Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 1 Themes - Kickers & Change

Day 1 Forrest Wood Cup Leader, Randall Tharp
"I'm catching a ton of fish. I just didn't ever find the big one that I needed."

That quote remains unattributed because it came from a bunch of different pros, with only slight variances in wording. Kicker fish, or a lack there of, was one of a couple of themes I heard repeated again and again as Forrest Wood Cup competitors crossed the stage during the Day 1 weigh-in. The leaders had a big fish or two and were very thankful for them. Virtually everyone else who commented on their catch spoke about lacking that big-fish element.

Every pro except two caught a limit, and nearly 2/3 of the field weighed between 8 and 12 pounds. Four anglers -- Randall Tharp, Bryan Thrift, Larry Nixon and Adrian Avena -- weighed in 13 pounds or more, with Tharp and Thrift catching 18-8 and 18-7, respectively, for first and second place. Tomorrow will be very telling as we see whether any of the same guys bring in the biggest bags or whether three or four different anglers come across the kickers that produce really big bags.

Another thing I heard about quite a bit was that some condition had changed enough since Tuesday's final practice day to alter the way a specific group of fish behaved. In a couple of cases, pros who really caught them in practice failed to get the same bites from the same fish and believed it was attributable to a 10-degree drop in the water temperature. Others talked about changes in positioning of floating weeds. David Fritts spoke of some "little stuff" floating on top in one of his best areas, which altered the way he was able to fish. Change, of course, goes with river fishing, so it's not impossible that we'll here about much more stuff that has changed tomorrow.

Tomorrow the full field fishes again. After tomorrow, only the top 20 remain, and only the top 10 get to fish for the championship on Sunday.

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