GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – The fourth and final event of the Eastern EverStart Series got off to a smooth start this morning on Guntersville Lake in northeastern Alabama.
A full field of 200 pros and 200 co-anglers blasted off from Guntersville Lake State Park at 6 a.m. to start the four-day contest.
Some of the pros who arrived at Guntersville fresh off the Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop at Kentucky Lake last week are experiencing deja vu.
“It’s just like Kentucky Lake last week,” said Fuji pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn. “The fish are leaving the bank, but the deep bite is not on yet – the fish are somewhere in between.”
“I’d say that’s exactly right,” said Ozark Trail pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., who won the Guntersville EverStart last year. “The last two years, we’ve been here in June when the deep bite is strong. This year we’re here three weeks earlier – they’re mostly done spawning, but they’re not deep yet. Yeah, I’d say that sounds just like Kentucky Lake last week.”
With water temperatures rising to the 80-degree mark all over the lake, the magic ingredient needed at Guntersville this week is current.
Strader explained that when the Tennessee Valley Authority pulls current through Guntersville Lake, it congregates the shad on the river channel ledges and grassbeds, which expedites the bass’ migration to the main river.
“They haven’t pulled current for several days, and all the shad are just wandering around out there in the main river where it’s safe,” he said. “But when they kick that current on, it forces the shad to seek out current breaks and the bass know where to find them.
“My best advice is to be on your best spot if that current starts running,” he added.
With fish mostly in the postspawn mode and Guntersville’s lush grassbeds just starting to reach the surface, it’s a good bet that top-waters will be a key bait this week.
“You know what time it is here?” questioned Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., this morning. “About Spook-thirty.”
“There’s a pretty good top-water bite going on, and I think the conditions will be right for it today,” said Morgan, referring to the cloud cover. “I think the magic number will be 28 pounds to make the cut on Thursday.”
The day-one weigh-in will start at 3 p.m. Central today at Guntersville Lake State Park boat launch.
Air temperature: 63 degrees
Water temperature: 78 degrees
Wind: forecasted 5 to 10 mph from the southwest
Day’s outlook: variable clouds, high 83 and a 30-percent chance of thunderstorms