I’m not sure what to say about practice for this year’s GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro. I can summarize things by saying that this is Classic number 15 for me and I’ve never had a practice this bad. Seriously, this is the worse one ever. It’s bad. There are no two ways around it.
In some ways I might have brought this on myself. I could have titled this column, Be careful what you wish for…
I wanted it to be cold. I thought that would help me with my style of fishing. Well, it got cold, and the water stayed cold and it got muddy. Now, I don’t care who you talk to, most everyone will tell you that cold, muddy water is the toughest there is when it comes to bass fishing.
Over three days of practice I fished water between 2 inches and 28 feet deep. I fished channels, drops, grass and anything else I could find. (That’s the honest truth.) For my efforts I caught a grand total of 10 bass. Friday brought me three; Saturday I caught five and yesterday (Sunday) I managed to hook two. That’s not going to get it.
I will say, though, that they were the kind of fish I was looking for. If there had just been more of them, or if I’d been able to develop anything close to a pattern, I’d feel better. I’m just not dialed in. It’s like I don’t know what’s going on out there.
That creates a unique situation for me. If you’ve been reading this column, you know that I have a fairly fixed preparation schedule for the Classic. I use the first three days of practice to develop patterns and areas, and then I use Wednesday to expand on them. It’s a pretty good system that’s worked fairly well for me in the past. But that was then. This is now.
Ike’s on Plan B.
Wednesday will be a day for me to hunt bass. I suppose I could say I’m expanding. If you start from zero, anything above that is an expansion. It’d be nice if I even felt like I had something to start with, but I don’t.
The weather isn’t helping, either. I know it’s turning warm and that’s good for the fishing but it also means that what little — and I do mean little — I think I might know is going to change. All I can hope for it that I have a special Wednesday.
The scary thing about my bad practice is that this isn’t a normal tournament on a normal lake. You know, most of the time if you’re struggling to get bites you figure the other guys are having the same problem. But that’s not true here. I guarantee you that somebody has something figured out, and what they have figured out involves giant bass.
Oh, did I mention that there was a local tournament here on Saturday? They crushed them. That makes me feel better.