With over half the season behind us, I have to say I'm looking forward to climbing back in the saddle and competing on Clarks Hill. According to the guys who should know, it'll be very different from some of our other events, especially Guntersville.
For one thing Clarks Hill will fish big. I like that. Anywhere I can move from place to place while putting together a pattern is a place I can call home. I'm not saying it'll be perfect. No lake ever is. Still, it's something that I feel comfortable doing. I love to run and gun.
Another thing is that we probably won't catch as many bass there as in some of the other lakes we've been fishing. This is not a lake where you'll catch over 100 bass per day, and it's not going to produce a winning weight of 100 pounds or more. That's OK with me. I'd just as soon the weights are down a bit.
Mixed in with all this is my past record on Clarks Hill. In 2008 when we fished it I finished fourth. In 2006, the year Davy Hite won, I finished 50th. Those are two very different performances.
Both events were held at about the same time of the year — early May. This year we're visiting a little later. Given the tough winter we've had that may mean that the patterns and winning strategies will be similar. The lake has a couple of extra weeks to warm and get into a normal springtime pattern.
But, that's not a guarantee. The past can fool you. The fish may be behaving differently. They know about Mother Nature, not our calendar. Things like local nighttime temperatures and the amount of sunlight a lake gets can make a world of difference.
We'll know the answers to all this in a few days. In the meantime, it's a matter of practicing hard and building on your knowledge of the lake one hour to the next until you know what's going on. There are no shortcuts in this business.
Remember, it's all about the attitude.