Winter has arrived in Alabama just in time for the Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Open on Lay Lake, with nighttime temperatures dipping into the low 20s for the first time this year and daytime highs struggling to get out of the 40s.
But Bassmaster Elite Series pro Scott Canterbury says it hasn’t hurt the fishing on the 12,000-acre Coosa River fishery as much as some people might think.
“The weights at the top of the standings might actually surprise some people,” said Canterbury, an Odenville, Ala., resident and Lay Lake veteran who has practiced all week in the suddenly frigid conditions. “I haven’t been getting a lot of bites, but there are some good ones biting.”
The 2019 Bassmaster Angler of the Year and sixth-place finisher in this year’s AOY standings backed up his practice claims with a photo of a giant Lay Lake largemouth he landed Tuesday.
“I wish I hadn’t set the hook on that one,” he said. “You don’t need too many bites like that to make a real difference on Lay. I think people will definitely get a few of those this week.”
As with most tournaments held on the Coosa River, Canterbury said he expects mixed bags of bass to dominate the standings.
“I think you’ll have to have largemouth and spots,” he said. “I’ve been catching some good spots, too, and I think that’s what you’ll see at the top — a mixture of both.”
Competition days will be Thursday-Saturday with takeoffs at 6:15 a.m. CT from Beeswax Park and weigh-ins back at the park each day at 2:15 p.m.
The winner of the event will earn an automatic berth to the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, assuming that angler has fished all four Eastern Opens this season.
Since it’s the final Eastern Open of the season, it also will decide the Top 4 anglers in the division standings who will earn an invitation to the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series. The Falcon Rods Bassmaster Angler of the Year — a title that goes to the angler who accumulated the most points in the Eastern and Central divisions — will also be decided this week, with another four invitations to the Elite Series being extended based on that outcome.