Winds force postponing second competition day in Angler of the Year Championship

ESCANABA, Mich. — Bassmaster Elite Series tournament officials postponed competition in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship today after building winds created unsafe boating conditions.

“In the interest of safety, today’s fishing has been canceled,” said Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director. Winds from the south, including gusts to 35 miles, and 5-foot seas were predicted for today, and a small craft advisory was in effect. “We will err on the side of caution and the safety of our anglers and their marshals,” he added.

The Top 50 Elite Series bass anglers are competing this week on Big Bay de Noc and Little Bay de Noc here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Catches were outstanding in the first competition round Thursday, which was led by Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., with five bass weighing a total of 24 pounds, 6 ounces. Winds were light and weather conditions favorable for fishing the waters just off Lake Michigan on Thursday.

But the Bays de Noc are exposed to a south wind, which has virtually all of Lake Michigan to build. Having seen the waters at their worst during practice for the event, several of the competitors endorsed the decision.

Weldon said he and other officials plan for competition to continue on Saturday, weather permitting. “We will make that call in the morning,” he said. Current weather forecasts show some improvement by Saturday.

The event is built around three days of competition as Elite anglers battle for the coveted title of Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, as well as berths in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. Saturdaywas originally planned as a day off for the anglers, many of whom are slated to participate in Bassmaster University seminars during the afternoon at Ludington Park in Escanaba.