It depends on who you ask

BURLINGTON, N.J. -- What today will look like on the Delaware River is the subject of some differences in opinion. Which opinion turns out to be correct may very well determine the winners of the 2011 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional presented by Yamaha and Skeeter.

The prevailing view is that the river will fish as hard, or maybe harder, than it did yesterday. The reasoning behind this is that there has been a ton of rain upriver — in some places 9 inches — that will keep the water high and muddy. Some of that water has arrived, some is still traveling.

Adding to the problem will be the tide. The low water mark was reached early this morning but still later than yesterday. That means more rising water during the day which will push the river to record non-flood levels.

According to this line of thinking the bass will stay scattered and mostly negative throughout the day. That means low weights and one or two fish per angler.

Steve “Cheeseburger” Roberts from the Virginia team, and the overall winner of the 2005 Mid-American Divisional, takes that same information, assembles it a little differently, and comes to a radically different conclusion.

He says that there might be water coming from the rains upstream but that it’ll run off into the Atlantic Ocean so there’s no reason to worry. He also says that the later low tide will give anglers more slack water time during the day to find biting bass.

“I refuse to think negative about this,” he says after a disappointing first day in which he didn’t catch a keeper. “This is fishing. The water might be high with a strong current but there’ll be some opportunity for us to fish on both sides of the slack water period. That’s when most of us do our best, me for sure. I’m going to give it all I have.”

At first glance these opinions seem to be radically different. But, upon closer inspection, it’s possible that both anglers may be correct.

Maybe the weather’s ugly; the water’s a mess; and the bass are scattered and going negative.  And maybe, despite all that, Cheeseburger Roberts’ positive attitude and refusal to accept defeat at the hands of Mother Nature and Delaware River bass will prevail. We’ll know soon enough.

*Note: Today’s launch was delayed by more than an hour because of foul weather — wind, rain, lightening and thunder. The weigh-in will begin as scheduled at 2:15 p.m.

The individual leader, Hobart Butcher, was unable to continue because of his back injury. He was replaced on the West Virginia team by an alternate. Maryland’s Paul Gietka is currently leading the tournament with 5 pounds, 9 ounces.