I'm telling you, today was tough. I had five keeper bites all day — five, and one of them shook lose! You don't win the Bassmaster Classic with five bites, at least not the five I had. I'm disappointed but I've fished as hard, and as smart, as I know how this week. It just hasn't gone my way.
Early on I fished a grub — it matched the forage almost perfectly — and had one bite. I really had confidence in it. It worked real well for me yesterday. Then everything died. Nothing was happening out there for me. I switched baits and presentations with absolutely no success.
Finally, out of disgust mostly, I decided to trash all my plans and to just go fishing. I had no idea where I'd end up or what would happen. I just started throwing. I don't usually do that. It's not my style, but I was out of options. There was no other choice.
I caught a couple on a shaky head and two more on a vibration bait (lipless crankbait). The one that got off was on the vibration bait. There's not much you can do about that. It happens with that style of lure. They're great fish catchers but they do sometimes let fish get away. It's a part of the sport.
When all was said and done I ended up with four keepers in the livewell. They weighed 12 pounds, 3 ounces. That's not a bad average. Three pounds per fish is pretty good, really.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the fifth one, and that's the one I needed to stay in this thing. That would have pushed me up above 29 pounds instead of the 26 pounds, 12 ounces I'm sitting on this evening. If I'd caught one more I'd be still in it, right where I dreamed of being.
You'll notice that I said if. That's a big word that boils down to nothing. You know what they say about frogs — if they had wings they wouldn't bump their butts on the ground all the time.
Considering the hole I'm in right now, about all I can do tomorrow is swing for the fences and hope for the best. I'm sure it'll take at least 20 pounds for me to pull this one out. Right now I'm in fourth place more than 5 pounds behind Jeff Kriet, Kevin VanDam and Todd Faircloth, in that order. Russ Lane and Tommy Biffle are breathing down my neck in the fifth and sixth slots.
You never know, though. A 20-pound bag is possible on Lay Lake. The fish are here; there's no doubt about that. It's been done before.
Of course, the other problem is that even if — there's that big two letter word again — I catch a heavy sack, the guys I mentioned would have to all stumble. A quick look at who they are and you'll quickly realize they're not the kind of anglers who are likely to do that. They're professionals.
And all that doesn't even take into consideration the difficulty of finding big bass like that under these conditions. I'll probably start in a couple of places I fished in practice but after that I don't have a clue when it comes to where to go, or what to throw, tomorrow. It'll be another day of just fishing. That's not much of a final day plan for the Classic is it?
Don't get the wrong idea, though. I'm not giving up. I admit to being a little bummed out but that'll not keep me from going out in the morning and doing the best that I can. I'll be a different guy after a night's rest. This is a Classic. You fish it all-out — no reservations, no regrets. Never give up!