Fantasy: Cold temps, go finesse

PHILADELPHIA — This is the city of brotherly love.

Of Rocky Balboa.

But it will not be a “warm” welcome for anyone looking to get cozy.

Welcome to the North.

You’ll need to keep the temperatures — and the pros’ fishing styles — in mind when selecting your Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing team.

The Elite Series begins to close out the season at the Delaware River, and one thing I heard a lot of while at Champlain for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Allstate is, “Man, it’s cold up here.”

This has been just a cold year, period. I can’t remember an end of July/beginning of August that saw temperatures hover in the low 80s and try to reach the 50s at night. That’s just not a kind way to take off at 6 a.m. and drive at high speed. It’s also not your ideal largemouth weather.

But this is the North, and there’s another option.

Like we saw at Champlain, smallmouth play a huge roll up here. Find the big ones, and you can blow away your competition like Brandon Palaniuk did last year at the St. Lawrence River.

I think the smallmouth will have a huge impact this week, as their behavior isn’t nearly as impacted by the weather as their greener cousins. There’s rain in the forecast this week (surprise) and that too will cloud up the water and make largemouth fishing difficult during the first couple of days.

Barometric pressure will be higher than the preferable 30 to 29 and falling range for most of the event, climbing after Thursday and bringing clear skies for the rest of the week. Look for the event to open with a bang, then for weights to drop off and fishing to get tough. No clouds, no real wind.

Not enough? Throw in the tidal impact and it’s like you have the Frankenstein child of the James River and the St. Lawrence. In my mind, that’s another reason to pick guys who like to go brown when given the choice of smallmouth or largemouth.

Go with your finesse guys for Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing — especially the ones who were getting dialed in on Northern fish last week at Champlain, like Palaniuk, Aaron Martens and Ott DeFoe. The smallmouth bite will stay hot for anglers who can locate them. And this is the Elite Series; they’ll be found by one of those guys for sure.

Also, Mike Iaconelli is heating up, and he’s excited to be home (he lives not far away in New Jersey). Anytime Ike gets excited, it’s exciting!

See the 10-day forecast below, or get the most up-to-date forecast by clicking here.