B.A.S.S. postpones day 1 of Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake

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(B.A.S.S. Communications)

FLORENCE, Ala. — B.A.S.S. officials made a decision to postpone the first day of competition at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake as increased current caused by severe weather and high sustained winds are making the fishery unsafe for boaters. The forecast is calling for sustained west-southwest winds of 15-20 mph with gusts to 30 expected by mid-morning.

“The combination of flood-level flow and high wind blowing against that current can create a dangerous condition for boaters,” said Lisa Talmadge, Bassmaster Elite Series Senior Tournament Manager. “The safety of our anglers is always our first priority.”

The tournament is being hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism.

Gusty winds and strong current are givens during springtime on a river system like Pickwick Lake, but too much of both, when coming from opposite directions, spell trouble for boating.

That scenario forced the postponement of Thursday’s competition at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake.

“The combination of flood-level flow and high wind blowing against that current can create a dangerous condition for boaters,” said Lisa Talmadge, Bassmaster Elite Series Senior Tournament Manager. “The safety of our anglers is always our first priority.”

Here’s the scenario. Thursday’s forecast calls for winds from the west-southwest at 15-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s forecasted discharge schedule from Wilson Dam into Pickwick is over 179,000 cubic feet per second. The Tennessee River flows from east to west.

The sum of the whole are strong winds and stronger current colliding from opposite directions. And that equates to hazardous boating conditions throughout the lake.

“When massive amounts of water are released, the winds go straight against the current,” said David Allen, a fulltime guide on Pickwick and tournament angler. “When it really ramps up with the discharge it even makes it worse.”

He continued, “The winds build up and draw the current upward toward the surface, which creates a riptide effect. As it builds, it makes it very difficult to even get on plane.”

The competition begins tomorrow, when the winds subside and the weather is more stable, following multiple rounds of severe weather that included tornado warnings, flood warnings, heavy rain and high winds.

The full field of 100 anglers will now compete on both Friday and Saturday, with only the Top 50 advancing to Sunday’s semifinal round. The Top 10 will compete for the championship on Monday. Daily takeoffs will be held at McFarland Park at 6:45 a.m. CT and weigh-ins each day at the park at 3 p.m.