The Forrest Wood Cup has started, and day one brought many eight to ten pound limits of bass to the scales. However, two anglers distanced themselves from the rest of the competition. Bryan Thrift weighed in with 18 pounds and 7 ounces, anchored by a 7 pound 9 ounce bass. However, Randall Tharp bested that by a single ounce with 18 pounds 8 ounces. Both Bryan and Randall have more than a 5 pound lead over the third place angler, legend of tournament bass fishing, Larry Nixon.
The majority of the field weighed 5 fish limits, but quality was an issue. Anglers talked about catching twenty to thirty bass today that were clone like, weighing a mere one and half pounds. Culling all day for ounces, eight to eleven pounds was an overwhelmingly common weight. Most anglers felt comfortable with a ten pound showing. I spoke with Cody Myer, who caught 8 pounds 8 ounces today, and he was still confident that if he can catch one good fish he’s right back in this tournament.
Throughout the official practice period for the Forrest Wood Cup, temperatures were hitting the century mark. Then the day before the tournament, a rare cold front moved in and dropped air temperatures into the 80’s with a north wind. This weather change was a factor for the anglers; however, the way the weather influenced their catches varied. Larry Nixon said, “A cold front is a cold front; no matter what time of year. When the (barometric) pressure is rising, you better get little and make repeated casts.” Others found bass that were enjoying the cooler temperatures as much as the anglers. The cooler surface temperatures, overcast skies and wind improved the shallower water bite, and many of the professional anglers were able to capitalize on this. Moving baits like spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and vibrating swim jigs worked through the timber and vegetation on windblown banks produced larger numbers of keeper bass.
Interesting note: Nearly all the anglers that had less than ten pounds said tomorrow they were going to pick up a frog and get after it. Take that for what you will, but I’m thinking that word is getting out that anglers have to fish as much thick vegetation as they can, or they feel a frog is a high percentage way of turning the tide and putting some weight in the boat.
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