This year’s GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro should be one of the most interesting in recent memory, and we have Mother Nature to thank for that. As bad as the weather has been this winter, and as many problems as it has created, it could actually turn into a good thing for us anglers and for our fans.
In a normal year — if there is such a thing — we would expect to see a reasonably solid prespawn bite in late February on Lake Guntersville. But this year has not been a normal year. The weather changes around here have been really crazy.
One day it’s cold and snowy. The next day the sun is out and it’s warm. Maybe a day or two later is darn near hot, and then it turns bitter cold again. There doesn’t seem to be anything that’s steady or predictable.
The wind and the rain are part of it, too. Some days the lake is glass slick. It looks like a big mirror. The next day we see whitecaps out there. In between all of that there’s rain, sometimes heavy and nasty.
The only constant seems to be that the days are getting longer. The fish have a couple of minutes of daylight tacked on to the end of each day. I know that affects fish behavior by driving them shallow in anticipation of the spawn. But does it overcome the weather?
What all this is doing to the fish is a mystery as of right now. The lake is off-limits so it’s all pretty much a guess. We can’t think back to prior years, or at least I can’t, because prior years were not like this one. 2014 has been unique.
We’ll know more a week from this Friday but even then things could change dramatically before the tournament starts a week later.
It’s very possible that this Classic could be one where the anglers can all fish to their strengths. The lake just might have a good bite almost anywhere — shallow, deep, main lake, back in the creeks, the backwater areas, up the river, on the rocks, on the sand, on the wood, around riprap, or in the grass.
If that happens you’ll need to pay careful attention to current conditions and how they’re changing from one day to the next, or from one hour to the next in some cases. The bite could be anywhere and everywhere. One angler’s dynamite, big fish bite could change in a matter of minutes.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The big fish are still here. I don’t have to tell you what kind of weights a lake like Guntersville can produce when you have over 50 of the best competitive bass anglers in the country fishing to their strengths.
The 2014 Classic could be one that’s written about and talked about for decades. I hope so, anyway. I love Lake Guntersville and I love the Classic. It would be really nice to have this one go down as one of the all-time greats.