If you are a tournament fan—or charged with covering an event like me—the first place your eyes lock in on the leaderboard is at the top.
It’s still very early in the game but another not so pretty scene on the leaderboard is happening from the bottom up. According to BASSTrakk, here’s what I mean, by the ugly numbers.
20: Anglers without a keeper in the boat
17: Just one lonely bass in the livewell for this group
20: Number of anglers with two keepers in the boat
From my conversations with the anglers yesterday, what’s panning out on Cherokee Lake is of no surprise. Ott DeFoe, David Walker and Skylar Hamilton, all pre-tournament favorites, said the same thing. What are normally wintertime patterns that concentrate the fish in deeper water are not happening on a large scale. Winter has been unusually warm here.
“We haven’t had a cold enough winter, until today, to really lock the fish into those patterns,” noted Hamilton.
Of course, that’s all subject to change but the weather forecast is going the opposite direction from setting things up for a winter bite. A gradual warming trend begins tomorrow. Friday’s high temperature is expected to reach 54 degrees, and the temperature jumps by 13 degrees on Sunday.
What the average angler stands to learn from this crazy shift in the weather is going to be a treat. And the lessons learned will be delivered by the sport’s top pros.