A rough day on the water

LACROSSE, Wisc. – The weather in southwest Wisconsin on Friday morning was frightening.

The wind, by some estimates, was blowing about 40 miles per hour. The rain was coming down sideways at some locales and it didn’t end until almost 10 a.m.

That, of course, meant a delay in the launch of the Bassmaster Diet Mountain Dew Mississippi River Rumble presented by Power-Pole. While anglers, fans and media waited for let-up, the break in the weather finally came in time for the tournament to resume at 8 a.m.

That doesn’t mean that the 99 pros in this event were going to stay dry. In fact, they got pretty darn wet during what could, at best, be called a rough day on the water.

Dean Rojas, a pre-tournament favorite according to his fellow anglers, said the day was rough.

“The wind has a lot to do with it because it creates waves,” Rojas said. “I’ve never been on water like that. I felt like I was on the frozen tundra,” giving reference to another great Wisconsin fishing spot at Green Bay.

Gerald Swindle, who was weighing in just behind Rojas, concurred.

“It was blowing so hard, you could hardly throw (a bait,) Swindle said.

Rojas agreed.

“There were a lot of good bites. I had about 30 keepers, but it was blowing so bad, it was hard.”

Both of those Elite anglers said it won’t necessarily change what they do tomorrow, however. They are poised to make the cut.

 “I have to go where I feel like I’m catching fish,” Swindle said.

Rojas, too, though he reiterated the wind, and the possible importance of finding backwater areas where the wind won’t be as bad.

“I felt like I was getting blown out of the boat,” he said with a chuckle. “All you can do is go out and get after them.