MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Steve Kennedy admits he wouldn't own a fiberglass boat if it weren't for professional bass tournaments. An aluminum boat in shallow water is his preference.
He got as close as you can get to that in the suddenly-shallow Coosa River below Jordan Dam Saturday. And his experience with this style of bass fishing showed with a five-bass limit of 23 pounds, 3 ounces. It allowed Kennedy to move from ninth place to third, and, more importantly, cut his deficit to leader Brent Chapman from 11-2 to 4-4.
"It was fun, fun, fun," Kennedy said. "I had a blast."
Ultimately, the rapidly falling Coosa River may control what bothKennedy and Chapman are able to do on the final day of the Alabama Challenge presented by Star brite. Edwin Evers stands between them in the standings, only 1-3 behind Chapman's three-day total of 59-4.
But nothing that happens during Sunday's Top 12 finale will take away from the joy Kennedy experienced Saturday.
"In May we float creeks in canoes," said the Auburn, Ala., resident. "That's how we fish for fun. I've definitely got the most experience of anybody (in the tournament) doing this. I had a blast."
But this ain't no float trip – getting up the Coosa past Wetumpka to the Jordan Dam tailwaters. The U.S. Geological Service forecasts that it will be running four generators from midnight until 3 p.m. Sunday. That won't help if the Coosa River level keeps dropping, and that four generators of water starts getting sucked around rocks instead of over them.
"Honestly, we won't know until we look at it (Sunday morning) whether we can get up there or not," Kennedy said. "Those drops may be waterfalls (Sunday)."
He barely made it Saturday.
"I hit something going up," Kennedy said. "I had one of those, 'Aw, shucks,' moments. I had to find an eddy to stop and look at it. I caught four big ones out of that one eddy. I could call my shots. The way the water dropped out, it left them like sitting ducks."
Kennedy's bag included a 4-14 spotted bass and four others that were in the four-pound range.
"I think 25 pounds is possible," Kennedy said. "A 6-pounder would get you there."
Hooking these mean Coosa River spots is one thing; landing them is another. Kennedy got his 20-pound test line broken by one "that got in the current and ran downstream like a salmon."
Speaking of other fish species, Kennedy said of these spotted bass, "They look like tuna. They're football-shaped."
Kennedy won't be discouraged if the river drops so much that it's impossible to get to the dam. His biggest bass Saturday – a 4-14 – came below the second bridge at Wetumpka.
"We're going to catch 'em," he said. "There's going to be some place where they're loaded up."