April 4, 2013 by Rob Newell
BAINBRIDGE, Ga. - For the second year in a row, the EverStart Series Southeast Division is making a stop on Lake Seminole. This year, however, the EverStart event is two weeks later than it was last year. Simple logic stands to reason that fish patterns should be two weeks later as well. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
With such a record-breaking warm winter in 2012, Brandon McMillian won the Lake Seminole EverStart event last year on a shad-spawn pattern. That tournament was held March 22-24 and by then the bass were pretty much done spawning and well on their way to summertime patterns.
This year, however, March has been far colder than January and, even though this event is two weeks later than last year, the bass spawn is still on strong and there is no shad spawn in sight.
"It's crazy," said Fishflics pro Shaye Baker, who finished fourth in this event last year on a shad-spawn pattern. "Here we are two weeks later this year and there are far more bass on beds than there were last year."
Baker, who is currently co-leading the EverStart Southeast Division points race, said he did sample some of his shad-spawn locations from last year but not much was happening.
"The water is still too cool and it's been higher and muddier from all the rain we've had lately," Baker said. "Plus we had a brutal front just last week where it was in the 30s for five nights in row. It's like it has turned the clock back a month on this lake."
Many pros were creeping around some of Seminole's famous sight-fishing grounds this week. Reports indicate there are still plenty of fish on beds. But the downsides are there a lot of pros looking in small areas and an all-day rain event is forecasted for today, which will deter visibility.
"I kind of like it," said Chad Prough , grinning about the drizzle. "It makes them harder to see; it becomes a real challenge then. I'm hoping some fish will get overlooked because of these conditions."
Prough won the BFL event held here on March 18. Sight-fishing was a part of his winning strategy then and chances are it will be a part of his strategy today, despite the dark skies and rain.
"That last bad front set the lake back about three weeks," Prough said. "They're not done spawning yet. If I can get through today and tomorrow, Saturday is supposed to be nice and sunny again."
The big X-factor, however, could be the Alabama rig. Yes, the Alabama rig. Seminole is not immediately considered a favorite for the A-rig, but there are certainly places that it could work on the lake. And as hot as the Alabama rig has been lately across the country, anything is possible.
Anglers will take off from Bainbridge Earle May Boat Basin located at 100 Boat Basin Circle in Bainbridge, Ga., at 7:30 a.m. each day. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at the take off site beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 500 E. Alice St. in Bainbridge beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
Temperature at takeoff: 60 degrees
Expected high temperature: 71 degrees
Water temperature: 67 degrees
Wind: East 5 to 10
Day's outlook: rain and thunderstorms all day