Mother Nature playing games on Hartwell

Category: article

 Mar 7th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Mar 7th, 2014 at 12:00 AM

SENECA, S.C. – Lucas Oil/Ion pro Billy McDonald’s response says it all. When I ask him “Hey Bill, what’re you up to?” as I step aboard his boat on Day 2 at the FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, he’s only half joking when he replies: “You mean, besides shivering and shaking?”

Bill McDonald tries to focus on his baits as a South Carolina deluge beats down on his boat. (Joel Shangle)

McDonald isn’t the only one of the 300-plus pro and co-anglers who are far from ecstatic about the turn of the week’s weather, which will bring rain and gusts up to 30 miles per hour today on Hartwell. Livingston pro Stetson Blaylock hovers underneath the only available structure – a small, covered dock at Clemson Marina – until the very last minute before heading out in the final flight of the morning.

“I think I’ll hang out at the (marina) restaurant until about 10, then maybe go out,” Blaylock jokes.

Day 2 started much as Day 1 ended: with steady, soaking rain and wave-throwing gusts of wind battering Hartwell. How that translates into the day’s fishing is anybody’s guess, but it will certainly lead to some rigorous testing of both rain gear and the seaworthiness of the Rangers, Nitros, Trackers, Skeeters and Bass Cats spreading out today over this 56,000-acre impoundment of the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers.

“The fish are already wet, they don’t care,” McDonald deadpans.

Hartwell’s spotted and largemouth bass might not be as aggressive on the weather change as Ozarks bass – as Pop Tarts pro Greg Bohannan pointed out yesterday – but they’re pretty willing to bite. Leader Casey Ashley racked up 21 pounds, 7 ounces yesterday, and second-place-holder Skip Johnson caught “30 or 40 fish (on Day 1), I just lit ’em up.”

Check back in here at 5 p.m. EST for exclusive photos and breakdown of the Day 2 action.

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