This week will be my first Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open. It will also be the first time I’ve fished the Red River, the first time I’ve ever fished against the likes of the Elite Series anglers, and my first shot at a Classic berth. There are lots of firsts for me this week, and I’ve certainly been looking forward to it.
The Red River fishes the way I like to fish and that’s helped me find a few fish fairly quickly. I like to power fish, which for me means fishing shallow for largemouth. I feel fairly confident I can catch 12 to 14 pounds but it's going to take a lucky big bite to do much better than that. I’m not yet sure where I’ll place in the field based on the locations I’ve found. I, along with everyone else, will have to wait until the weigh-in concludes on Day One to see if my run is worth it.
And, man, it is a run to my spots. It’s going to be 1 1/2 to 2 hours one way depending on locking and my boat number. That leaves only about four hours to fish. But the good thing about the fish here on the Red is that they bite quickly once you find them, or at least they have so far. Four hours is a lot of time, as long as everything goes according to plan.
With a field of a couple hundred boats, I chose to spend my limited amount of practice time fishing a long way away from the ramp. My hope was to run farther than the majority of the field and put myself around fish that weren't nearly as pressured. It's a gamble but sometimes you hit on 18 and get a 3. Hopefully I'll be screaming blackjack sometime early on Day One.
You can check out how part of my Red River practice went here. That video was shot last week when I spent a couple days scouting the Red River before heading to Bull Shoals. In case you are wondering, I will not be fishing in the backwater from this video. If there's a winning stringer in there, it can stay in there as far as I'm concerned.
I'll fill you all in on exactly which baits and areas worked best for me during practice after the event with a post-tournament video recap. I'll be filming throughout the tournament as well and hope to have some great fish catches to share. Be sure to follow along on Bassmaster.com. We'll be weighing in at 2:30 p.m. CT on Days One and Two; hopefully, I'll be a part of the Day Three 3:30 p.m. CT weigh-in at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. There’s a lot of work ahead to take care of first!