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A brighter outlook

A brighter outlook
Shasta lake will see plenty of boat traffic today as anglers pick their way through many spots in hopes of finding quality fish.

SHASTA LAKE, Calif. - The sun glasses will get more work today than the rain jackets and that's a welcome change for anglers on day two of the FLW Series National Guard Western Division event on Shasta Lake.

A slow-moving weather system that soaked the area a day before the tournament putzed its way across Shasta on day one. Occasional sunlight peeked through the erratic cloud ceiling and light showers capriciously flittered around the lake. Today will be completely dry unless someone falls out of a boat, but that's what PFDs are for.

The southwest wind of day one will be replaced by a light northerly breeze today. Wind speeds aren'tLight winds are likely for most of the day, so anglers may find less opportunity for reaction baits. projected to top 6 mph, so that probably won't be enough to dramatically reposition bait and bass. Nevertheless, noting and responding to any subtle shift in conditions could enable anglers to surge ahead, in what will be a monotonous day of picking through the 1-pounders.

Pro leader Ken Wick of Star, Idaho seized his moment of opportunity on day one when a brief period of increased wind prompted him to throw a crankbait across a shallow flat near a channel swing. A kicker of nearly five pounds anchored his 12-pound, 6-ounce limit. Wick caught his fish in Shasta's McCloud Arm, but today will find him elsewhere.

"I have one spot (in the McCloud) that holds some pretty big fish," Wick said. "I'm going to start there, but after that, I'm going to go up the Pit Arm."

Yesterday, Utah pro Roy Hawk found a decent swimbait bite, but only managed a small limit of 7-7. With today's clear, calm conditions, Hawk said he'll probably put the swimbait away and fish deeper with finesse baits.

Contrasting the cloudy, rainy conditions of day one, Mount Shasta stood boldly in todayWick will need another strong day to defend his position. He enters day two with only a 2-ounce lead over California pr Chris Fancelli (12 pounds, 4 ounces). Kazuki Kodama sits just 6 ounces off the lead with 12-0.

In the co-angler division, current leader Johnny Walker holds a more comfortable advantage of a pound and 12 ounces. That's a nice margin on Shasta, but Walker will have to stay sharp and convert bites into catches, as the pair tied for second at 10 pounds, 1 ounce - Max Bauer and J.R. Wright - could easily slip by if he falls short of a limit.

On day one, Walker fished wacky-rigged Senkos with nail weights in the head. Paired with eighth place pro Ronald Hobbs, Jr., Walker caught approximately 20 fish in the 40-foot range. He entered day two with a potent mix of momentum and confidence.

"I caught a 6-pounder in practice using the same technique, so I feel pretty good about (today)," Walker said.Finesse baits dominated the numerical majority of day one catches and the same will apply for day two.

Dropshots and shaky heads saw a lot of day one action and that will likely be the case again today. More day two sunlight will have more fish holding tighter to cover, where targeted presentations like football head jigs or Texas-rigged plastics will do well.

With Shasta's water level at 117 feet below full pool, much of the lake's features stand exposed. Not far from the launch at Bridge Bay Resort, a point extending off the northeast end of Beaver Island stands high and dry with its rocky petticoats and scattered stumps revealing key elements. This point also holds a vast shell bed - the likes of which are probably scattered throughout Shasta Lake. Such spots offer prime opportunities for dragging a Carolina rig.

Logistics

Weighted wacky rigged worms like this one delivered the co-angler lead for Johnathan Walker.Anglers will take off from Bridge Bay Resort, located at 10300 Bridge Bay Road in Redding, Calif., at 7:30 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at Bridge Bay Resort beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Mt. Shasta Mall located at 900 Dana Drive in Redding beginning at 3 p.m.

Fans will be treated to a Family Fun Zone at the mall prior to Saturday's weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. There will be a drawing for a $500 mall gift card, and drawings for rod and reel combos will be held every 30 minutes during the event. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include a trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.

The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined onShasta Lake day three based on 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.

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 7:31 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 49 degrees
Expected high temperature: 57 degrees
Water temperature: 48-50
Wind: from the north at 5 mph
Max. Humidity: 73 percent
Day's outlook: mostly sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2010-01-13-lake-shasta 

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