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Tidal tribulations

3/19/2011

Editor's note: Don't miss our expanded coverage Sunday, which will include our live blog, BASSTrakk, hourly live video updates with Dave Mercer and Toyota Hooked Up! with Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona.

PALATKA, Fla. -- Jeff Kriet was looking at hundreds of bass the final day of practice. The clear waters on Lake George revealed three "sweet spots" that held bunches of fish.

Kriet spent the day shaking fish off, but when he accidentally hooked a three-pounder, dozens of fish followed the hooked bass to his boat.

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"Dude, it'd scare you if you knew what was in there," he said from atop his Triton the afternoon of Day Three. "But the tide isn't right."

Though he knew what the area held, Kriet spent the morning of Day One sight fishing with most of the field. He didn't have much of a choice as the sweet spots didn't turn on until the afternoon.

Kriet didn't get to his spot until 1 p.m., and the tide was "just right." Teeming in the clear water were bass -- lots of bass.

"The water got really clear on Day One when the tide was high," he said. "When it's low, the water gets dirty and they don't act right. But, I looked in there and there were hundreds of 'em. It was crazy, man; unbelievable."

Lake George is essentially a wide spot in the St. John's River. Because it's so big and in the central part of the river, the tides don't affect the lake as much (the tide fluctuates more visibly the farther north you go). But, Kriet found that the nominal tidal shift "messed with his bass big time."

Kriet only managed 12-14 on Day One, and knew he needed to improve his weight, so he headed to his three sweet spots early on Day Two. But, as he'd find out that morning, the tide still wasn't right.

"I headed there and didn't get a bite until 1:30," he said. "The tide killed me. Dude, I saw an 8- and a 10-pounder, but they get to acting weird when the tide's like that."

Edwin Evers' experience with the tides this week has been less dramatic, but just as influential. He was lobbing baits toward the bank into super shallow water when the tide was out. Each time he'd throw into the skinny water, bass would scatter.

"You could throw up into there with 8-pound-test and they'd run all over the place," he said. "When the tide's low, they get goofy. Really low tides just make 'em weird."

Each day at launch, the tide is just about bottomed out, and it slowly rises throughout the day. Terry Scroggins's knowledge of the fishery allows him to find and fish areas that aren't as affected by the tide as Kriet and Evers.

He's on a pattern that involves a moving bait, and says that the low tides position the fish just right for him to nab a quick limit tomorrow morning.

"I haven't been going in there due to the fact that the water is so low, but tomorrow morning I'm going to run in there then go run some other stuff and sight fish for a bit," he said. "However, when the tide's back up in the afternoon, I'm going back in there."

With tonight's supermoon, the tides will likely be exaggerated. However, the whole tidal swing is 12-18 inches, so it's unlikely that bass will be more affected than on non-super moon nights.