Bitter cold for remaining anglers

The blistering cold that punished anglers on Norfork Lake all day Thursday doesn’t look like it will let up one little bit on Friday.

In fact, it may be worse.

The thermometer read as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this morning and the six remaining anglers in the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship now are out in the cold. This morning’s launch from the 101 Dock just outside of Mountain Home, Ark. was delayed by almost two hours because of fog, so it was a bit warmer at 8:40 a.m. when the anglers finally shot out from this dock nestled deep within the Ozark Mountains – but not by much.

Luckily for bass fishing fans, the high temperature of the day (a comparatively balmy 40 degrees) is predicted at 2:45 p.m. when Friday’s weigh-in is scheduled to begin.

Not that any of the final sextet of anglers is complaining about the wintry weather. After all, the last berth in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods is on the line.

The top three teams in the team championship portion of this tournament were divided after Thursday’s weigh-in. The six remaining anglers now will fish individually for a spot in the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing.”

The man with the heaviest two-day total weight beginning today will fish in this year’s Bassmaster Classic. It’s scheduled for March 16-18 on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell.

Brothers Brett and Beau Govreau of St. Louis, Mo. won the team championship and collected a boat/motor package valued at $41,995 for their efforts. The brothers compete on the U.S. Anglers Choice Team Trail and finished the two-day international team championship here with a pair of limits that totaled 26 pounds, 2 ounces.

For two days, the Govreaus shared a boat and shared knowledge as good teammates do. Now, they’ll be in separate vessels and head their separate ways.

Neither is looking back; not with this much on the line.

“We’re always competitive,” said Brett Govreau, the older brother at 38.

“We’re brothers,” Beau Govreau, 36, said matter of factly. “That’s just the way it is.”

Ryan Butler and Dustin Lippe finished second in the team championship with a 24-12 total over two days. The Joe Bass Team Trail anglers, who both hail from rural southern Missouri, earned $11,000 for the second-place showing and one of them can cap what already has been a fantastic week by fishing his way into the Classic.

Of course, the father/son duo of Robbie Dodson Jr. and Robert Dodson Sr. would like to have a say in the matter. The Harrison, Arkansas tandem also fish with Joe Bass and placed third in the team tournament with a 24-10 total over two days. The pair won $8,000 for the third-place showing.

Brett Govreau manned the No. 1 boat on Friday and his younger brother was in Boat No. 2. Butler and Lippe were in boats 3 and 4 and the Dodsons in 5 and 6.

Friday’s weights will carry over into Saturday’s final day of competition. Dodson Sr. will be in Boat 1 that day and with the elder Govreau launching last.

With temperatures as cold as they are, and with 22,000 acres of Norfork Lake to explore, fishing pressure should be at a minimum.

But which of these six anglers will find the right bites and earn the right to compete alongside the best bass pros in the world next March? will live stream the weigh-in at 2:45 p.m. CST on both Friday and Saturday.

Stay tuned.