2011 Elite Series - Pride of Georgia West Point Lake - LaGrange, GA, May 5 - 8, 2011

Gary Klein's Tournament Diary: West Point Day One

Get the take of one of the all-time greats as he shares his insights at each stop on the Elite tour.

Ken Duke
Now in his 32nd year on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, Gary Klein has a wealth of experience and history in major tournaments.

We’re here in LaGrange, Ga., to start the second half of the 2011 Elite Series season. West Point Lake is the site of the fifth event this year, and the folks in LaGrange have an absolutely beautiful facility for the tournament. I wish all of our sites were like this one.

West Point is a little on the small side for a tournament field of this size (99 anglers) and caliber, but it might fish a lot bigger because it’s got a gazillion little pockets and cuts that are definitely going to come into play.

We’ve got a 12-inch size limit for spotted bass and a 14-inch size limit for largemouths, and it’s going to be the largemouths that will make or break your tournament here. The winning string is almost certainly going to be made up predominantly of largemouths.

A lot of the fish are postspawn and there are a few — perhaps quite a few — big largemouths up in the shallows. I’ve seen some of them and fished for them, but I can’t seem to catch them. I’m not even going play with those fish once the tournament starts.

I’ve spent some time offshore and know I can catch a small limit of spots there. I’ve also got a largemouth pattern going. On Thursday, I’ll devote most of my time to catching largemouths. They’re the better quality fish.

West Point’s a beautiful lake. I’m going to enjoy my time on the water here. The upper end has some off-color water while the lower end is clearer; it’s not gin-clear, but it’s quite a bit clearer.

It seems that just about all of the good largemouths are shallow right now. Everyone seems to have discovered that because they’re all fishing shallow, too.

For the first hour and a half or so of the morning, there’s a big shad spawn going on. Shad are just everywhere in the shallows, so, naturally, the bass are there, too. This shad spawn could really be the deal for this tournament, but I haven’t quite figured out the best way to approach it, and I’m in the last flight on Thursday, so I won’t have a lot of time to work it out. The morning bite could be what separates the top catches from everyone else this week.

Ultimately, I have no idea what it’s going to take to win. I think a really good day for me at this point would be about 12 pounds. I wasn’t sticking many fish in practice, but some of them pulled pretty good. Maybe they weighed two pounds, or maybe they weighed four pounds. I just don’t know yet.

I’m just going to go fishing and enjoy my day.

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