Winds to howl at Western Divisional

BLOOMFIELD, N.M. --- Anglers ventured out onto Navajo Lake this morning, expecting more high winds during Day Two of the Western Divisional presented by Yamaha and Skeeter. Gusts could reach 40 miles per hour in this Four Corners area of New Mexico.

But Steve Ragsdale, president of the New Mexico B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, said that wind generally doesn’t pose a safety problem for this 15,000-acre impoundment on the San Juan River.

“The lake winds so much that the wind can’t get a straight shot,” he said, adding that chop could make fishing more difficult for some, depending on their patterns.

Based on Day One results, when Colorado took a narrow lead over host New Mexico in the team standings, most are targeting smallmouth bass, with a few quality largemouths of 4 pounds and better showing up as well. Recent cold weather seems to have turned off the latter, Ragsdale added.

General wisdom is that cold, clouds, and wind can accelerate the smallmouth bite, but that wasn’t the case Wednesday. Most competitors from the 11 western states caught keepers, but only 27 limits were brought to the weigh-in stand at Navajo Lake State Park Marina.

Ragsdale was disappointed.

“I had guessed that it would be tough today,” he said. “We had some hot weather and then this cold the last two days turned off the fish.”

He added that the fish “are not used to seeing this many (66) boats and this much pressure.”

That’s in line with a report from the Farmington Daily Times that the Western Divisional is the largest tournament ever staged on Navajo Lake.

Before the Day One weigh-in, the New Mexico president had predicted that big bass of the day would weigh 6-2 and the heaviest limit would be 16 pounds. He didn’t miss the latter by much, as Jay Salisbury of nearby Aztec brought in15-9.

But Bill Rosenbalm’s big bass weighed just 4-14. Ironically, the Oregon angler said that he caught a 6-2 during practice.

In the individual competition, Salisbury’s teammate, Kenny Hansel, claimed second with 12-9, while Washington’s Aaron Echternkamp was third with 11-13. Montana’s Sid Ziegler and Ken Riska with 11-12 and 11-5 respectively rounded out the top five.



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