As you're reading this I'm on Lay Lake practicing for the Classic. My daily Classic blogs from Birmingham will start next Monday, the 15th.
Overall, I'm really excited. I think BASS did a good job of putting us on premier bass fisheries at the right times. And this schedule should help me fish to my strengths. How could I not be excited about something like that?
California is awesome. The Delta and Clear Lake are two of the best bass venues in our country. I can't wait to get out there and start catching them, something I didn't do enough of the last time we were there. I want a chance to redeem myself.
I know that some of the guys are upset about the drive. I'll agree that it's the drive from hell. I still say, however, that it's worth it. The fishing is fantastic out there in March and it's a great place for the fans to watch us show off our stuff. Big fish are always exciting.
After that, as we swing around the East, it'll be mostly postspawn stuff. That's my thing. I love to power fish on offshore structure — small shellbeds, isolated stumps, minute turns and twists in a channel. It's a thrill to catch bass on places that you found yourself and that the other guys missed.
My strength in those areas is developing a pattern and then tossing a Berkley Football Head Jig or a Laser Lure. It really gets me going. I'm as excited about doing that as I am about going to California. It's a great way to fish.
The only place I don't know anything about is our last tournament on the Arkansas River out in Oklahoma — the place they call "The Ditch." I've never been there. I'll probably stop by and take a look on my way back from California. I won't learn much about the fishing because of the season — March as opposed to June — but at least I can say I took a look.
There's something to be said about fishing new water. Without any history it's a real challenge, something that tests you as an angler. You have to ask yourself if you have what it takes to catch them from a new place. If the answer is yes, you'll leave smiling for a week.
It's not as tough as you might think, either. Without history you don't get trapped in what happened years ago because you don't know what happened years ago. On some level that's a good thing. You go out, use all your skills to the best of your ability, and hope for the best. That's not all bad.
OK, that's enough about the tournament trail. Next week I'll bring you up-to-date on the Classic doings — every day, all week long.