Cobb makes one bass count

Yes, the rain forecast has come true. While it has made the anglers don some serious rain gear, that’s been offset by the rain seemingly turning on some bigger bass. Brandon Cobb landed this 4 1/2-pound largemouth just before 11 a.m. He finished Day 1 in 33rd place with 4 fish totaling 8-11. He’s only got that one big one today, but it should be enough to keep him inside the top 50 cut after today’s weigh-in. It has him in 24th place currently, according to BassTrakk. The 50th place weight was 5 pounds, 7 ounces on Day 1. Cobb now has 13-3.

Menendez looking to build on Day 1 success

After landing in 8th place with 11-11 on Day 1, Mark Menendez is searching for his first keeper of Day 2.

Currently, the Bassmaster veteran is fishing in Island Creek on Tellico Lake with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. At his first spot, about 25 miles away, he said there were fishing in the area, but he could not get them to commit.

BassTrakk currently has Menendez is 26th position.

The rain has become steadier as the day has progressed and is likely to continue through the day.

DiPalma in a productive area

Fishing totally new water, Greg DiPalma has landed three keepers and two non keepers in the span of an hour on Tellico.

He is catching largemouth with a spinnerbait on steeper, rocky banks in the back of a creek pocket.

DiPalma said the creek channel swings up against the banks he’s had success on.

With three bass in the boat, BassTrakk has DiPalma in 18th with 3 pounds, 2 ounces so far on Day 2.

TVA's game plan

Everyone in this tournament has a game plan. On the Tennessee River system, that game plan can be influenced by another. That game plan is the generation schedule of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

TVA has a game plan about how to prevent it from flooding throughout the entire system, the watershed of which begins in east Tennessee.

Cherokee and Douglas lakes are the key influencers for what happens downstream at Fort Loudoun Lake. Here's the game plan for today, Saturday and Sunday, based on the predicted 4 inches of rain in the forecast through the weekend.

At Cherokee, the predicted average daily discharge is 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday it jumps to 11,360 cfs. At Douglas, the predicted average daily discharge is 18,700 cfs on Friday, with 5,000 cfs on Saturday and Sunday.

Now, check out the Midnight Elevation column in the graphic for Fort Loudoun, where it matters the most. It holds steady at 809.23 above sea level. The gates will be wide open at the dam, to keep it steady.

What's all that mean for fishing? Too soon to tell, but there will be a current factor as water moves from Cherokee and Douglas, and then into and out of Loudoun.

Current is a way of life for the largemouth and smallmouth in these lakes. They don't swim away from it, merely repositioning to current breaks, such as bottom structure, points and channel bends. Dialing into how they do that will be a must over the weekend.

Hackney: “Stand down!”

Jamie Hartman has the big bass of the day so far, a 5-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth. Greg Hackney just put a largemouth in the boat that looked every bit that big. It went into BassTrakk as a 3-12. Whatever it weighs officially at the end of the day, and it will be more than 3-12, it certainly fired up Hackney.

“That’s the reason right there I’m throwing that (Strike King) Thunder Cricket!” Hackney proclaimed. “I’ve got that (Strike King) Rage Swimmer on the back. That thing is sexy! Sexy! Stand down!”

Hackney is, uh, excited. And this tournament is getting more exciting by the minute as multiple anglers are suddenly putting bigger than average bass in the boat.

Card scores on back-to-back casts

Brandon Card just showed how quickly things can change in this tournament. On back-to-back casts he put a 3-pound, 2-ounce largemouth in the boat and then a 4-5. As has been mentioned, Card is flying a bit under the radar this week, but he shouldn’t be. He now lives in Salisbury, N.C., but Card was living here in Knoxville last year. After finishing 9th in the 2020 Bassmaster Classic at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, the Elite Series went on a two-month pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Card spent his time fishing right here - the Tennessee River and lakes Fort Loudoun and Tellico. He knows where the bass want to go here in March and April. Maybe they’re starting to move there now in late February.

The Mud Man goes ashore

This morning we are following Brock Mosley and Frank Talley. Both are fishing a shallow pocket off the main body of the Tennessee River. When it became clear we could not get close to them by water intrepid photographer and angler relations manager Steve Bowman hopped ashore and trudged through the mud to get closer to Talley and Mosley. As a passionate duck hunter, Bowman is no stranger to muck. You’ll see his photos on later today.

Neither Mosley or Talley have a keeper yet this morning, but the day is young.

The rain has started in our section of the river. Let’s see how that affects the fishing and how long Bowman stays on land. He did bring a umbrella to protect the camera.

One bite away

Yesterday, six anglers failed to weigh a bass, and that's not the end of the world.

How so?

Because they are one bite away from extending their tournament here. The Top 50 cut weight is 5 pounds, 7 ounces, and came with only 3 bass brought to the scales. So, it won't take much to fish an extra day.

And don't think getting to fish just one more day here is not such a big deal. The 2021 Bassmaster Elite Season just began, but if later on you are staring at being on the bubble for the Bassmaster Classic, just one missed day could make a difference.

At the cut line, it's only 7 ounces to get inside the Top 50. Never give up, as the saying goes, because you never know how much it will matter toward the end.

DiPalma battling rainy conditions on Tellico

Rain has fallen throughout the morning on Lake Tellico to start Day 2 of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite Series on the Tennessee River.

Greg DiPalma is in Tellico fishing totally different than he fished the previous day. Currently, he is running rock banks and docks with spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

“The conditions are a complete 180 from yesterday, “ he said.

After finishing Day 1 in 27th with a limit weighing over 9 pounds, DiPalma has yet to land a keeper.

Update: Right after sending the above, DiPalma caught his first keeper of the day. 

No sun, no go for Kennedy

Steve Kennedy is doing what he likes to do (except use a swimbait), which is flipping and pitching at isolated cover in shallow cover. The only problem is that tactic needs sunshine to position the bass tight to the casting targets.

"I don't have any confidence in the spot, without the sun," he said.

Kennedy added that he'd give his starting area north of the Concord Park boat ramp, which is midlake, until 9 a.m., when he'd need to make a decision about what to do next.

That would be to make a very long run to the far end of Tellico Lake, to his other area.

What that calculated risk will do is consume valuable fishing time. However, the risk could easily be worth the trip. In this tournament, just catching a limit is huge.