UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Soggy on Sibley

Soggy on Sibley
The top five teams launched into dim, drizzly conditions on Sibley Lake.

NATCHITOCHES, La. - It's going to rain on their parade, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for the top five teams fishing the final day of the National Guard FLW College Fishing Texas Regional Championship on Sibley Lake.

After two days of partly cloudy conditions, anglers woke this morning to drizzly dampness. The rain will likely subside by late morning and skies will remain overcast through early afternoon, when the sun starts to emerge and temperatures start to slide.

Sound familiar? It's your garden variety cold front, and the timing may just work out nicely for the top five teams. Tomorrow's post-frontal conditions will probably make anglers want to break their rods, but today has the makings of a good day on the water.

Here's what's working in the anglers' favor. First, five boats versus the original field of 20 means less fishing pressure and greater access to key spots. Second, sunshine locks fish into cover, while lower light finds them in more of a roaming mood.

Most importantly, while anglers do this for fun, fish do it for a living, and they take the whole weatherSpinnerbaits will be the main tactic for Baylor thing very seriously. Bottom line, they know that bright skies, high pressure and lower water temperatures are just around the corner, so they'll basically be swimming with their mouths open today. Fish will feed aggressively, and anglers who get their baits in front of the right ones will weigh heavy sacks.

Thoughts from the field:

- Baylor University: Jay Holland and Andrew McAdams lead the tournament by only 8 ounces. They took the top spot on day one with 10 pounds, 15 ounces, but followed on day two with a slim 6-5. With teams below them making improvements on day two, Baylor will need to step it up in the final round if they want to claim a wire-to-wire victory.

Holland and McAdams will throw spinnerbaits, as they have for the past two days. "We're not going to change anything. We're going to do what we did to get us here."

Today's weather doesn't worry McAdams. "Lakes don't muddy up during a rain; they muddy up after a rain (from runoff). This time of year, the fish are feeding up for winter, so this weather won't turn them off."

The Texas State team of David Cosner and Jay McCollum are poised to make a big move on day three.Holland agrees, adding that the midday lull he and his partner have experienced the past two days may not hinder them in the overcast conditions.

"I don't think the water temperature will drop enough (during the day) to hurt the fishing," he said. "This weather might actually extend our bite throughout the day and allow us to hit more spots."

- Texas State: Jay McCollumn and David Cosner moved from fifth to second on day two with a 10-pound, 3-ounce weight. McCollumn dispelled the doubts of Sibley's big-fish potential with a 5-pounder and a 4-pounder. Spinnerbaits and jigs were most effective for the Texas State anglers on day two.

With a two-day weight of 16-12, these guys are poised to make a big move today. The key will be adaptation - something that Cosner said is a team strength.

"In practice we found a definite flipping pattern," he said. "That was the deal, and that's what I expectedStarting the day in third place, Tarleton State to do when I came down here. But what makes a good angler great is the ability to change with conditions. That's what we did. There's no point in force feeding fish something that they're not going to hit."

- Tarleton State: They're 2 1/2 pounds off the lead, but if day two was any indication of their momentum, it could be a Cinderella story for Tanner Morgan and John Anderson. Four pounds and 6 ounces on day one left them in 15th place, but 10-6 on day two moved them up 12 notches to third with 14-12.

Morgan pulled three nice fish from a deep spot where a steep bank dropped into an area with lots of bottom structure. The Tarleton anglers will hit this spot again today, but they won't hang their hopes entirely on the deep bite.

"Besides that one hole, we really don't have any `locations' where we think we can go and catch quality fish," Anderson said. "But today's going to be a totally different day, so that makes it anybody's game.

The hometown team from Northwestern State, Jeffrey Rich and Aaron Sistrunk will be swinging for the fences on day three. "We're probably going to fish our deep spot a little bit, but then we're going to put the trolling motor down and just go fishing. Hopefully, we'll get a couple of big fish to bite."

- Northwestern State: Hometown favorites Jeffrey Rich and Arron Sistrunk have faithfully waved the banner of Sibley Lake potential for two days. Rich, who boldly predicted his team will win the event, has claimed the lake holds the potential for 20-pound weights. Starting in fourth with 13-9, Rich and Sistrunk will target the top tier today.

"The last two days, we just got our limits just to make sure we got (to the final round), but last night we said we're going to go for broke and try to get as much as we can as quickly as we can," Rich said. "We're going to throw big baits for big fish. We're going to throw frogs, big jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits - we're going to throw the kitchen sink. I even have a swimbait on the boat."

- Texas A&M: Andrew Shafer and Paul Manley were remarkably consistent for two days with weightsFishing new water will be the strategy for Andrew Shafer and Paul Manley of Texas A&M. of 6-10 and 6-11. However, their 13-5 total leaves them needing to make up a lot of ground. Both anglers are optimistic that day three will present good opportunities.

"A lot of the lake has been beaten down, so we're going to new water that we haven't touched," Manley said. "Conditions lined up right for us today."

Tournament logistics

The top five FLW College Fishing teams from each of the four regular-season Texas Division tournaments gained automatic entry into the 2009 Texas Regional Championship at Northwestern State University. During the three-day regional event, 20 two-man collegiate angling teams will compete for a top award of $50,000, which includes a 177TR Ranger wrapped in school colors and powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard engine.

Final weigh-ins are at 4 p.m. at Northwestern State University. The Reel Life Festival, which features the National Guard Warrior Challenge, will be held at the Prather Coliseum Parking Lot at Northwestern State University beginning at 1 p.m. A MacBook Air will be given away today.

The top five teams from each of the five National Guard FLW College Fishing regional championships (Western, Central, Northern, Texas and Southeast) will advance to the National Guard National Championship April 10-12, 2010, in Knoxville, Tenn. The winning team at the national championship will qualify for the prestigious 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.

Monday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:46 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 55 degrees
Expected high temperature: 57 degrees
Water temperature: 64-65 degrees
Wind: WNW at 10-15 mph
Max. humidity: 78 percent
Day's outlook: cloudy to partly cloudy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2009-11-14-texas-regional-championship 

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