2011 Elite Series - Power-Pole Citrus Slam St. Johns River - Palatka, FL, Mar 17 - 20, 2011

A great start!

2008 Classic champion Alton Jones

It felt fantastic to start the season off with a Top 10 finish on the Harris Chain. This is in stark contrast with last season when I went through the whole campaign without making a single final-day cut.

That was hard for me, because in 2009 I made half of the cuts! So, to start out like this gives me a lot of momentum and confidence, and it keeps my goals alive. The main ones are staying in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race down to the end and making it to the Classic.

I'm now at the St. Johns River, and just wrapped up the first practice day. This set of circumstances is a bit unusual for the Elite Series. Why? Because we're predicted to have stable weather throughout the entire event! In practice, I'm usually looking at the long-range forecast and thinking about what I'm going to do when a cold front comes in or when the wind blows or when it rains. This time, I don't have to fit in all those scenarios. I can pretty well just deal with the patterns that are developing in practice and stick with them. That's a luxury, and it lets you focus on one or two things and explore them.

This should be a fun tournament. I don't know if I've ever seen as many beds on any lake in my life as there are on the St. Johns River right now. They don't all have fish on them, but when you get in the shallows and start looking around, you realize how many fish this place has.

These fish have been on the beds for a while. You can tell we're nearing the end of the spawn because they're super-spooky. It's going to take a lot of patience. Guys are really going to have to figure out a trick to make some of the bigger fish bite to have success. Usually, a lot of the fish are dumb and they're aggressive, but as you get later into the spawn, sight fishing becomes more difficult, and that's where we are on the St. John's right now.

Hopefully, next week we'll have some more updates on the river, and we'll look ahead at Pickwick, too.

Little Alton and his fishing partner David Ridley managed 18 pounds at Lake Amistad, which wasn't in the money, but they're still leading the Angler of the Year points race with Bass Champs, they just don't have as big of a lead as before. They've got their work cut out for them with two events left. One is at O.H. Ivie and the other is at Choke Canyon. Both should be tough events, and to do well you've got to put yourself in position to get big bites.

Finally, I want to extend my heartfelt prayers to our Japanese fishermen and to the whole country of Japan. They're dealing with an awful lot of bad stuff right now. I want them to know that the Jones family is praying for them and for God's healing to take place in their country and lives. 

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