David Cavell is usually so upbeat, so positive, you’d think the guy had one too many cups of coffee that morning.
Monday was different. He was down: the die-hard Baton Rouge bass fishermen was back in town after a week trying to beat 62 other anglers for one of three spots in March’s Bassmaster Classic.
One among the 62 was his friend Caleb Sumrall, the New Iberia bass chaser, who’d won the event a year ago on Texas’ Lake Conroe.
He finished ninth, but not after giving Alabama’s Pickwick Lake his best shot, including landing the tournament’s heaviest largemouth, an 8-pound, 4-ounce giant.
“The first day was awesome,” Cavell said. “Weighed an 8-4 and had never done before.
“But Caleb and I were not on fish. Fishing was really tough, and never got on a good pattern.”
With that lunker, Cavell was fourth (18-11) after Thursday’s first round, but was one shy of a five-bass limit. He weighed three Friday and was sixth (29-10).
Sumrall jumped from Thursday’s 14th place (13-0) to seventh (29-1) to make the top 10 and a spot in Saturday’s final.
“One fish extra per day would have made the Classic for me,” Cavell said. “One more each day and I could have gone after a small limit on the final day. I had to swing for the fences to make it (the top three).”
He swung and missed.
“I’m going to fish grass. That’s where the big fish are, and I was going for broke,” Cavell said. “It just didn’t happen. It’s three times I’ve had a shot for the Classic, and I just don’t how many more times I’ll get this chance.”
Cavell and Sumrall competed in the Boater Division. Louisiana’s Nonboater Division qualifier. Todd Newchurch of Livonia was able to catch only one bass over two days from the back of a boat.
California’s Randy Pierson, Alabama’s Kyle Dorsett and Italian angler Jacapo Gallelli comprised the top three and have places in the March 15-17 Classic on the Tennessee River at Knoxville, Tennessee.
Your guess is as good as anyone’s about fishing this weekend and into Thanksgiving week.
This week’s rain, heavy across areas south of Interstate 10, means rising and muddy water, and with already higher-than-normal water levels in most inland waters, the forecast isn’t all that good in most freshwater and marsh areas for the next few days.
With little rain in the forecast through Tuesday — and with a push of north, then westerly winds — water will get pushed out and should clear enough to provide a good shot at catching freshwater and saltwater species.
You’ll need to bundle against early morning lows in the 30s and 40s, but sunshine should warm waters in the afternoon. Besides, it hasn’t been cold enough, long enough to cool water all that much and fish should be active, especially on outgoing water.
You might want to try False River and Henderson and Bayou Courtableau and the Florida Parishes rivers, but give the latter rivers a chance to clear a bit.
Current levels in the Mississippi River are a concern: respective Baton Rouge and New Orleans gauges readings are 30.9 and 11.4 feet, and the forecast is for a slow fall to 25.2 feet at Baton Rouge and a 10-foot reading at New Orleans by Dec. 10.
In the marsh
It’s time to remind marsh fishermen about duck season: give duck hunters a chance to enjoy their sport in the early morning before you begin to enjoy your’s.