Florida strain largemouth bass love to eat. Florida strain largemouth bass hate cold fronts. Day 1 of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at H
Florida strain largemouth bass love to eat. Florida strain largemouth bass hate cold fronts. Day 1 of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Bass Pro Shops. exemplified what happens when those facts collide.
By the numbers, 13 teams broke the 20-pound mark, with three over 25.
Anglers fished in mostly mild conditions, but shortly after the weigh ins began at 3:10, skies had turned a dreary gray, palm fronds and Spanish moss draping bald cypress were whipping in a sporty wind and, of course, air temperatures were rapidly declining.
Overnight lows will dip into the upper 40s and tomorrow’s projected high of 53 starkly contrasts the mid 70’s of Day 1. As Florida weather goes, this is par for the course — fish are well accustomed to these first early year fluctuations, but they absolutely do not like it.
Knowing that Saturday will bring harsh conditions, followed by the dreaded high-pressure, “bluebird” conditions on Sunday and Monday, the fish were chewing today.
Emmanuel College’s Seth Jenkins and T.J. McKenzie led the day with a whopping 31-pound limit. Boating their biggest bass, a 7-1, at 8 a.m. they had 20 pounds by 9 a.m. and stopped fishing once they culled up to 31 around noon.
“At our first couple spots, we got cut off by other boats but we didn’t let it get to us,” McKenzie said. “We just put our heads down and fished hard.
“Caught the two biggest ones and said ‘That doesn’t mean anything. Twenty pounds isn’t going to do anything here with all these hammers (competing). When we hit 30, that’s when we calmed down and practiced the rest of the day.”
Matthew Cummings and Levi Mullins of Bethel University are in second place with a limit of 26-12. Cummings said they caught all of their fish by throwing reaction baits at grass lines.
Cummings and Mullins also had their weight by late morning, but true to Florida grass fishing, they landed on a key spot — a hard bottom patch within the grass that they spotted on their Humminbird 360 — and magic happened.
“It was a pretty slow morning and then we just pulled up to a spot where we had caught one (in practice) and caught what we had in 30 minutes,” Mullins said. “It was about 11:30. Right time, right place and it just happened.”