BOSSIER CITY, La. — The ubiquitous woolen caps. Myriad Bill Belichick-style hoodies. Guys bundled up so bulky they resemble the new Mickey Rourke in sponsor-emblazoned regalia.
The Day Two launch of the Bassmaster Classic didn't exactly feature the sort of garb bass enthusiasts might associate with a spawning tournament.
But here we are, right in the middle of a spawn, according to many of the 51 anglers competing for bass fishing's biggest crown. This past week's balmy late mornings and afternoons and the coming new moon got the fish — already in the mood — on the move. The first day's chill (31 degrees at 7 a.m. launch) backed them off a bit, but not altogether by any means.
"A lot of these fish we're catching are bed fish. The majority of them, actually," said Aaron Martens, who sits in fourth place after catching 18 pounds, 1 ounce on Day One. "They don't just move off when it gets colder. They will get a little more skittish and will move off of a bed quicker."
Martens isn't looking at his fish. He's mainly fishing by waypoints — bites he got in practice on a specific piece of structure. In prep for the coming weather — 70 percent chance of rain forecast to begin around 11 a.m. — he fiddled with spinnerbaits, but indicated his Day One bites came from flipping to specific areas.
Dave Wolak had pretty much given up on the select bed fish found in practice, but "for the heck of it" checked out a nest when he was in the vicinity at around 11 on Day One.
"There were fish locked up on Wednesday," said Wolak (Seventh, 17-6). "A lot of them had left and I thought this pair would be gone. The female was still there and I got her on the second flip or so. When they lock up they'll generally be there for a few days. This one looked pretty fresh."
The fish weighed almost 4 pounds, right in line with his average. He said there are more to be had based on Wednesday's 80-degree weather and other factors.
"There should be some more out there," Wolak said. "Today won't be conducive to looking at them. A new and full moon — a strong moon — will bring them in as much as water temperature."
Rick Morris (6-10 with two fish) was also on bed fish in practice, but was disheartened by the Day One cold and fishes' corresponding change of venue.
"Most of the pairs broke up on me," he said. "Most of the females are either hiding of just left. There's a lot of grass, water hyacinths and slimy stuff around, so there's plenty of places to hide. It looks like more of spinnerbait day to me anyway."