A photo of Brent Chapman goes a long way toward describing what kind of week it has been at Lake Guntersville in Alabama, site of the Bassmaster Classic.
By BRENT FRAZEE
The Kansas City Star
It shows Chapman, a pro fisherman from Lake Quivira, sitting in his bass boat with son Mason and daughter Makayla … and a snowman in the passenger seat.
Snow? In Alabama?
Bassmaster officials certainly weren’t expecting that months ago when they chose the site for the Classic, their showcase event. But that’s what they got.
Oh, that white stuff is melting rapidly in the midst of a warm front. But the effects of the cold may still be felt when Chapman and other pros open the three-day tournament Friday.
“When we practiced last Friday, the water temperature was 39 degrees,” Chapman said. “We’re not used to fishing water that cold.
“It’s warmed up a few degrees since then. But everything is way behind what it normally is down here.”
The effects of the cold water showed when Chapman went through practice rounds. He said he had had only two to three bites a day, far from a winning pattern.
But he isn’t panicking. He knows that the warm front could produce a big change.
“If the water could warm up into the upper 40s, we could have a great tournament,” he said. “Guntersville is a great bass lake. It has a lot of big fish.
“If those big ones move up into a prespawn pattern, things could change in a hurry.”
Chapman is certainly hoping that will be the case. Despite a poor practice, he has located several spots that could produce “a bite or two an hour,” he said. That might not sound like much to the average fisherman. But at Guntersville that might be the key to a marquee victory.
“The thing about Guntersville is, you get six to eight bites in a day, and you could weigh in 20 pounds (for a five-bass limit),” Chapman said.
The temperature has been in the upper 60s in Alabama the last several days. Highs in the 50s and 60s are forecast for the weekend.
Even if that won’t boost water temperatures, Chapman is confident.
“I’ve had poor practices before and ended up doing well in tournaments,” he said.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to email@example.com.