UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Better by a little

Better by a little
Storm clouds hung low over the Foley Beach Expressway as teams check out for day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Championship in Orange Beach, Ala.

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - After sitting out the first scheduled day of competition, teams launched under threatening skies and faced only mildly improved sea conditions at the start of the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Championship at Orange Beach, Ala.

When a passing low pressure system built offshore seas to 8 feet or more, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a Small Craft Advisory for the Northern Gulf on Wednesday afternoon. That prompted FLW management to cancel Thursday's competition and adjust the tournament to a single day for the full field to qualify, followed by Saturday's top-five finale.

John Akers of the Ozona, Fla.-based Team Mutual Fun plans on running 40 to 50 miles southwest from Mobile Pass, but he realizes the day's conditions may limit his range. "Weather permitting, we'll hit some of the spots where we prefished. The weather's going to dictate what we're going to be able to do or not do.

"During prefishing we didn't find great fish, but we found fish. That in and of itself could be a winning tactic as tough as it is out there. If we can find some fish, we'll weed through the smaller ones and hopefully get a bigger bite."

At the checkout, most teams headed west down the Intracoastal Waterway toward Mobile Bay. This course affords an easy run through protected waters. At the bay, the majority of teams will head south or southwest to fish near drilling rigs, which harbor voluminous baitfish of the baitfish king mackerel seek.

Capt. Jared Landry of Jeanerette, La., and his Mowinsargassum teammates are well-accustomed to fishing Northern Gulf waters. Fortunately, the easterly blow favors a run toward their home waters of the Mississippi delta. "With the seas coming out of the east, we'll just try to chug-a-lug with them and go as far as we can. We're going to target the 80- to 100-foot range. We found some decent fish over there (during practice), so we'll go back and try to find them again."

Slow-trolling live baits such as blue runners, cigar minnows and menhaden on wire "stinger" rigs will be the dominant strategy. Rough seas will complicate the task of keeping lines clear, so teams will likely fish three to four rods, rather than the usual five to six.

Earl "Radar" Blake, who fishes the FLW Kingfish Tour with Team Chevy, joins Team Sea Bandit for the Kingfish Series Championship. Blake said teams will need a heavy fish to make the top-five cut. "I think it'll take one in the 40s or 50s."

Akers intends to balance competition with security. "We're excited to be here, and we're looking forward to a great day of fishing. It's going to be a little gamy out there today, but we just hope everybody stays safe and has a great day."

Tournament rules

The Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Championship, which runs Oct. 4-6, gathers the top finishers from five divisions - North Carolina, South Carolina-Georgia, East Florida, Gulf and Upper Gulf. The full field fishes today, and the top five teams advance to Saturday's final round. Teams are competing for a top award of $70,000.

Action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. Central time at The Wharf, located at 23101 Canal Road in Orange Beach.

Friday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:46 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 79 degrees
Expected high temperature: 91 degrees
Water temperature: 79 degrees
Wind: E at 10-15 mph
Humidity: 82 percent
Day's outlook: cloudy with showers and possible thunderstorms

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2007-10-04-orange-beach-al 

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