Brant leads Northern Divisional

TOWER, Minn. — Corey Brant wants more than continuing to lead the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional.

He's not asking much, either.

More fishing time is what Brant and anglers from eight Midwestern states desire. A thick blanket of fog settling over Lake Vermillion delayed the official 6 a.m. start time on Day 1.

The first boats idled away from the marina at 8:17 a.m., cutting the day short by two hours.

“I have an early topwater bite for smallmouth and it didn’t happen this morning,” said Brant, a club member of Twin City Bass. “I’m sure I speak for everyone when I hope that tomorrow we get out on time.”

That outcome hinges on the weather for Day 2. Fog is in the forecast until 7 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. This morning’s fog was due to post-frontal conditions that dropped the overnight low to 37 degrees on Tuesday. The chilly air mixed with warm water and the fog thickened until after sunrise.

Brant might also want more weight. He leads the tournament with 16 pounds, 14 ounces. Close behind with 16-9 is Gary Adkins of Green Bay, Wis. Behind Adkins is Daniel Brown of Joliet, Ill., with 15-15. Ounces separate him from the remaining anglers in the top 5.

The fog isn’t the only challenge facing the anglers. During practice a strong low-pressure system brought high winds, heavy rain and a 20-degree drop in the daytime high. Today’s temperature of 70 degrees with clear skies and light winds is a huge contrast to yesterday’s weather in the area.

“The post-front conditions hurt everyone today, me included,” said Brant, of Minnetonka, Minn. “Tomorrow and Friday the weather will stabilize and that should make the fish more active.”

Brant abandoned his early morning topwater bite after landing only one smallmouth. He spent the remainder of the day with frequent, short stops at a dozen areas on the east side of the lake.

“Where we caught one bass at each stop we should have caught five more,” he said. “It was a grind all day long.”

There was a positive aspect. Being forced to fish deeper areas all day provided more knowledge of bass behavior for tomorrow.

“It definitely helped being in those areas more since it’s where I’ll spend much of the time,” he said.

With more fog tomorrow he might be forced to get even more comfortable with the deeper bite.

Winning the overall tournament is only one goal. Another high honor is qualifying for bass club angling’s premier event. The highest finishing angler from each competing state advances to the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, Nov. 5-7, on the Ouachita River in Louisiana.

Minnesota leads the state standings with a cumulative weight of 122 pounds, 7 ounces. Illinois is second with 103-12 and Wisconsin is third with 82-6. Ohio is fourth with 79-11 and South Dakota fifth with 75-14. Iowa has 72-15 for sixth place, Indiana is seventh with 71-6 and Michigan is eighth with 69-2.

The winning state team is awarded a Triton/Yamaha boat, motor, trailer and accessories package valued at $37,292.

The tournament host is Fortune Bay Casino and Resort. The weigh-in is at the resort marina and begins Thursday at 2 p.m.