Soggy start at Junior Championship

Anglers set to compete in the Bassmaster Junior National Championship had to wait an extra 35 minutes because a storm system moving through western Tennessee brought too much of the flashy stuff.

“We strive to ensure that our anglers get a full day of fishing, but their safety is always our top priority,” said Bassmaster Youth Series Tournament Manager Glenn Cale. “This morning’s storm brought too much lightning, so we delayed the takeoff by 35 minutes. We started the launch at 6:20 and got everyone out fishing as quickly as possible.”

Showers will remain through late morning, so anglers are fishing wet today. That’s part of the sport, but rain definitely has a few pros and cons to consider.

Starting with challenges, you gotta wear the rainsuit and that extra weight/bulk can have an impact on mobility. You learn to work around it, but you’re not always as crisp and precise, so a conscious effort to focus on fundamental performance is key.

On the environmental side, rain and the wind of a passing storm can stir up sediment and bring muddy inflows. Anyone fishing shallow patterns will have to take this into consideration.

If the turbidity is not too bad, the decreased visibility can actually work to an angler’s advantage by decreasing a fish’s strike zone. When fish can clearly see a couple feet in all directions, they can afford to be picky and selective, but when their world is limited to a few inches, anything that crosses their radar gets smacked.

This is when a host of reaction baits — squarebills, spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, swim jigs — excel.

Another rain benefit — cooler temperatures. Summer days in Tennessee regularly reach mid to upper 90s this time of year, but this week’s wet, dim forecast will spare anglers the sweltering heat.

Fortunately, tournament waters won’t require any long runs, so the visibility factor shouldn’t hinder navigation much, if at all. Weigh ins begin at 1:45 p.m., and we’ll no doubt hear tales of weather impacts.

Some will be better than others, but that’s fishing. At least no one’s getting sunburned today.