Defrosting Decatur - Major League Fishing

Defrosting Decatur

Cold weather too little, too late to spur Wheeler bass
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Stren Series Championship anglers salute the flag prior to day-two takeoff. Photo by Jennifer Simmons.
November 2, 2006 • Jennifer Simmons • Archives

DECATUR, Ala. – The sun is high and the rain is gone in Decatur for day two of the Stren Series Championship on Wheeler Lake, but the cold weather has definitely arrived, as 400 competitors waited for takeoff this morning wearing bundles of winter clothing. And though the theory is that the colder the weather here, the better the bite, pro Dave Lefebre warns that a little nip in the air this morning isn’t enough to spur the bite this week.

“It’s different in the fall,” Lefebre said of Wheeler Lake conditions. “This is their worst cold front of the (season). It’s just not as effective as a cold front would be, say, in the summer.”

Front-runner Dave Lefebre strikes a pose in his winter-weather gear.While numbers were good yesterday – only 10 pros blanked – a good sack of bass was hard to come by, as only 34 pros caught 10 pounds or better on day one. Lefebre was one of the lucky ones, coming in at No. 3 with a limit weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces. He doesn’t expect conditions to improve for day two.

“It’s hard to say – you never know,” Lefebre said. “I think it’s going to be a tougher day. I think the weights will be down because of the abruptness of this cold plus the rising water. That’s going to spread the fish out more.”

Keeping an eye on the water levels, Lefebre said, afforded him such a lofty position after day one.

“I had a pretty bad practice – one of the worst I can remember,” he said. “I was paying attention – really close attention – to the TVA water levels, knowing it was going to keep coming up. I started marking things on my Garmin where I thought fish would go if the water came up.”

Lefebre’s predictions – and smart planning – paid off yesterday, as he used his GPS to find fish where he hadn’t caught a bass in practice. To catch fish today, the 200 pros and 200 co-anglers will have to adjust accordingly. It may be cold, but the real story this week, it seems, are the rising water levels.

Competitors will weigh in their day-two catches beginning at 3 p.m. CST at Ingalls Harbor, located off Highway 20 in Decatur. Following today’s competition, the field will be cut to the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers based on their two-day accumulated weight. For those who can’t watch the action in person, provides FLW Live, a real-time viewing application that is the next best thing to being there.

Thursday’s conditions

Championship contenders fill up Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Ala.Sunrise: 6:09 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 38 degrees

Expected high temperature: 56 degrees

Wind: N at 15 mph

Maximum humidity: 46 percent

Day’s outlook: abundant sunshine; cooler