Red River set to challenge Bassmaster Opens anglers

The third stop of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Opens will be held June 14-16 on the Red River out of Bossier City, La., where more than 250 pro and co-anglers are scheduled to compete.

BOSSIER CITY, La. — The third stop of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Opens is anything but a tournament to determine who wins on the Red River. The river is fishing tough, and the high-stakes prizes up for grabs will be well earned.
The tournament on river pools 3, 4 and 5 is June 14-16, with the weigh-ins and launches in Bossier City.
Overall winners from the boater and co-angler divisions advance to the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship at a site and dates to be announced later. Invitations for the pros to the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series and the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods will be determined this fall at the championship.
That makes qualifying for the Opens Championship the goal at the Red River. Joining the winners will be the Top 10 pros and co-anglers from the Central Division point standings, following the final event in September on Logan Martin Lake, Alabama. The Top 10 finishers in the Eastern Division, along with the winners of those four tournaments, also will qualify for the championship.
Currently ranking eighth among the pros is Derek Hudnall of Baton Rouge, La. Continuing the momentum of a third-place finish in April on the Arkansas River is the Louisiana angler’s plan.
“Fishing fast, running and gunning, covering as much water as possible,” he said. “It will take doing all of that to win the tournament.”
Hudnall’s previous successes on the river show the odds are low of an angler finding a solid fishing pattern in one area. Duplicating that success elsewhere on the river will be challenging too, due to the habitat loss and inconsistency of the fishing.
“Maintaining consistency in catches has always been a challenge here, and especially with the current state of the river,” he said.
In 2015 and the next year, historic flooding reshaped the river and the ecosystem, including bass and their habitats.
“The flood took out the vegetation and silted in many of the backwater areas,” explained Hudnall. “The river is fishing very different now, not unlike how it has for the past couple of years.
“The bass will adjust, it will take time, but until then it will be a grinder of a tournament,” continued Hudnall.
Striking the balance by deciding how much travel time to sacrifice over fishing will be another factor for the anglers to consider.
“The backwaters could produce a big bite, but that will consume time getting into and out of those areas,” he explained.
Hudnall predicted catching 12 pounds each day will put an angler in contention to win the tournament and gain much needed points for the championship.
“Following the usual spring high-water periods, the river is clearing up, and the level coming down,” said Hudnall.
Both factors could help concentrate more bass along the main river. Prime areas will be shallow, underwater ridges and flats bordering the river channel. Those areas with isolated brushpiles, logjams and rock will be even more ideal for attracting the bass. The shorelines surrounding islands on the main-river channel could be productive as well.
Hudnall said all the pools could be in play, although Pool 5 is traditionally a top producer during summertime tournaments.
“It’s the Red River, and there always are changes to deal with on river systems anyway,” said Hudnall. “Figuring out the movements and changes of the river are part of learning that type of water.”
Takeoff time is 6 a.m. CT from Red River South Marina with weigh-ins beginning at 2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. The final weigh-in on Saturday, June 16, begins at 3 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Bossier City.
Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission, Red River Waterway Commission and the Horseshoe Casino will be hosting the event.