It's just a little over a week until the guys launch their boats in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. What an event! It's truly one of a kind, the greatest show in all of bass fishing. But, it's still fishing.
A writer asked me the other day what single thing I thought would make the difference for the winner this year. In my mind that's a really easy question to answer. The winner will make a good decision when it comes to picking an area to fish.
That's obvious, you say? Every angler who wins a tournament picks the right area to fish. Not always. In some events you can make a bad first choice and still prevail. There are other options, corrections you can make, that'll get you back in the game. Sometimes it's easy to change locations.
But this is the Delta, not an ordinary lake. The running times are long from the ramp and sometimes even longer between good areas. If you try to change locations, you'll eat up the best part of your day running. Opportunities to correct a location mistake will be few.
In fact, as a practical matter, they don't exist. Once you commit to an area that's the place you're going to fish. Do it right, and you'll be in good shape. Do it wrong, and you're history.
The style of fishing in the Delta adds to the importance of picking the right spot to fish. Most of the bass will be caught flipping and pitching. (I know that one or two guys will develop a pattern that's different; they always do. Nevertheless, flipping and pitching into shallow water will dominate.)
That puts every Elite Series angler in the Classic into contention as far as technique is concerned. If there's one skill we all have, it's the ability to pitch and flip accurately all day long. It's what we do. When you think about it that way, you have to ask yourself, "What's left?"
The answer is location.
I don't think the weather will have much to do with my analysis, either. If it gets warm, and the Delta turns on, you'll still have to be in the right spot. If it turns cold and the fishing gets tough, it'll be the same. Running times won't get any shorter either way.
So, if you're looking to follow the action with your eye on a potential winner, watch and see who's staying put. If you see a guy making a second long run or moving around, he's probably in trouble and not likely to get out of it. That's my view of things, anyway. We'll know how good it is (was) a week from Sunday.
After that we'll start the Elite Series in early March. It'll be interesting to see if the Florida fishing holds up until then. I'm thinking it will, but you never know until you get there.