BassFan editor Todd Ceisner has arrived at Lake Murray for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup and the field of 45 anglers, a mix of touring pros, regional studs and young up-and-comers, is ready for the challenges that lie ahead for them over the next 4 days.
Ceisner will be on the water for several hours each day and will provide Cupdates here from his perspective, so stick with BassFan.com right through Sunday for on-the-water updates in the mornings and complete coverage after each round.
> 11:45 am: We decided to call it a day, er, morning on the water. The field appears pretty well spread out and we saw a lot of boats running around in every direction. We know of at least one big fish that was caught and there have been other quality catches reported elsewhere. Weigh-in should be interesting as we'll finally get a true feel for what this lake is doing. Heading back to Columbia now to edit photos.
> 11:24 am: We found Tony Davis fishing along an island with some wood on shore. His co angler Bryan New stuck a good one before they moved on. No word on what Davis has.
> 11:05 am: We are moving off of Christie, who still has two in the box and continues to run pockets with wood and docks. Heading back down toward Dreher Island to see if we can locate other anglers.
> 10:39 am: We went to chase Matt Herren but he eluded us and now we've crossed paths with Barry Wilson, who tells us he has five, including a 6-plus pounder. Those are game changers here.
> 10:17 am: Christie continues to fish quick through pockets. One gentleman came down from his home and is watching from his dock. Flip after flip, he's looking for keeper number three. And with that he's off and moving again.
> 9:57 am: Watching Christie flip lay downs and flooded brush. Remember he had an abbreviated practice after making the Top 12 at the Delaware River. Maybe this is his default pattern where he hopes to catch five a day.
> 9:30 am: Christie swung and missed on one then flipped back and nailed a keeper out of a lay down. He continued down the point which is littered with wood and missed another. He then made a short moved around the other side and is working more wood on the shady side of the point now.
> 9:20 am: We have located Jason Christie, the top-ranked angler in the world. He was fishing a channel between a small island and shore and then moved out around a wind blown point with a sea wall on it.
A few minutes later he made a short move to small pocket with about six docks in it. He's flipping those and the scattered bank grass. The wind has really picked up out here.
> 8:55 am: We're on the hunt for other competitors. We're on the lower end toward the dam and there's a decent chop on the lake. Feels like Lake Erie back home.
> 8:05 am: We find Austin Terry fishing flooded timber and a couple docks but he's quick to pull the trolling motor and make a move. So far we've seen one fish catch.
> 7:34 am: Wheeler vacates the causeway area and we've decide to track down other anglers. We make a quick run and find Robbie Dodson fishing offshore with spinning tackle. He's constantly looking at his graph, but nothing's happening for him.
> 7:18 am: Rose connects with a bass but it's shy of the 14-inch limit and it quickly goes back in the lake. My boat driver, Ray Pettit, says Rose isn't far from one of the best spots on the lake.
Rose quickly fires back under the bridge before working under the causeway and changing rods.
> 7:10 am: The water temperature was 83.7 degrees just outside the takeoff area and figures to climb as the sun gets up. There's a nice breezy ripple on the water.
> 7:05 AM: Jacob Wheeler and Mark Rose get started on a bridge not far from takeoff, just on opposite sides both with spinning rods.
> 5:45 AM: Rayovac Series qualifier Stephen Johnston gets the worm. He was the first competitor to tie up at the takeoff dock. "I'm up at 4:30 am every day so this is nothing new for me."
He likes the breeze this morning and seems upbeat and confident after spending 14 days here before off limits.
> 5:20 AM: Dreher Island State Park is a little quiet right now. FLW workers are prepping for day 1 takeoff. Some media boat drivers are staged at the dock, but I haven't yet seen a competitor pull up. They'll be here shortly. Little bit of a breeze here and a starry sky over head. Should be a good morning.
Bear with me please as Iím at the mercy of my 3G iPhone 4, now considered a dinosaur in the cellular arms race. So far so good.