EVANS, Ga. — As his boat floated away from its trailer, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Todd Faircloth stood upon his deck wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Three seconds later, the Texas angler's 100-mph suit came on, even before he dropped the trolling motor into the water to scoop his dockside co-angler.
On Day One's launch of the Pride of Georgia presented by Evan Williams Bourbon, anglers sported several layers of clothes to prevent the nip of the morning air from invasion. The field must be ready to shed, since temperatures in the high-40s at launch will quickly give way to comfortable afternoon highs in the mid-70s.
"I never thought we'd have the coldest weather on the first day of May," said Elite Series pro Timmy Horton, after blowing into his hands.
Previous stops on the Elite Series in Florida and Texas meant much warmer morning weather for those preparing for their day.
A late spring across the Southeast, has left bass scattered across Clarks Hill Lake and in every stage of the spawning cycle. The resulting conditions mean anglers must prepare for every option as well.
"I have seven rods on my deck," pro angler John Crews said. "And I will probably pull out two or three more. I'm fishing two different patterns."
"Everything's just a little behind here," said angler Charley Hartley. "Spring's a week behind and we're a week later."
Regardless of the cooler temperatures, veteran angler Rick Clunn believes the day's high pressure could play a larger factor.
"It (the temperature) won't mean a thing," Clunn said. "It's just too late in the year. It's more about what you're tuned into."
According to Shaw Grigsby, some bass have just begun to school as groups of blue back herring begin to assemble. Landlocked lakes like Clarks Hill Lake and Lake Hartwell stock the baitfish these largemouth bass love to devour.
With many fish still on the beds, and the baitfish not yet balling-up, many anglers feel the winning 70-pound weights seen at the last two tournaments at this same lake may prove difficult to reach.
"It's going to be a little tougher," said Florida angler Terry Scroggins. "It'll be a pound or two less to get a check here."