Youth anglers uncertain as they launch

NORTHEAST, Md. — Fourteen young men set out at daylight this morning, along with their boat captains, to fish the Junior Bassmaster Competition phase of the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Mid Atlantic Divisional. But it won’t be easy.

Reports have it that the bite is finicky and that it may be weather dependent, tide dependent or both. That may sound obvious but it still creates problems. The bass are holding and relating to grass and, in some cases, wood. That much everybody knows. But how to fish it, and with what bait, is a mystery these young bass anglers will have to solve on their own.

More than one observer has pointed out that they do have one thing going for them, however. The Upper Chesapeake Bay is big and it’s fishing big. There are thousands of acres of grass and wood flats from which to choose. That means they’ll have fresh, sweet water to fish, unlike some tournament venues where the best spots have be fished to death by the third day.

That makes one heck of a difference. It gives the youth anglers an opportunity to carry heavy weights to the scales this afternoon. They can fish with the lure they think is best, or the one they have the most confidence in, as opposed to looking for something in the bottom of their tacklebox that the fish haven’t seen in the last couple of days.

Nilan Goven and Bradley Matthew Bingley of Zimbabwe plan to take advantage of that. The United States and the Upper Chesapeake Bay might be new to them — it’s the first trip over here for both of them — but they’re still trying to catch bass. That’s the way they see it, anyway.

“We’ve been here fishing about a week,” says Goven, who’s fishing in the older age group. “We’ve got a few places with wood marked. We’ll go there first and try to get a limit of medium size fish. Then we’ll move around and try to catch bigger ones. I don’t want to say what lures we’re going to use but I think they’ll bite them.”

His partner, Bingley, fishing in the younger age group, agrees but seems a little awestruck by the size of the fishery.

“This place is pretty big but I like it. The fishing’s pretty good. We have one place in Zimbabwe that’s like this but it doesn’t have any bass in it. We have a plan,” he says, looking over at Goven.”

We’ll know how it all shakes out later this afternoon.