Word I've heard from the Forrest Wood Cup practice field is that fishing on the Red River has been pretty good, in terms of overall bites and action, but that quality fish are at a premium. Anglers seem to think it's going to be somewhat of a grind, with quite a few similar-looking limits being brought to the scales, and that the angler who can find those few key bites is going to separate himself. It might not even be a true big fish pattern or location, but an isolated school of larger fish that shows up or a couple of hogs that bite at different times, grabbing the same baits that are producing mostly 2-pounders. However they appear, 5-pound fish could be absolute difference-makers in this event.
A few significant challenges I've heard about relate to the weather. The first is that it's hot (air and water alike), which is demanding on the anglers and tends to slow the fish. The second is that current is minimal, which makes fish less active and harder to pattern. The third is that the water is dirty -- much dirtier than normal for this time of year -- which will eliminate some patterns and cause the river to "fish smaller" than it would if the water was clearer. The heat and water color are unlikely to get change substantially between now and Thursday. More current could arrive, depending rainfall.
For what it's worth, I have seen a couple of pictures of very nice fish (the sort that could make a difference) posted by Cup competitors, so some of those fish are out there and willing to bite. At least they have been willing to bite. We'll see if they still will -- come Thursday.