Red sky at morning, bassers take warning

Category: article

 Mar 16th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:00 AM

BAINBRIDGE, GA – Mother Nature has thrown a slight monkey wrench into Championship Sunday at the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Seminole.

B.A.S.S. tournament director Trip Weldon told the final 12 anglers this morning that the day would be shortened due to an incoming squall, and that the usual 3:45 p.m. check-in would be changed to 1 p.m., with a 2 p.m. walk-through weigh-in.

Will Brett Hite continue to tower over the competition today on a weather-shortened Lake Seminole? (Joel Shangle)

“The leading edge of that squall is supposed to be here around 2 p.m., so we’re pushing it a little even with the 1 o’clock check-in,” Weldon said.

The National Weather Service has placed southwestern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle on tornado watch, and issued tornado and flash-flood warnings for rural Alabama and Florida communities just west and south of tournament headquarters in Bainbridge, GA.

At the very least, a severe weather front moving north by northeast from the Gulf of Mexico will bring severe thunderstorms straight up the Flint River Valley and directly over Lake Seminole and the 12 anglers fishing today.

“Things are changing in a huge way, and I have to (compliment) the call that was just made,” said B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer. “That’s a huge weather system coming in, and at all of these events, the number one concern is the safety: the safety of our anglers, of our sponsors, of the fans and everybody involved. This is a giant venue and it’s easy to say ‘Well we want to go fishing’, but there are a lot of people involved, so the call was made to shorten the day to 1 o’clock.”

How that affects the anglers battling for the trophy is anybody’s guess, but a shortened day certainly has the potential to shake things up in the top 5. Tournament leader Brett Hite entered the morning with a seemingly safe 10-plus-pound lead, but Hite didn’t catch most of his Day 3 bag of 26-plus pounds until after 2 p.m. As of 11:20 a.m. EST, BassTrak showed Hite still in the lead with 16 pounds for the day, but Texas pro Todd Faircloth had made a massive leap up the leaderboard with over 26 pounds of Seminole largemouth.

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