What to watch for on Thursday

On Wednesday afternoon myself and Andy Crawford gathered winning weight predictions from the pros. Andy shot the photo gallery and I recorded how they equated the weights. Curiosity also got the best of me, considering the warming conditions, so I dug deeper to find out what’s going on with the spawning cycle. Here’s what I found out.

To set up the conditions the weather has noticeably moderated the past several days, and especially on Wednesday when the temperature hovered around the high 60s with full sun. The overall mood was that the river will be best early in the morning. Brad Whately just revealed on LIVE that he watched 35 or more boats head up the river. So lines up with the predictions.

Why not go down south and search for spawning fish?

A possible reason is waiting for the water to warm up to its optimum temperature and put eyeballs on bedding fish. The later it gets, and the higher the sun rises, the closer it’ll get for that sight fishing magic to appear.

“The fish are really in that period where they have moved up but not feeding,” observed Chris Zaldain. “It seems like we are beyond the prespawn feeding mode, and I’m seeing a lot of fish but they are lazy.”

Zaldain said he’s seeing a lot of fish in the 3- to 4-pound class on the shoreline. That explains why most of the daily predicted weights to stay in the game averaged 16 pounds.

“I’m going to fish California style, which is using either a big or small swimbait,” added Zaldain.

He was among the final anglers to arrive for the mandatory angler meeting yesterday at 4:45 p.m. The reason?

“Later in the day it really stared warming up and the fish started coming up,” he said. “Man, I marked 35 beds on the GPS.”

John Crews had a similar game plan in play.

“It’s right on the edge of breaking loose, they want to spawn but they in that prespawn funk, just not feeding but about to make the move,” he said.

Brandon Cobb, who grew up fishing Hartwell, echoed the comments of many anglers about the spawning stage where it is right now.

“The water temperature is right for the all-out spawn, and there are fish on bed, it’s just we’ve had a late early spring,” he explained.

Cory Johnston knows the conditions of today will only get better as the sun warms the water even more.

“I had a great practice and spent a lot of time looking for shoreline fish, which I found,” he said. “Most of those fish average about 3 pounds, so the challenge is going to be catching one weighing over four pounds.”

Johnston’s game plan sounds like what I heard from his peers. Begin up lake, try and catch a limit of small fish, wait for the warmup and then go sight fishing.

“That’s the plan but it’ll change tomorrow with the all-day rain,” he added. “You will need a backup plan for Friday and I have one.”

Regardless of what shakes out you can be assured there will be an all-out bed fishing assault later in the day, because it’ll be a 100% washout on Friday.

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