OK, the first three days of practice for the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro are in the bag. Practice was an interesting experience.
I’m not going into the details of what I found for obvious reasons. I will say, however, that this practice might not tell us as much as we’d like. I’m not sure it matters whether we caught them or didn’t catch them. Whatever we learned might not matter much when the competition starts.
This is Lake Guntersville. It’s Alabama. It’s been a tough winter. The weather is warming. The fish are moving. If anglers don’t change, move and adapt they’ll go home early. No one in the Classic field wants that. Everybody wants to work on Sunday, at least on this Sunday.
Between Friday and late today I found water that had warmed almost 8 degrees. That’s a serious movement up. And, if we can believe the weather forecast, it’s going to keep warming. They’re not calling for any really cold weather at all.
That means developing a pattern a week in advance is going to be tough. Actually, it’s going to be darn near impossible.
I’m not letting any secrets out of the bag when I say the fish that are deep right now might very well move, and the fish that are shallow right now might not stay where they are. It’s the spawning season, you know. Things change overnight sometimes.
I can’t speak for anyone else but for me Wednesday is going to be really important. That’s three days from today. No doubt the water will have warmed even more by then. Of course, that’s still two days in front of the start of the Classic and four days away from the finish. That’s a lot of time, guys.
Based on what I saw over the past three days, and what’s being said about the upcoming weather, I will make two predictions:
This Classic will be won shallow and it’ll be won with a ton of weight. It’s late winter, the water is warming and the fish are moving around. I don’t see it happening any other way. The big ones aren’t going to stay deep under these conditions.
And, I’m predicting that the winner will develop his pattern throughout the event, not during practice. Our next Classic champion will find his fish during competition as the fishing unfolds. They’ll be in places that he didn’t fish during practice and he’ll probably catch them on lures he wasn’t using during practice.
It’s going to be interesting. It’ll test us as anglers to see how well we can adapt. It’ll be interesting for the fans, too. I don’t think we’ll know who won until the very end, on Sunday.
Overall, I think that’s a good thing. As anglers we (me) want stability and certainty. This is the biggest event our sport has to offer, though. If you look at the big picture, a little uncertainty is a good thing. That’s why they call it fishing.