,” Prince said. “Someone will have over 25 pounds on the first day and back it up with 18 the second.”

St Johns: First Forecast

Here is the first forecast for the St Johns tournament. I'll have an updated forecast sent to you before 11:59 pm on Friday night.

THURSDAY

We'll start off with just a couple of clouds floating overhead at the first launch of the Elite season, but those few clouds will give way to mainly sunny skies by the afternoon. Temperatures at 7:30 am EST will be in the mid-50s, around 56 degrees, and will climb into the lower 80s for the afternoon high, topping out around 81 degrees. Winds will be out of the south at 2-5 MPH early but will increase to 5-10 MPH by late morning. Dewpoints will be in the upper 50s to start but will climb into the lower 60s quickly. Chance of rain is 0%.

FRIDAY

Another dry day ahead with plenty of sunshine and just a few clouds passing overhead. Temperatures will be around 57 degrees at launch and will rise to around 80 degrees for the daytime high around 2:00 pm. Winds will start off out of the southwest early at 2-5 MPH and eventually shift out of the north at 3-7 MPH, thanks in part to a cold front that will begin to move through the area after fishing has completed for the day. Dewpoints will once again be in the upper 50s to the lower 60s from start to finish. While rain chances with the approach of that cold front are highly unlikely as the system will be moisture-starved, they are still not zero. I'll go with less than 10%.

SATURDAY

Get ready for much cooler temperatures during the afternoon hours while the morning temperatures will be around the same. Skies will be mostly cloudy throughout the event day but we should remain dry. Once again, rain chances are very low, but not at zero, so we'll say around 10%. Winds will be a little breezy at times out of the north to northeast at 10-20 MPH. Launch temperatures will be in the mid-50s and will only warm up into the mid-60s by the afternoon. Dewpoints will be down a little as well, starting off in the upper 40s and rising into the lower 50s by the end of the event day.

SUNDAY

At this point, the higher-resolution forecast models have not come into view for the entire day on Sunday but looking and the long-range models, there will be a chance of rain throughout the entire day over the St. Johns River. The good news is that it doesn't look to be a total washout, but showers could form and move across the lake during the late morning into the early afternoon hours. Skies will be mostly cloudy but there should be a few breaks to allow some sunshine at times. While not as windy as Saturday, winds will still be a little breezy at times out of the east at 10-15 MPH. Launch temperatures will be in the upper 50s and warming into the upper 60s by the afternoon. Chance of rain will be around 30%.

LUNAR STATS

On Thursday, the moon will actually be appearing during the daylight hours, rising at 8:58 am ET, hitting the midpoint at 2:48 pm ET, and setting at 8:43 pm ET. Illumination will only be at 7.7%.

Friday's moonrise will occur later in the morning around 9:30 am ET, crossing the midpoint in the sky around 3:30 pm ET, and setting at 9:35 pm ET. Illumination will be at 13.7%.

Saturday's moonrise will occur around 10:02 am ET, crossing the midpoint in the sky around 4:12 pm ET, and sets at 10:28 pm ET. Illumination will be at 21.3%.

Sunday's moonrise will occur around 10:34 am ET, crossing the midpoint in the sky around 4:56 pm ET, and sets at 11:23 pm ET. Illumination will be at 30.1%.

Video: Boat talk with Kennedy, Hudnall and Whatley

Watch Steve Kennedy, Derek Hudnall and Brad Whatley recap their practice.

St. Johns 2016: Clunn's legendary win

The last time the Bassmaster Elite Series rolled into Florida and competed on the St. Johns River, legendary angler Rick Clunn notched a B.A.S.S. victory for the ages. Clunn, 69 at the time, is considered the best tournament angler of all-time by many, and he came from nowhere to capture the Elite title just two Sundays after the 2016 Bassmaster Classic.

Read more about Clunn's exciting victory and see the biggest Florida lunkers anglers caught during the last St. Johns Elite tournament.

Daily Limit: Clunn's Ruthian blast

Clunn's 'big magic' revealed

St. Johns lunkers

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