ESCANABA, Mich. — Make sure all your bolts, screws and straps are properly tightened, fastened and in good working order. This week at Bays De Noc is going to send the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series pros out with a bang of driving winds that will create waves so big only the event itself will be larger in comparison. Keep that in mind when you're setting your Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing team.
A front pushing from the south will be toting double-digit winds that will come unabated and without mercy by the time they reach the shores of Bays De Noc. This will surely test the will to win of everyone competing this week. So who will have what it takes to fight those big waves in search of some of the biggest smallmouth in the world?
The temperature has been steadily declining, bringing about the legendary fall bite that anglers really enjoy. This sets up really well this week. I can remember previous seasons where temps reached the 80s and only dipped to the low 60s at night, and then a sudden cold snap of lows in the 30s would shut the fish right down just before one of my favorite events and make the fishing miserable for just one day. So far this doesn’t appear to be of concern because the temps continue to gradually fall, making big smallmouth easy to find because they’re feeding so heavily right now.
The moon is moving to the new phase, which will also help to keep fish feeding heavily during daylight hours and move a large wave of fish into the shad bite that happens this time of year. As the bait begin to move, the fish will, too, condensing them and making them easier to find.
But perhaps the most significant factor is the storm that’s looming over the weekend forecast. Right now, thunderstorms carrying winds with gusts in excess of 20 mph and more than half an inch of rain is predicted for Saturday. If that holds up, everyone will get a very lucky break because Saturday is reserved for pro seminars — not fishing. However, if that storm comes one day earlier or later, look out. Even the bays will be blown up and there will be no place to hide.
If the storm falls on the day of reprieve, it will bring a decrease in barometric pressure that will provide a feeding frenzy of incredible proportions. Because these fish are deep water dwellers, big rainfall like that is really not an issue like it is for largemouth, so Sunday will be business as usual for the brown fish.
This week, I like Aaron Martens, John Crews, Brandon Palaniuk, Ott DeFoe and Chris Zaldain. I’m sure those aren’t huge shockers for anybody. I do think at least one of those guys will average 25 pounds a day. Ken Duke can call that whatever he wants, Amazing Optimism, Root of all Optimism, or maybe just Jim Root’s prediction based on simple math. Either way, it’s just a prediction. I can’t be right all the time. There’s no fun in that.
See the forecast below, or click here for an up-to-the-minute version.