Morning reports from Bassmaster photographer Andy Crawford indicated that Day-1 leader Blake Smith was having a tough time igniting the fast start he experienced yesterday. Certainly, he’d rather have an early limit, but there’s plenty of time to get it going.
Also, Smith said his big start — 15 pounds, 7 ounces — exceeded his expectations and positioned him well.
“I figured that 12 pounds a day would win and I threw back two 11-pound limits (on Day 1),” he said.
Winning’s always the immediate goal and since Smith has fished all three Basspro.com Bassmaster Southern Division events, a win would earn him a spot in the 2022 Academy Sports and Outdoors Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell.
Beyond those objectives, Smith’s also working to secure his 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series invitation. The top three in each Opens division and the top three in the Overall Opens standings qualify for the Elites.
Coming into this event third in points, his Day 1 lead moved him atop the points. Smith will likely play a conservative game today to ensure he makes it to Championship Saturday, when he can step on the gas.
Given the dynamic nature of the fall transition, few guarantees exist this week. Covering water seemed to be the most common theme from Thursday’s weigh in, but then third-place pro Charlie Hartley reported sacking up all of his weight on one offshore spot the size of his boat.
The takeaway: Save the predictions; this one’s going down to the wire.