2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro
Lake Guntersville - Birmingham, AL, Feb 21 - 23, 2014

3 practice days and 10 fish

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.

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.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebookand Twitteror visit his website, Mikeiaconelli.com.

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