Weather is the focus

TULSA, Okla. — As 53 anglers filed onto the Tulsa Fairgrounds for Media Day, the buzz was not about lures or boats or Bassmaster Classic swag. Instead, they all played amateur meteorologist, trying to guesstimate the conditions that will confront them on the water tomorrow.

Their efforts may prove to be accurate, but then again they may not. Despite substantial technological advancements in recent years, February weather in Oklahoma remains an imperfect science.

“If you try to predict the weather here this time of year, you’re either a fool or you’re from out of state,” Dick Faurot said.

He should know. He’s the resident meteorologist for KOTV Channel 6, the local CBS affiliate. He received his Master’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and after a brief sojourn to Louisiana he’s been back in the Sooner State since 1993. He’s also an avid bass angler.

The state’s volatile weather results from its position at a crossroads of sorts. It receives the tail end of the precipitation that comes up through the Gulf. Once it arrives here, it combines with weather systems moving out of the Rocky Mountains to create a quickly-changing mix.

On top of that, Faurot said, “There’s nothing between here and the North Pole except a couple of barbed wire fences.”

The result is that it may be below 20 degrees at take-off tomorrow, but will likely rise up over 60 on Sunday afternoon.

“That’s the nice thing about our latitude,” he said. “Even when we get bad weather, it doesn’t hang around long. A couple of years ago it got down to 31 degrees below and a week later it got up to 79. That’s a swing of 110 degrees.”

At the low end of that swing, Faurot caught a fish through the ice in his pond, if nothing else just to say he had done it. The lesson to be learned, though, is that the inclement weather “affects the fishermen a lot more than it affects the fish.”

While the Classic contenders may not like the unpredictable weather, for the most part they’ve learned to deal with it. After all, if their fish don’t bite during one set of conditions, they need only wait an hour or two to get the ones they want. It’s a variable they can’t control, but one they can plan for nonetheless.

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