NEW ORLEANS, La. — In the words of Matt Herren, the last three days have been nothing but a "wasted practice." Don't think that the 50 Classic contenders have not done anything meaningful since official practice began Friday, but the last two days have not been a traditional practice.
Normally, an angler will find spots where the fish are biting, locating the best areas with concentrations of fish.
Not this week on the Louisiana Delta. "The guy who wins will either figure them out next week, or he did in December," Herren said. "The fish are going to flood into places they haven't been.
All I'm trying to do is familiarize myself with some areas right now." Herren noted that under the current conditions of low tide and cold water, the bass on the Delta can be like "ghosts" -- gone until conditions reverse. Not even the fanciest tricks can help an angler under these conditions. Aaron Martens was much in agreement after the last few days of futility.
Anglers had hoped that warmer overnight temperatures would help on their third day of searching, but the blanket of frost that covered most boats and trucks put an end to that. Daytime highs in the 60s will help, but it's the warmer nights later in the week that will really make a difference. Martens and the rest of the field have to get creative with what they can accomplish on their third day on the water.
"There's nothing that you can do right now," Martens said. "You can't get bites, so it's kind of pointless.
I'm just trying to familiarize myself with a few good looking sloughs, but I don't know if the fish are going to be there." As the week goes on, adjustments will be important, but that can be difficult if anglers are not able to follow the fish or find the fish to begin with.
"When the tournament starts up, the water will probably be 10 to 15 degrees warmer," Martens said. "They might be spawning, but I don't know where they spawn here. This time of year, the fish are hard to locate." The trouble anglers have had the last few days makes Wednesday's final practice day all the more important.
Shaw Grigsby knows this, and plans to make it more than just another day to break in his engine. "Things are going to change, making Wednesday all the more important," Grigsby said. "Usually it's a look-around day, but this year, it is going to be serious.
For now, I'm just trying to find better fish. Every day you are getting a little better feel for the fishing." Dean Rojas had the same mindset as Grigsby and was planning on even rechecking a few areas that he fished under colder conditions Friday. "Today might be a day to recheck some stuff since conditions are getting better and the water is warming up," Rojas said.
"I'm still looking for areas the fish will come to as opposed to where they are. I'm excited for all this to change. "We are still a week out and a lot can happen in a week."