LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Ohio River threw one last wrench in the plans of the top 10 boaters and co-anglers at the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American championship: high water and debris. Final-round anglers launched this morning with a noticeably higher water mark littered with twigs and logs.
The Ohio River has been the toughest competitor that the anglers have faced all week, as a tough bite meant many were never even in contention. The 54-boat field was whittled down to the top 10 for today’s final round, with Calvin Davidson of Plainfield, Ind., leading with a two-day total catch of 12 pounds, 12 ounces.
Breathing down his neck is No. 2 Curtis Samo of Rochelle, Ill., and Samo is an All-American wizard, with seven top-10 finishes, including this week’s performance, and five top-10s – all without a win. Could today be his day?
“It feels strange to be in second place and not know if you can go out and get a bite,” Samo said of fishing the finals on a place like the Ohio. “The water’s gone up, and there are logs floating down the river. (The water level) could help us or hurt us.”
Odds are, it’s not going to help, though it’s hard to believe the fishing could get any tougher. Competitors this week have either stayed close or made an excruciatingly long run to find their fish – Davidson and Samo both fished close the first two days and said yesterday they were undecided as to what to do today.
“Guys running south were catching fish yesterday, but it’s a tough bite all around,” Samo said. “The bites have almost been cut in half. I’m going to go out and go fishing and put it all on the table. Whatever happens, happens.”
While Davidson spoke confidently this morning of his chances, Samo liked the view from the No. 2 position as he prepared to head out for one final round.
“It’s a tremendous amount of pressure to be first,” Samo said, speaking from experience. “Hopefully I can put some pressure on Calvin. I feel like I’m in the catbird seat.”
The final-round anglers will weigh in their final catches beginning at 4 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center located at 937 Phillips Lane in Louisville.
Surrounding the weigh-in is the FLW Outdoors Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show featuring dozens of exhibits from Ranger Boats, Chevy, Berkley, Lowrance, Evinrude, Yamaha and many more premier companies. The doors open at noon today. Admission is free and the first 200 children 14 and under accompanied by an adult who attend the Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show today will receive a free rod and reel combo. One lucky spectator attending the final weigh-in will win a new Ranger bass boat powered by Yamaha.
Sunrise: 6:21 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 68 degrees
Expected high temperature: 86 degrees
Wind: from the S at 11 mph
Maximum humidity: 55 percent
Day’s outlook: a mix of clouds and sun with slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms