2013 Bassmaster Classic Grand Lake O' the Cherokees - Tulsa, OK, Feb 22 - 24, 2013

2013 Classic: So far, so good

About the author

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli is the only angler to have won the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

The trip out here was uneventful. We arrived on Wednesday evening, set the camper up and settled down. I spent Thursday getting ready for practice and then it was off to the races. This year’s a little different, though. I’m preparing from a totally different point of view. The reason for that isn’t so much me. It’s more the lake.

I would be shocked if this Classic is won on a spot. I don’t think anyone will find the one, magical place that holds the winning fish. To me, it’s going to be a pattern tournament. That means that my usual strategy of finding two or three places and two or three ways to make them bite won’t get it done.

So, with that in mind I didn’t practice with the idea of finding a lot of fish or looking for the right place to spend my days. I went out and “just went fishing.” I know you hear that a lot, and some of you probably roll your eyes when you do hear it, but in this case it’s absolutely true.

All I did for three days was fish around the lake and try to figure out what the big bass — 4 pounds plus — were telling me. As far as I’m concerned, this is all about big fish. There’s no sense kidding yourself that a limit will get you anything but a trip home. If you don’t have quality fish later this week you’ll have nothing.

I noticed a couple of things that I was able to duplicate at other places in the lake. That’s really important. Catching one, isolated fish is meaningless. You have to be able to duplicate whatever it is that you’re doing.

I’m not saying that I have a pattern. I don’t. What I do have is a start, and for this Classic that might be the most important thing of all. If I can at least get going on Thursday by fishing the right places with the right bait, then maybe I’ll be able to refine my approach as the tournament goes into Saturday and Sunday.

This one really will be about fishing the moment. I don’t think that anything will hold up for all three days. My best guess is that the 2013 Bassmaster Classic will go down as a test of traditional fishing skills. That’s fine with me. It’s what the sport is all about.

It looks like the weather is going to play into the patterns, too. It’s supposed to be cold at night but warm up during the day. That usually means that the fish will be moving at some point and go active at some point.

That’s the way I see it right now, anyway. But you never know. Things happen quick on the water, and there are a bunch of really good anglers fishing this one so it could go either way. I’ll update you on things after I practice on Wednesday and from then on every evening until it’s over.

MikeIaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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