Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bassmaster Elite Pride of Georgia: West Point Lake

West Point Worries
By Luigi De Rose

Ish Could be the MAN on Sunday.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
 West Point Lake is steaped in bass fishing folklore. Nestled between the state of Alabama and Georgia this place can be a decent fisher. West Point Lake is a man-made lake along the Chattahoochee River system. It is about 35 mi (56 km) long and has numerous creek arms. With almost 26 000 surface areas, this lake has plenty of areas to fish. West Point is down stream of Lake Eufaula and this area was considered the heart of bass fishing especially the early years of BASS. Legendary anglers like Tom Mann, Blake Honeycutt and 1985 Classic Champion Jack Chancellor all called this area home. These three and many others were local legends that helped shape BASS in the early years. 

West Point is well known for it deep, winter time fishing with spoons. This week, the Elite anglers have picked a difficult time to fish. Post spawn bass and a fickle shad spawn has many of the lake's big bass MIA. Anglers are catching a few big ones but their long and skinny. Catching decent limits has been a chore. Consistency here has been very difficult.
The G-Man Swindle stated after he weighted his catch on Day 1 that, "I cannot go down the same bank and repeat. I will let the wind blow and just drift me." Andy Montgomery currectly in 6th on Day 3 with 45-06 explained that the fish are not repleshing in proven areas and anglers need to continuely hunt for new areas and try to search for active bass. Scrolling down the leader board its clear all the catches are very close. Van Dam and Evers are only 1 ounce apart between second and third at the end of Day 3.

What to do?
Two patterns have been producing well. Well is relative considering West Point has a reputation for being stingy at the best of times. Mornings find anglers searching for schools of spawning shad with active bass around them. Topwaters, especially poppers and spooks (walking baits) have excelled. The trick is to cover water looking for active bass. When they're on they're on. Stephen Kennedy, a favourite here and currectly in 4th, was reporting his success is coming within the first few minutes after blast off. The bite is that early and time sensitive.
Pattern two consists of fishing wood. Fallen trees and docks seems to be best. Many are idling up to tree, pitch, pitch, pitch and move on. Most are skipping everything else on the bank and often using the big motor to reposition between trees to save time. It has worked but the pattern is evapourating quickly due to fishing pressure. But, all one needs is a good bass and the game changes. Ish Monroe from Hughson, California, nailed two big ones and rocketed to first place on Day 3.


Andy should be good for one big
dock bite.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
 Sunday will see more of the same that happened today, not what happened the first two days of the tournament. Fishing is getting poorer and unpressured bass are more difficult to find. My pick to win the whole thing is Ish Monroe. He has experience fishing very fast and the courage to fish topwaters all day. His FLW experience will help him do well this weekend. Many past FLW tournaments have fallen during the post spawn and he's done well in tournaments when the top water bite was on. Ish is my pick.

Another key angler is Andy Montgomery. Andy is a former FLW angler who has done fairly well during post spawn. He loves docks and if the dock bite picks up he might do very well. I don't think he will win but he should climb in the standings. I say he'll be in third maybe in second. Evers is another who can pull it off. Saturday was his only poor day but it was poor for almost everyone. He has a real shot at winning. KVD is KVD and that is enough but the bite is flipping and topwaters. If is was more a cranking deal he would be my top choice. I think he always has a bit more magic on the last day than other Elite pros. Again, he might win but I'll pick Ish because I like his style.   

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