If I told you before the Bassmaster Elite Series season started this year I had something that would predict the winning and placing (second-fifth) patterns – and weights – for the Bassmaster Classic and every Elite event, you wouldn't have believed me. In fact, I wouldn't have believed me.
How could that even be possible?
Well, that's what happened this year with BassGold. Seriously.
A post-season analysis of the predictions run here on Bassmaster.com showed that BassGold predicted with an astounding 92 percent accuracy the winning patterns and weights of Elite events.
In fact, looking back, it seemed to be heading that way at the Classic, the first tournament of the 2012 season. BassGold nailed the patterns even down to the particular Red River pools, and it indicated the winning weight would be around 51 pounds. Chris Lane won with 51-06. Not bad!
If that sounds like BassGold is a prediction tool, it is and it isn't. In other words, it's not geared to predict tournament outcomes – it's a web-based bass patterning tool, and there's nothing else like it.
Using thousands of patterns (now 4,200 and counting) on hundreds of lakes (nearly 400 and counting) spanning 50 years (and counting), BassGold does several things. One is crunch data and display it in completely new ways, like bar graphs showing where and how to catch bass during certain times of the year. But that's not all.
BassGold users also can see short summaries of pattern details, by-the-month graphs of tournament weights, and can upload their own pattern information to benefit from the same groundbreaking BassGold tools. (More helpful and cool features are coming.)
BassGold is used by weekend warriors who just fish locally all the way up to Elite Series pros, at least one of whom won an event this year – on a lake he'd never fished before (but on a "water type" he has, which BassGold has proven is sometimes all you need to know).
Because of that fact and BassGold's pretty incredible accuracy this year on The Elites – a first in bass fishing – I sought out the opinions of two guys who have been following BassGold closely the whole Elite season: Mark Zona and Dave Mercer. Part of their jobs is to find out everything they can about an Elite fishery, and this year that meant tuning into BassGold.
Zona said, "I've been watching BassGold this year and it's simply amazing. It will eventually be a tool everyone uses.
"At the beginning of the year I wanted to see if BassGold was wrong. The pessimistic side of me wanted to prove it didn't know what it was talking about. But for the lakes we've been to, BassGold was dead on."
Elite Series emcee Dave Mercer added: "Week after week I was amazed how in tune BassGold was with what it takes to win. I honestly do believe that. I was blown away at how dialed in and how perfect it is. It's crazy!
"When I first heard about it I thought, 'Yeah, it'll give simple pattern info everyone knows.' But how in tune it is with exactly what technique it will take and the weights – it just takes the guessing out of everything, which is what we've all searched for our whole lives, if you ask me."
He added, "If I go to a lake for the first time, I don't go to a local and say, 'Can you give me all your good spots?' I try to find out predominant patterns and what area of the water column I should be focusing on. With BassGold, you don't have to guess or find a local and hope he tells you the truth. It tells you the truth every single time.
"Sometimes you may want to fight it, but I think you'll regret that in a tournament."