The Early Bite

Look for things to happen early today in the third round of fishing. Several anglers I spoke with before launch this morning expect the best fishing to be during high tide. Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., sitting in 26th with 32-11, is fishing Crescent Lake with six or seven other semifinalists. He said he's sight fishing in 12-15 inches of water, and as the tide falls out, the bass get spooky.


"It only drops 4 or 5 inches, but that makes a huge difference," he said. McClelland practiced in Lake George, where everybody else is, but he found a couple of stretches in Crescent where bites were plentiful, and that's where he's staked his tournament hopes.


Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., also likes the high tide for his fishing holes, which are in sight of the take off at Riverfront Park. He's in 21st place on Day 3 with 33-2. "The first day, I couldn't do anything wrong," he said. "Yesterday, I couldn't get a bite in the afternoon." He has other spots upriver where he's seen 6- and 7-pounders, but he couldn't get them to bite. "They're getting more cooperative every day. Maybe today they'll bite.


"If things don't happen around here quickly," he added, "I'm going down into Lake George with everybody else. But I'm not going in on top
of anybody."