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National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship Blog

National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship Blog
A packed crowd was on hand to witness the opening day weigh-in of the 2012 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

With only ounces separating the top five teams in the 2012 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship, the biggest storyline is what's in store for day two. But looking back on opening day, a handful of factors stand out that influenced the start of the tournament, and that will certainly influence which teams make the top-five cut and survive to fish on day three.

Here are the trends from day one:

Water temperature - Nearly all of the competitors had the opportunity to "pre-practice" at Lake Murray before the off-limits period began. Most reported that the unseasonably warm temperatures of the pre-practice period warmed the water into the low 70s, which sped up the spawning cycles for bass and the lake's baitfish. Anglers found once they arrived, however, that a recent cooling trend had caused the water temperature to drop back into the low to mid-60s. The change has halted many of the natural patterns of the lake's fish species and pushed the bass into somewhat of a funk.

Blueback herring - One of the primary patterns the competitors expected to see influence the bite was that of bass feeding on blueback herring spawning in the shallows. Bluebacks spawn when the water temperature is about 70 degrees. There are some bluebacks in the shallows now, but not to the extent most would prefer for that pattern to really heat up, mostly because of the drop in water temperature. There are warmer temperatures in the forecast for the weekend, so there's a chance the blueback spawn could have a major impact on days two and three.

Cruising bass - Several anglers reported seeing schools of jumbo largemouths cruising the shallows, but they were unable to reliably catch them. This is somewhat of a wildcard trend, because cruising bass are notoriously unreliable. If they're guarding fry, they're definitely catchable. And if a team can figure out a way to get those straight cruisers to bite, it just might make a major move.

Boat pressure -This wasn't an issue today, but it might be tomorrow. With nice weather forecast for the weekend, pleasure boaters and local anglers will be out on the lake enjoying this beautiful resource. There's also a 200-boat local tournament scheduled for Sunday, which means there'll be local tournament anglers out there practicing on Saturday, and many of the hot areas will be pressured on Sunday. A team in contention will have to decide whether to run through their best spots on Saturday, rather than save those areas for Sunday when another tournament angler just might roll up on the spot and catch those fish first.

White lures - Nearly every competitor the FLW On the Water Coverage crew came across today was throwing something white - soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, Alabama Rigs, etc. It's a hot color in the clear waters of Lake Murray, especially with shad and blueback herring both inching toward the shallows. It's a great color for imitating both types of forage.

Tags: curtis-niedermier  blog  2012-04-13-lake-murray 

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