RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The St. Croix Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Mossy Oak Fishing is kicking off later this month in the James River.
The competition will take place April 14-16, with boats taking off from Osborne Park & Boat Landing at 6:30 a.m.
Weigh-ins will take place back at the Osborne landing at 2:30 p.m. each day.
The top 10 fisherman after the second day will advance to the championship round. The co-angler champion will be crowned at the end of the second day weigh-in.
According to a Bassmaster press release, pro anglers say the deciding factor of the competition will be the tides.
Johnathan Kelley, a Bassmaster Elite Series rookie, said, “The main factor is the tide level, high or low, and then if you have a supertide where it floods or it does the opposite where it completely flows out (and drains shallow targets).”
“You can’t predict it that far in advance, so it’s all going to come down to a couple of days before the tournament.”
Kelley added that the tournament will take place right around a full moon (April 16), which could bring an extreme tide. If the weather stays consistent, he said, these conditions could make for a really good tournament.
However, Kelley went on to say, “But anything could change this time of year — you could have heavy rains, you could have a fall-out tide, you could have a cold front. We experienced that last year, we had a major cold front and a major blow-out.”
Bassmaster forecasts are calling for warm and sunny weather at the beginning of the tournament week, but increasing clouds and some showers later on.
“Delighting anglers, the James River abounds with bass-friendly habitat from laydowns, cypress trees, docks and duck blinds, to pads, river grass and barge pits,” Bassmaster said in their press release, “Throughout tournament waters, anglers will use a mix of reaction baits — bladed jigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swim jigs.”
Although the bulk of the tournament takes place within the James, anglers will likely move downstream to one of its major tributaries- the Chickahominy River. Bassmaster Elite Series veteran Brandon Palaniuk, who won last year’s event, spent his final day fishing the Chickahominy.
“Even though the Chickahominy gets pressure, it always pumps out Top 10 bags,” Kelley said. “There’s just no other place that has the amount of habitat, but it’s not the only place that has winning habitat.”
Kelley hopes to catch a fish around 56 pounds to win the competition.