I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

• WBT Championship Commentary

Well, it looks like Shreveport/Bossier is going to get its fill of professional bass fishing again. The Academy Sports & Outdoors WBT Championship kicks off at the end of the week. The tourney goes from October 16-18. It'll be fall river fishing at its finest. I'm looking forward to being able to at least get a glimpse of some of the action being a SBC resident and all. Pro anglers are back on the Red River!

What's strange is how the ladies are being received, both locally and nationally. Prior to the Bassmaster Classic, news crews were practically stalking pro anglers for interviews over the course of a few weeks. Online fishing news sources were buzzing. The men got tons of attention. Where is the love for the WBT? What's strange is that most web sites, including the ESPN Bassmaster WBT page, have already moved on to the 2010 schedule. Eh? Championship? Hello?

So what does the river look like? I haven't been out there. I don't really fish the Red. What I do know is that over the last couple of weeks, we've had a ton of rain. So has half the country. Heavy rain has the area lakes spilling over and I'm sure the Red River is on the high side as well. Unfortunately, the ladies will be fishing in the fall. The men had opportunities to catch some good fish in prespawn mode. Like the men, the women are facing a drop in water temperatures. Course, 70 degree water is a lot better than 30. Hitting backwaters was a strategy used by many anglers then. With the sudden surge from all this rainfall, the backwaters are going to be filled up. Will it be part of the game plan for the women or will they stay on the main river?

The river is made up of pools separated by lock and dam systems. Some pools have better reputations than others. Some anglers might make a mad dash south, some north, and some might stay put and brave the backwaters and oxbows. If you watched the footage of the Bassmaster Classic, you saw many boats carefully navigating through stump fields trying to get into backwater. That sort of approach will cut into your time, but if you find fish, it'll be worth it. If you decide to head to another pool, that'll cut into time as well, but you face an additional hazard. If you miss the opportunity to get through to the other side, you have to wait for the next one. If you're late coming back, you risk a penalty or DQ. There is also a risk of coming back on fumes. Gonna use a lot of gas running and gunning to another pool.

The Red River is a dangerous place when elevated. Debris will be floating everywhere. Public launches close down in favor of safety. Yep. She's gettin' that high again. The river also gets a little bit of a boost from area lakes which drain into her. For instance, Cross Lake, the lake I usually fish empties into the Red. When Cross is high, local authorities deal with the excess by lifting the flood gates and passing it on into the Red. Oh yeah. Lots of water to deal with.

Among the anglers fishing in the tourney, standing at the head of the pack is Pam Martin-Wells. She's been up at the front for a while now. In terms of AOY standings, she's got an advantage with regard to acquired points. I'm sure she's familiar with these waters and ready to take on the Red. As far as past experience on the Red is concerned, a few names come to mind. Kim Bain-Moore was just here for the Classic. She didn't do fantastic, but she now knows the Red. Laura Gober had a previous WBT win on the Red. Juanita Robinson has apparently been prefishing on Toledo Bend and preparing for Championship. I might have seen a pro cruising the waters on Cross Lake on Monday evening in a silver Triton trying to get a feel for what the bass are thinking. I'm pretty sure the river is off limits at this point. I could be wrong.

Have a look at what were on the minds of anglers back in 2007.

Now, as I already said a moment ago, I don't really fish the river. I do know some lures that have local clout though. I recommend throwing some swimblades, swim jigs, black/blue jigs with Paca Chunk trailers, Sweet Beavers, and Baby Brush Hogs. I'm not sure how crankbaits will do. Also not sure how spinnerbaits will do. I will say that with the pressure the Red receives, downsizing might be in your favor. A finesse jig might do well. It might not. If they can find some floating weeds or pads, hit the spot with a Trophy Series Scumfrog. It's been working for me. Those are my suggestions, but should not be considered sure things.

I'm not sure who we should consider the local favorite. The field is an interesting one. On one hand, Judy Wong is from Many, Louisiana. Like Greg Hackney, Judy Wong might be the one representing us. On the other hand, there are several Texans with somewhat local backgrounds.

So it's going to be a high water situation. It will be a safety concern. It will be tricky few days of fishing. On top of that, the rain north of here is going to help send cold water downriver. Aren't tournaments always interesting like this?

Weigh ins will be at Academy on Beene Blvd off of Airline Drive each day at 3:30pm. Co anglers will be randomly paired with the pros. In addition to being named a champion, the winner is chasing a Triton/Mercury boat package prize with a $50k value.

Good luck ladies. Should be fun. Be safe out there.

1. Pam Martin-Wells
2. Juanita Robinson
3. Laura Gober
4. Judy Wong
5. Dianna Clark
6. Tammy Richardson
7. Janet Parker
8. Sheri Glasgow
9. Debra Petrowski
10. Kim Bain-Moore
11.Melinda Mize
12. Meta Burrell
13. Lisa Sternard
14. Paula Alexander
15. Lisa Johnson
16. Lucy Mize
17. Cindy Hill
18. Robin Babb
19. Emily Shaffer
20. Patti Campbell
1. Terri Bittner
2. Donna Newberry
3. Martha Goodfellow
4. Stacy Zhelesnik
5. Debbie Pegoli
6. Colleen McKay
7. Monica Altman
8. Bonnie Ward
9. Gail Wood
10. Kim Martin
11.Linda Owens
12. Teri Cindric
13. Barbara Gaskins
14. Sherry Melton
15. Vicki Henderson
16. Charlotte Frazier
17. Diane Smith
18. Bertha Cavakis
19. Kala Wright
20. Linda Walker

Additional Links:

National Weather Service Data
Red River at Shreveport

ESPN: The Countdown Begins

ESPN on Red River & WBT

WBT AOY Season standings

Pam Martin Wells leads

More Pam Martin Wells coverage from Women's Outdoor News

Suffolk woman aims to defend Bassmaster title

(I might periodically edit this page to include more links)


Tami Curtis said...

Great Blog...I like this post about the WBT! I look forward to reading your up coming posts.

Anonymous said...

I should notify my girlfriend about your post.