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

Classic prep, part 1

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.

Over the next three weeks I’m going to tell you how I’m going to prepare for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. I’m going to tell you everything I do and why I do it. The idea behind this is twofold — let you see into my world and, at the same time, give you tips that might help you prepare for a tournament that matters a lot to you. Let’s talk theory first.

A lot of guys aren’t in favor of early Classic practice or of early visits to the venue. The theory is that a fishery is very different in December than it will be in February. They don’t want to arrive with any preconceived notions about what the fish will be doing.

I respect that line of thought. Some of the best competitive bass anglers in the world subscribe to it. But, I also disagree. I think you can visit a reservoir, lake or river anytime and learn about it. Now, note that I said learn about it. I didn’t say pattern the fish several months in advance. That’s where I think their thinking goes wrong.

And, there are other factors that enter into an early visit. One of them is to familiarize yourself with your physical surroundings. As I write this I’m on my way to Oklahoma. The drive is important to me. In February I want to know how to get there, how long it’ll take and anything else I can learn about my journey. I want to know about the toll roads, motels, truck stops, restaurants, gas stations and restrooms.

When I get to Grand Lake I want to know even more. Where the ramps are located, how far apart they are — both on and off the water — as well as all the other stuff I just mentioned might turn out to be critical.

The easier I can make my life the better I’m likely to do in the tournament. If I want a sandwich late at night I don’t want to be driving all over heck and back looking for a fast food restaurant. If I have mechanical problems I want to know where I’m at and how to get help. I even go so far as to locate hospitals and doctors. You never know.

So now let’s talk about the lake and what I think I’ll be able to learn about it this week.

First, I’m not going to be fishing. I’d say that only about 10 or 20 percent of my time will be spent holding a rod and reel. My time will be spent looking at my electronics. That’s especially important on a manmade reservoir like we’ll be fishing. The reason is because structure matters more on them than it does on natural lakes or rivers.

Natural lakes and rivers change with water movement. Think about the Louisiana Delta and the Red River. High water, current, tide and other stuff changes everything in them. Structure and cover that was there yesterday might be gone today. That doesn’t happen so much with a manmade reservoir.

Next week we’ll talk about why that matters.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter. Read part two of Mike's Classic prep here.

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