Best tournament fishing schedule ever?

I’ve been fishing professionally for some time now. I’ve seen lots and lots of schedules from a number of different circuits. Some of them have been good, some not so good. As I reflect back on them I have to say that this year’s Elite Series schedule is the best ever. It favors no fishing style and tests everyone’s versatility. Every angler has been, and will be, challenged all the way through the eight events.

At times a schedule will favor one style of angling over another. Maybe several of the tournaments are prespawn, or perhaps postspawn or a couple of them might even be held when the fish are on the beds. That inherently creates a situation where a guy with a particular skill set can use that to his advantage — over and over.  

Neither B.A.S.S. nor anyone else does this on purpose. I’m not into conspiracy theories, and I’m not assigning any dark or ugly motives to anyone. It’s just the way things work out sometimes.

In truth, Mother Nature is mostly responsible for it. She can control the weather. We can’t. The problem is that bass are controlled by the weather. That means that the schedulers have to do the best they can with the limited knowledge they have months in advance of the tournament dates.

This year, Mother Nature actually helped them create a schedule that makes for a nearly legendary test of fishing skills. We started off in the Sabine River where the fishing was a little tough but conditions were right. The water levels were good and the fish were doing what they should be doing in the middle of March. Then we headed off to Falcon. Giant bass and rising water levels is all I need to say about that one.

Bull Shoals was our next event. Deep, clear water and fish pretty much scattered everywhere was the story there. We’re now on West Point and is it ever different than the usual. The water is up and there’s grass everywhere. Heck, there are even bean plants growing in some of the real shallow stuff. (That’s not their correct name. It’s what we call them.) Because of that there are prespawn, bedding and postspawn bass available.

Next week we’ll be on the Alabama River. From there we have a short break and then we’re off to the Mississippi River. She’s big, wide in places and offers plenty of backwater to fish. The bite can be unpredictable but that’s what fishing is all about.

After that we’ll finish the season chasing smallies up in North Country out of New York and Michigan. If I had to pick one or two favorite tournaments, these two would be at the top of my list. I’ll let you know which one is in first place after I know how I did.

That’s as fair a schedule as there ever has been. It tests every angler every step of the way. We should take our hats off to B.A.S.S. and to Mother Nature. They did a fine job; 2013 will set the standard by which other schedules are measured.

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