UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Cumberland fog

Cumberland fog
The scenery surrounding Lake Cumberland is shrouded in fog on the morning of day one.

SOMERSET, Ky. - The expected 7 a.m. takeoff on Lake Cumberland this morning was delayed two hours and 40 minutes, as Wal-Mart FLW Series competitors sat in their boats in the thick fog until 9:40 a.m. With visibility reduced to less than a quarter of a mile in some places, the National Weather Service issued a dense-fog advisory for the area until 9 a.m., though the fog took a bit longer to lift.

The fog compounds an already difficult situation on Lake Cumberland for this week's FLW Series event, the tournament trail's second of the season. Sevierville, Tenn., pro David Walker, formerly of Kentucky, is a Lake Cumberland veteran and says the conditions are typical, though maybe a little tougher than normal.

"I've fished here for quite a few years, and it's always been a lake with a lot of fish in it that are difficult to catch," Walker said. "You've got a lot of extra cover because of the water level. Once you get to summer pool where the vegetation grows, you start getting grass and bushes."

According to Walker, when Lake Cumberland is at summer pool, there are some areas 30 to 40 miles offshore with bushes that used to be on the shore. This creates a multitude of places for Cumberland bass to hide.

"There is a limited number of fish with an unlimited number of targets," he said of the heavy cover.

Making the fog delay even more excruciating for competitors is the fact that Lake Cumberland is a huge body of water, and the takeoff point is in the top third of it, meaning many competitors planned to make a long run today. Now they are faced with a shortened fishing day.

"This is a lake where half the field or more has to make a long run," Walker said. "It's a massive body of water, but the majority of the fish live midlake to lower lake. As the crow flies, it's maybe 12 miles, but running, it's more like 30, and it's compounded by all the debris in the water."

Indeed, the debris was visible even at the boat ramp, and Walker says navigating through it can make a short fishing day even shorter, as a desired 70-mph speed must be reduced to 50 mph or slower to avoid tearing up equipment in the debris.

The debris that clutters Lake Cumberland is visible here as boats idle around the launch ramp, waiting for the fog to lift."It makes a long run a little more exhausting here," Walker said. "Normally when I'm running, I'm looking at the water, finding areas to fish. Here, it's tunnel vision, trying to avoid the debris."

Walker said he expects many competitors to be fishing shallow this week, as the current conditions make for an ideal time of year for shallow-water fishing.

"It's the one time of year you can depend on fish being right around the bank in zero to 10 feet of water," he said. "But with the water coming up, you've got fish right up against the bank, plus the ones on the original shoreline. The rising water levels divided up the spawn."

Walker describes Lake Cumberland as a "giant Beaver Lake" because of its population of all three species of bass. Making the competition even more interesting is that the three species come in a variety of sizes, creating what Walker calls a tournament within a tournament.

"There are 18-inch smallmouths, 15-inch largemouths and 12-inch Kentuckys," Walker said. "You have to learn to catch all of them to do well. On a lot of lakes, you can ignore one species. Here, you're forced to fish for all of them."

Logistics

Anglers take off at 7 a.m. each morning from General Burnside State Park in nearby Burnside. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 177 Washington Drive in Somerset beginning at 4 p.m.

The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three by the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

For bass-fishing fans unable to attend the festivities in person, you can catch all the weigh-in action live at FLWOutdoors.com with FLW Live. Show time starts at 3 p.m. Eastern today.

Wednesday's conditions

The American flag can be seen through the haze during the day-one fog delay on Lake Cumberland.Sunrise: 6:42 a.m.
Expected high temperature: 81 degrees
Wind: NW at 4 mph
Maximum humidity: 56 percent
Day's outlook: abundant sunshine

Tags: jennifer-simmons  morning-story  2006-05-03-lake-cumberland 

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