DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

WEST POINT LAKE PREVIEW

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 05/01/2013

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush and Matt Pangrac

LaGrange, GA – For the second time in the past three years, the Bassmaster Elite Series makes a stop on Georgia’s West Point Lake. Located along the Chattahoochee River, the quality largemouth that were caught on the 25,900 acre fishery during the Elite Series tournament in May of 2011 surprised many anglers.   

Alabama’s Steve Kennedy won the 2011 tournament on West Point with a total weight of 64-14, edging Edwin Evers by just over 2-pounds.   “The thing about this lake is that guys came here and didn’t realize the big fish that were in here,” said Kennedy after his victory.  

While the majority of the field is now more familiar with the fishery, they are facing very different conditions than they did in 2011.  For one, the water level is up.  In May of 2011, the water level was at 632.8.  The current water level on West Point is 635.64, nearly three feet higher. “The water level has put a lot of the fish up on the bank, and I think that could be a game changer right there,” explained Keith Poche, who finished in 17th place in 2011.  

The 5 Preview facts from West Point Lake:
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (May 2-5)
Location:  West Point Lake – LaGrange, Georgia  
Fishery Facts:  25,900 acre fishery along the Chattahoochee River that features 525 miles of shoreline with an average depth of 12 feet
Field Size: 100 anglers 
Previous Winner: Steve Kennedy – 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series (64-14)

Mike Iaconelli
What is the X-factor going to be this week on West Point? 
“I think that the X-factor this week could definitely be falling water level.  We have really high water right now, and if it starts pulling down, things could get interesting.  Along with that, I think that another X-factor could be that someone finds some deep fish.” 

What is the biggest difference that you’ve noticed from when the Elite Series was here in 2011? 
“It would definitely be the water level.  We had low water last time we were here and there wasn’t much cover in the water at all.  Now that the water is up, there are millions of targets out there to hit.”
 
What was the most challenging aspect or biggest surprise for you during practice?
“I’d say that it would have to be navigating through the trash.  There was a lot of rain and it blew a lot of trash down the Chattahoochee, so it’s like an obstacle course out there.  Seriously, that’s been the biggest challenge.”

How much of a factor is overall experience on West Point going to play this week? 
“I don’t’ think that experience is going to help at all this week because it’s a totally different fishery this time around. I don’t think that anything that worked last year is going to work again this year – it’s going to be all new stuff.” 

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“I really think that you’re going to have to cover a lot of water.  That being said, if the water starts to drop and the fish pull out a little bit I think that someone could maybe find a key area or two.  If the water stays high, this will definitely be a run and gun event.”

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 65-pounds?  
“I’d say under 65-pounds.”

Andy Montgomery
What is the X-factor going to be this week on West Point? 
“The X-factor will probably be how many fish get caught off of beds.  I’ve seen a few swimming around, but I can’t tell if they’re just coming up to lock on the beds or if they’re done spawning and are just cruising around. In the river, the water temperature is in the low to mid 60s, but I’ve also seen water temperatures in the upper 70s.

What was the most challenging aspect or biggest surprise for you during practice?
“The most challenging thing has been getting a largemouth bite.  It’s a lot different lake than it was when we were here two years ago.”
 
What is the biggest difference that you’ve noticed from when the Elite Series was here in 2011? 
“The biggest difference is definitely the shad spawn.  Last time we were here, there was a full blown shad spawn and it’s just not happening this year.  It may start during the tournament, but right now that’s just not the case.” 

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“This is a pattern lake, so I’m almost certain that the tournament will be won by a guy who does a lot of running around.” 

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 65-pounds?  
“I’m not sure.  I know that there are probably some guys who know how to go out and catch a limit of spotted bass, but I don’t really think that a lot of the guys who will be targeting largemouth will be culling a lot.  I think that you’ll be happy when you get number five in the livewell.” 

Keith Poche
What is the X-factor going to be this week on West Point? 
“I think that the X-factor will be getting several big bites each day in the 5-pound range.  There are some big fish in this lake, and I think that the tournament will boil down to a couple big fish.  We caught them better than what people expected in 2011, but it showed a lot of guys that big fish live in this lake.” 

What is the biggest difference that you’ve noticed from when the Elite Series was here in 2011? 
“Without a doubt the water level is the biggest difference.  Last time we were here, the water level was down quite a bit from where it is at right now.  It’s up a couple of feet and it’s still rising.  The water level has put a lot of the fish up on the bank, and I think that could be a game-changer right there.”

What was the most challenging aspect or biggest surprise for you during practice?
“Dealing with the high water and trying to get to the fish has been a little challenging.  There’s a lot of high grass on the banks here that’s really hard to fish, so it’s been a challenge trying to figure out how to catch the fish out of that standing grass.”  

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“There are some key areas, but I’m planning on popping around quite a bit over the course of each tournament day looking for aggressive bites.  A couple years ago, there was a really strong shad spawn going on.  I haven’t seen that this year but I feel like the fish are still up shallow, so moving a lot and looking for aggressive fish is going to be important.” 

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 65-pounds?  
“Over.”

James Elam
What is the X-factor going to be this week on West Point? 
“The X-factor could be the fact that there may be some bigger females that haven’t moved up and spawned yet.  If the rising water stabilizes, there is the chance that some big ones could move up really quickly and the bite could turn on.” 

What was the most challenging aspect or biggest surprise for you during practice?
“I thought that I’d be able to catch fish a lot easier than I have during practice.  I really haven’t run into the fish yet, so I don’t have a lot to say right now.” 

How much of a factor is overall experience on West Point going to play this week? 
“It’s always nice when you don’t have preconceived notions going into a tournament, and I don’t have to worry about that here because I’ve never been to this lake before.  No two tournaments are the same, so it could work to my benefit.  The problem is that I know absolutely nothing about this place, so that kind of hurts me.”

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“I think that you’ll have to catch fish by moving around a lot.”

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 65-pounds?  
“Under.”