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Neely Henry Lake, Gadsden, Ala.
Neely Henry has become a favorite of the WBT, having hosted two tournaments in the first three seasons of the circuit. In April 2006, Tammy Richardson won with a three-day total of 33-3 on her way to the ESPY award for best angler. In May 2008, Pam Martin-Wells improved on that weight with 36-1.
Martin-Wells was the only angler in the field able to bring in limits weighing better than 10 pounds each day. Her next closest competitor was nearly 10 pounds back. She swam a jig and worked weightless plastics around grass for her catch. With the tournament nearly a month earlier than in 2008, it's likely that bedding fish will be a factor in the top weights.
Ouachita River, West Monroe, La.
This will mark the WBT's first visit to the Ouachita River and just the third overall in BASS history. The last time BASS came here was in December 2004 for the Bassmaster Open championship. It took 43-15 over three days to win that tournament. The other BASS event on the Ouachita was also in the fall and took 38-4 to win.
When the women hit Ouachita in the spring, fishing should be better than that. Bass will likely be shallow and feeding heavily as they prepare to spawn. Pitching, flipping and working shallow crankbaits and spinnerbaits should take plenty of bass. If the water's high and muddy, the winner might be the angler who can find areas that offer just a little more visibility. A bass over 5 pounds is a good one here.
Maumelle Lake, Little Rock, Ark.
Heeding a small craft warning in effect for the Arkansas River near Little Rock, BASS announced Wednesday the fishery for the June 4-6 Academy Sports + Outdoors Women's Bassmaster Tour event has been changed to Maumelle Lake.
The launch site on Maumelle will be Jolly Roger's Marina, 11800 Maumelle Harbour Road, Roland, AR 72135 (501-868-5558). Take-off time is 5:45 a.m. CT. Daily weigh-ins are scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. CT at the Academy Sports + Outdoors retail location at 6100 Warden Road, Sherwood, Ark., across the river from the city of Little Rock.
Old Hickory Lake, Henderson, Tenn.
Both the ladies and the Bassmaster Elite Series fished Old Hickory Lake in 2008. Kevin Wirth caught 55-10 over four days to take the Elite event, and Dianna Clark boated 36-5 over three days to win the WBT tournament. Both of those tournaments were in June.
By moving things to September this year, the fishing promises to be somewhat different. Last year Clark flipped and pitched a jig and pig in the extreme backs of creeks for her winning catch, which included the best bass of the tournament a 6-4 lunker. The pattern could be good again in 2009, but slightly cooler temperatures might open things up to other methods all over the lake.