What to look for at the Open this week

Day 1 is underway for the second stop of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens season. It’s the tidal James River, for the third consecutive August. What to watch for are a few of the same old things, with a twist. Here’s my take.

Tide: It hasn’t really mattered that much. The reason has been the good and bad tides (high and low) haven’t lined up with the tournament hours. Everybody just went fishing. This time the tide shifts early (low) and then midday (high), so there is a chance to make more of the cycle this go around.

Weights, Part I: Expect to see the usual 12- to 14-pound limits stacked up and down the scoreboard. The James River is a stingy tidal fishery. It will take more than cycling through the cookie-cutter keepers here to qualify for Championship Saturday.

Weights, Part II: Have you seen the big largemouth coming through this blog? Josh Douglas scored his PB with a largemouth weighing 9 pounds, 12 ounces in practice. Trait Zaldain posed with a bucketmouth for her social media channels. So did Aussie mate Carl Jocumsen. Whomever comes in with 17 or 18 pounds, topped off with one of those giants, will be a front runner.

Fish management: I define it as managing a pattern to sustain consistent catches for all three days of a tournament. That might be tough to do here. There will be lots of running and gunning, which is a gamble when you can’t pin consistency on a day-to-day basis. The anglers that figure out how to keep weights steady all week will be successful.