High water delays, but doesn’t deny anglers in annual Bassmaster tournament

Bassmaster Elite delayed

WADDINGTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Is it too much of a good thing? The St. Lawrence River brings in tourists to the region to see the beauty of the water, but it can also bring in too much water. This year’s high levels on the river delayed the start of the Bassmaster Elite fishing tournament Thursday.

The concern was whether the Iroquois Dam would be open or closed and how strong the river’s current would be when the tournament opened.

The tournament got underway around 9 o’clock Thursday morning.

75 competitors chasing a $100,000 first place prize. But it might not be so easy this year.

“You have to react a little bit differently when the water is on the drop, which it is now. So it is high yes, but still reeds some cover that was in the water three days ago no longer exists,” said Chad Morgenthaler, of Springfield, Missouri.

These competitors are used to going out just as dawn breaks.

“You know this morning it’s definitely going to be different," said Morgenthaler, "you got the sun coming up really quickly, we don’t have cloud cover like you typically do with an early morning start.”

There’s another adjustment these pro anglers have to make. They are in a bass fishery recently crowned number one in the country by Bassmaster Magazine.

“You get the chance to catch small-mouth of a lifetime. And experience a lot of untapped fisheries. It’s so vast,” said Morgenthaler.

They’ll get huge crowds in Waddington during this tournament, About 30,000 people over the four days. And if you’re really into fishing, this can be the summer learning experience of a lifetime.

“When you watch them, like on live TV, you see how they fish and what they do,” said Kaden Irish, of Potsdam.

“I enjoy watching them catch fish and how big they are,” said Xavier Clookey, of Potsdam.

“Wow they have big boats. Big, big motors,” said Bridger Wilks, of Columbus, Montana.

The Bassmater Elite also features vendor booths, bands and fireworks.

Weigh-ins are scheduled for 5 o’clock.

It all culminates Sunday when nearly $600,000 in prizes will be handed out.

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