Frosty morn

BRANSON, Mo. – The question on angler’s minds was what will the crisp morning do for the fishing.

A cold front moved through and brought a low of 34 and frost warnings for the Table Rock Lake area, where the final Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open opened Thursday.

 “It hasn’t been this cold,” said a well-bundled up Keith Surber of Austin, Texas, as he sat at the dock waiting for the 7:15 a.m. launch. “This is the first freeze we’ve had. It can get tough.”

Most reported the fishing has been difficult. Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., said Wednesday the winning angler will probably have to alternate between patterns.

“I think they’re going to have to do multiple things,” he said. “If we could have been fishing yesterday when the front hit with the rain, and today when it was still cloudy and windy, it would have a pretty decent catch.”

Fishing under clear skies on the clear water lake will translate into a  really tough tournament, Clunn said.

“Normally, I like the fall. It’s not a go-crazy bite in the fall, usually it’s a good bite, but this is extremely tough,” he said. “I see that happen about every third or fourth fall. To this day I still don’t understand why it gets that way.”

Dale Hightower, who fished the last Classic after qualifying through the Federation Nation, has been fishing the Central Opens with one goal.

 “Hopefully, I have a good top 15 finish and make the Elite Series this next year,” said the Oklahoman who sits 13th in points and isn’t too worried about the front passing. “The cooler weather is going to put fish a little tighter to cover.

“My fish, I’ve been catching anywhere from 9 to 20 foot. They’re close to deep water. I don’t think this cold weather will have much effect on them.”

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