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

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Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage
Quaker State pro Jimmy Houston flicks a spinnerbait under an overhanging tree.

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2:30 p.m.: Weigh-in Could Reveal a Game of Ounces

That's it for the rolling Day 1 coverage feed. FLW Live begins in just 30 minutes on the FLWFishing.com home page. Check back then to see how your favorite pros performed today, or scroll through the updates here to get up to speed on what's gone down so far.

As of now, it looks like the first day of competition has been a game of ounces. Much of the field should be packed into the 8- to 11-pound range, but there are likely a few pros with heavy weigh-in bags who managed to dodge our On The Water team.

Pros with late check-in times still have a great opportunity to grab a big keeper in the waning minutes of competition. The sun is shining bright, the shallows are warming and our shore-bound crew literally watched bass move in on the bank here at the marina at Smith Dam shortly after lunch. One of those fish was a 5-pounder that was still cruising small stretch of shelf rock. If a pro can find a fish of that size in tournament waters, he'll make a big late-day move. 

 

1:40 p.m.: Pros Scramble to Make Up Ground in the Afternoon

Weights aren't adding up to what many pros expected, and that has many in the field scrambling to make up ground. They're running and gunning, stopping in shallow pockets to tempt bedding bass and hitting every channel swing or point that looks good in between. Jerkbaits, shaky heads, swimbaits and even topwaters are in play right now. 

The most consistent big-bass reports continue to come from Ish Monroe, who has about 16 pounds and has missed several opportunities to upgrade. Adrian Avena also cracked a giant spot to get into the game, and a handful of other pros are in that low "teens" range and looking for one crucial kicker. 

 

12:35 p.m.: Spotted Bass Drawing the Most Attention, Ish Leads with Both Species

It looks as if our report from 10:30 was pretty accurate: Spotted bass are definitely getting a lot of attention, and some of the pros chasing shallow largemouths have stated that they’re considering changing gears. One On The Water reporter thinks that most of the spawning largemouth bass have already been caught, but it's challenging to know for sure.

Nick Hensley has about 13 pounds of all spots. Leader Ish Monroe, with about 16 pounds, has a mix of both species: three largemouths and two spotted bass. He’s on a very interesting pattern and is around a lot of really good fish. He asked to keep the details quiet for now, so you’ll have to stay tuned to FLW’s coverage later this week to learn more about it.

 

12:10 p.m.: Ish Monroe and Nick Hensley Take the Early Lead

Your unofficial leaders at lunchtime on Lewis Smith Lake are Ish Monroe with about 16 pounds and Nick Hensley with 13. Hensley’s 13-pound limit comes without a real kicker, which is the difference in his weight and Ish’s. Ish caught the big bass of the tournament so far, a 5-pounder. They’re your pacesetters right now. 

 

11:00 a.m.: Reports of 3-Pound Spots Starting to Trickle In

Jason Johnson, Barry Wilson and a few others have checked in with 3-pound spotted bass. That seems to be the magic size. Most anglers are having no trouble catching 1 1/2- to 2-pound fish (largemouths and spotted bass), but a couple of 3-pounders would really help someone make a move. And if a pro can average 3 pounds per fish, he’s got a legit shot at leading on day one.

Now … catching those 3-pounders is the challenge because, forgive the fishing cliché, this one is definitely a grind. 

 

10:30 a.m.: Spotted Bass Action Steady, Could Bed-Fishing Fizzle Out?

OTW reporter Rob Newell just checked in with a few midday updates. He believes the “low-hanging fruit” of largemouths on beds likely won’t last past today. Pros will need to catch what they can and move on. Interestingly, he spent the morning following last season’s top two pros, Andy Morgan and Cody Meyer, the former being a world-class junk-fisherman and the latter being a renowned spotted bass expert, and both are strictly targeting spotted bass.

Meyer thinks that just a few spots have started to bed, but they’re not spawning in full force just yet. He and others who are targeting spots are using pretty standard tackle for the task: shaky heads, drop-shots, swimbaits, etc.

With the spots close to the spawn, many are staging along deep banks and shoreline structure such as points, and a few are being caught around docks. Also, most of the anglers who have checked in with a limit thus far are the guys who are exclusively targeting spots. But will their limits weigh enough to make the top 20? We’ll have to wait and see.

 

Evinrude pro Scott Martin fights one off a bed.

10:00 a.m.: Sunshine Slows the Bite

Fishing has slipped into a bit of a lull in the last 45 minutes. The sun is out now, and while that makes it easier to locate largemouths on beds, it also makes the deeper patterns more challenging. Basically, bass, especially spots, tend to become more active in cloudy, windy conditions, and they're more willing to chase. Sunshine calls for slower finesse tactics and often pinpoint presentations. This morning, everyone expected to be fishing in the rain by the end of the day, but the latest forecast predicts that the rain won't fall until about 4 p.m. and there'll be very little wind. Cloud cover moving in midday should help the bite a little, but we'll have to wait to see how everything shakes out on Lewis Smith.

 

9:15 a.m.: Tim Malone on the Right Quality

The challenge in practice this week has been to catch quality fish ... catching numbers of small spotted bass has been easy. Thus far, it appears that Tim Malone is on the right program. He caught two spotted bass early that totaled 6 pounds. He then added another 2-pounder. Those aren't giants in many lakes, but here on Smith that's a great start. Still, a pro will need bigger bites than that to win this week.

9:00 a.m.: Sight-Fishing Popular Early, But Spotted Bass are Biting

The sun is finally trying to burn through the cloud cover over Lewis Smith Lake, but the gloomy conditions early didn't dissuade anglers from heading to the backs of spawning pockets to hunt for fish on beds. A few of our On The Water reporters watched anglers chase schooling fish or spotted bass, including Andy Morgan, who landed three chunk spots right off the bat. But by and large the spawning largemouths are getting the most attention.

Pros will need to capitalize on the spawners while they can. A major weather system is headed for Smith Lake, which will leave behind much cooler conditions the rest of the week. Plus, the spawners don't seem to be hanging around the shallows for very long. 

Travis Fox reported that he spent too much time on a bedding fish this morning, and by the time he left it, his other bedders had bugged out. Angling pressure is also mopping up the easy bedders. Scott Martin, Robbie Dodson and a few others piled into one particular spawning area this morning, and it's a sure bet that there are crowds forming in other popular spawning areas too.

Tags: flw-tour  lewis-smith  headline-story  2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake 

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