I'm excited about the upcoming Classic. Lay Lake may be one of the better Classic venues we've had in recent years. It's a healthy fishery, and bigger fish bite in colder water. On top of all that, it offers something for everyone.
The lower section of the lake is clear. It's full of bluff walls and standing timber and has enough grass to keep both largemouth and spots happy. The middle section has several good creeks, is more river-like and has plenty of grass and docks. The upper section is basically a pure river habitat with laydowns, rock and current.
Every angler in the field — and remember, Classic qualifiers represent the best of the best when it comes to competitive bass anglers — can fish to his or her strength.
Believe me when I tell you they all have them. Every competitor has something that he or she is really good at, something they can use to their advantage if conditions are right. That makes for a dangerous situation. Any competitor, fishing the way he or she likes to fish, is capable of hauling the winning weight to the scales from anywhere in the lake.
Which part of the lake will produce that weight, or which section I'll fish, isn't knowable at this time. It's way too early. We'll have to see what the conditions are in February and do a little practicing first. Then we'll know or at least be able to make an educated guess.
Now, on to another subject. I've been asked by a lot of guys who I think they should watch this year. My answer to that question is simple and straightforward — Aaron Martens.
I pick Aaron for several reasons. First, he's from that part of the country and knows the lake and how it fishes. That's a huge advantage in a tournament like the Bassmaster Classic where there isn't a lot of practice time and only three days of competition. Getting on them quick is important. You don't want to get very far behind in the early going.
Second, I consider him to be the best spotted bass fisherman around. He knows and understands spots. Again, that's a huge advantage. Lay Lake is capable of producing bags of winning spots.
Last, he's a fierce competitor and has been close more than once. At some point he's going to bring the bacon home. This just might be the year that "it's his turn," as some guys like to say.
All that said, don't any of you get the wrong idea. I'm not conceding to Aaron. I'm in this thing to win. I'll never believe, or concede, that I can't win. If Aaron is crowned the 2010 Bassmaster Classic champion, it'll be over my best efforts; I'll guarantee you that!
Remember, it's all about the attitude.