First Day Of Southern Open Cancelled Due To Inclement Weather
JASPER, Ala. — It came as no surprise to the anglers early this morning when B.A.S.S. Opens Tournament Director Chris Bowes canceled Day 1 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open at Smith Lake.

“We addressed the possibility in the anglers’ meeting last night,” Bowes said. “Everyone knew this was a possibility. This weather system was literally on everybody’s radar for the last few days.”

Bowes said he started monitoring weather radar and forecasts at 2 a.m. today, and he made the decision to cancel Day 1 about 4 a.m. It began raining shortly after 5 a.m. Thunderstorms are predicted to last all day and into the evening, with lightning, high winds and hail included as potential dangers to anglers on the water. Up to 2 inches of rain is forecast for the next 24 hours in the area.

This tournament now becomes a two-day event for the entire field of 179 boats. There won’t be a cut to the Top 12, as is the usual format for a three-day Bassmaster Open. Champions in the pro and co-angler field will be crowned Saturday. However, rather than the final weigh-in being held at the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, Ala., both the Friday and Saturday weigh-ins will be held at the Smith Lake Dam Access Area beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT each day.

“I want to thank the Walker County Chamber of Commerce for working so closely with us and being involved in this decision,” Bowes said. “They’ve been on top of this weather situation too, and they’ve worked hand-in-hand with us in getting the tournament schedule changed and disseminating that information.”