UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Front and Center

Boats line the shore on day one of the FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake, it's almost go time!

There is little doubt it’s coming. The uncertainty lies in what will happen because of it.

If the forecast holds true, at some point this evening the severe weather system that dropped tornados across the central plains Wednesday will arrive at Lewis Smith Lake. Along with the rain and thunder, the front promises to bring with it a significant drop in temperature, with lows projected in the low 30s by the weekend.

It’s a storm that looms over the 154 pros and co-anglers set to fish the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. And while they, the anglers, should stay dry, the weather might be the key question mark for a tournament already overflowing with them.

Even without the curveball of the cold front, Lewis Smith has had anglers’ heads spinning. Pros already knew coming in that they would most likely have to decide if they were going to target largemouths or spotted bass, as both have the potential to win. Many pros say they’ll try and target both, but realistically, they’ll more than likely have to focus the majority of their time on one. 

Largemouths have been seen on beds during practice, but fishing for spawners will likely be tough due to clouds and strong winds throughout today. Plus, as Jason Lambert notes, those fish will probably be gone after the cold snap, so it’s not a long-term pattern. Still, those same cloudy, windy conditions today are seen as a benefit by some who are hoping they’ll cause the spotted bass to put on the feedbag.

“I don’t know how I’m going to get bit or where, so I’m hoping that the weather is going to help me,” Bryan Thrift says. “I think they’re going to bite really well [today] because they’ll be more likely to chase. You’ll see some good bags, and then the weights will go down after that.”

Lambert, too, figures today could be a big day for many anglers – emphasis on “big” in Lambert’s case.

“If this was a tournament to see how many fish you could catch it would be awesome,” he says. “I’m catching 50 or more a day, but I haven’t caught anything over 3 pounds. I’m hoping that changes with the weather.”

For some anglers, such as California rookie Jimmy Reese, the cold front is going to prompt the need for some big decisions to be made, as any solid patterns found during practice could be drenched by the weekend.

“Because of the condition change I don’t know if I should focus on spots or largemouths,” Reese says. “As good as the spots are, that weather could make the largemouths easier to catch than in years past. I think they’ve positioned themselves to be caught. But I also have some good spotted bass stuff. I’m just going to have to make a decision, but it will be tough.”

While there is no end to the uncertainty, the one thing the pros do agree on is that the weights will be heavier than in prior years. Dock talk says it’ll take 10 to 11 pounds a day to get a check and anywhere from 12 to 14 pounds to make the top-10 cut. To put that in perspective, it took roughly 9 pounds a day to get a check and 12 pounds to make the cut when the Tour visited Smith in 2013.

“I think it’s still the same-old Smith,” adds Stetson Blaylock. “There are some bigger fish than previous years, but they’re still hard to catch.”

Today’s weigh-in starts at 3 p.m. CT at Smith Lake Dam Access.

 

Thursday’s Conditions

Sunrise: 6:46 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 59 degrees

Expected high temperature: 74 degrees

Water temperature: low 60s

Wind: WSW at 5 to 10 mph

Day’s outlook: cloudy in the morning with an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms developing later in the day

Extended forecast: 0 percent chance of rain Friday with highs around 60; 50 percent chance of afternoon rain Saturday with highs in the mid-50s; 0 percent chance of rain Sunday with highs in the upper 60s

Competition Format

In Walmart FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round, with the winning co-angler determined by heaviest two-day cumulative weight. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and 20 non-fishing marshals to accompany them. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

For More Coverage

For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWfishing.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, FLWfishing.com offers real-time updates from the water. Simply click on the tournament ID within the “On the Water” banner at the top of the FLW or Walmart FLW Tour home pages.

Walmart FLW Tour Event Information

Takeoff

Location: Smith Lake Dam Access, 7482 Smith Lake Dam Road, Jasper, AL

Time: 7 a.m. ET

Weigh-in

Thursday and Friday: Smith Lake Dam Access, 3 p.m. ET

Saturday and Sunday: Smith Lake Dam Access, 4 p.m. ET

FLW Expo

Saturday and Sunday: Smith Lake Dam Access

12-4 p.m. ET

Tags: lewis-smith  flw-tour  sean-ostruszka  morning-story  2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake 

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