CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – After a cloudy start and threats of thunderstorms on day one, Nickajack Lake saw a beaming sunrise peaking through the Market Street Bridge as Walmart BFL All-American competitors staged in front of Ross’ Landing for day two of competition on Nickajack Lake.
Yesterday saw cloudy skies persisting through late morning, with sunny conditions arriving around midday. Today’s outlook calls for more sunshine, lighter cloud cover and possible thunderstorms in the last couple hours of fishing time. This should help the anglers who are flipping and pitching shallow cover, as sunlight positions fish in predictable locations.
In the Boater Division, Chris Wilkinson leads with 20 pounds, 10. He’s been working shallow wood and riprap with a Hog Back Lures tubes and a Bower Custom Baits worm, so he’s optimistic that today’s conditions will play to his advantage. Also helpful, he said was the Tennessee Valley Authority’s water release schedule that will pull more water through Nickajack and thereby create more current.
“That puts them on the stuff I’m fishing,” Wilkinson said. “I’m fishing this current break stuff and (moving water) makes them lock onto it.”
Following Wilkinson in second place, Shawn Gordon hopes to replicate his successful day-one plan. He said he started on a drop with a Bomber Fat Free Shad and nabbed a limit by 9 a.m. He then flipped a jig in shallow trees and culled up three times.
“I’m going to try to do that again today,” he said. “That’s that only thing I know how to do.”
Gordon said he chose to fit his jig with a grub trailer to match indigenous forage. “I’m using that trailer to (imitate) a bream with one tail rather than two flapping. I had a bass spit up bream about 4 inches long in my livewell yesterday.”
Third-place pro Lionel Botha said he’s ready for sun or shade today, after figuring out the patterns on day one. He initially started on a deep ditch, but realized those fish wouldn’t be active under cloudy skies. Moving to a point rising from 30 feet to 12, he found fish suspended off the sides and got bit on Netbait swimbaits. He’ll start on the point again today and if today’s sunshine puts the fish deep, he knows he can go bump swimbaits through the ditch.
Will Terrell leads the co-angler division with 13-15. Tim Cales sits in second with 13-9 and Ernest Stephens follows closely in third with 13-6. Stephens caught the biggest fish of day one, a 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth that ate a Strike King stick bait on a wacky style jig. He’ll fish that bait again on day two.
Anglers will take off from Ross’s Landing located at 200 Riverfront Pkwy. in Chattanooga at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will also be at Ross’s Landing the first two days of competition beginning at 3 p.m. and at the Walmart located at 3034 Rhea County Highway in Dayton, Tenn., the final day of competition beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart in Dayton on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. which includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the BFL All-American will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Aug. 18 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter atTwitter.com/FLWFishing.
Sunrise: 6:30 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 74 degrees
Expected high temperature: 87 degrees
Wind: West 5-10
Humidity: 65 percent
Day’s outlook: Mostly sunny