June 11, 2005 by Jennifer Simmons
PADUCAH, Ky. - In downtown Paducah on the Ohio River Saturday morning, the sky couldn't make up its mind whether it wanted to be clear or cloudy. At the final takeoff of the 2005 BFL All-American, one could look to the left and see blue skies and white clouds and look to the right and see heavy gray skies and rain clouds.
According to today's forecast, it looks like the rain clouds are going to win out, as showers are expected to fall on the area all day. Today's rains would follow another downpour last night that could further complicate the already tough Ohio River bite.
"We had a big rainstorm last night, but it looks like it's overcast, so the fish may be out of cover today," said No. 3 boater Robert Beatty of Clermont, Fla. "Whether it clears up or stays cloudy will determine what I do today."
No. 9 boater Jeff Wooldridge of LaFayette, La., says the bite got so tough in his area that only two competitors fishing there survived to make the top 10.
"It's been tough," Wooldridge said. "It's changed every day, and yesterday it was much worse. They haven't bit very well."
Wooldridge is making a 45-minute run to get to his fish, though he is not locking through anywhere. He is fishing the Cumberland River below Barkley Dam.
Today the final 10 will brave the rain and stingy bite to try to claim the All-American's $100,000 top Boater Division prize. The winner is determined by the heaviest three-day stringer. Currently, Midwest City, Okla., boater Wade Ramsey has a substantial lead with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 5 ounces.
The final weigh-in begins today at 3 p.m. at J.R.'s Executive Inn, located on the riverfront in downtown Paducah.
Sunrise: 5:35 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 72 degrees
Expected high temperature: 85 degrees
Wind: SSE at 10 mph
Maximum humidity: 72 percent
Day's outlook: showers and a few thundershowers