What if someone told you before last year's Bassmaster Classic we had a tool that would predict the exact Classic-winning pattern – and weight? And not only that, this tool would do the exact same thing for every Elite Series event that year?
I'm sure you'd tell the guy to stop licking toads and get some help...but this really happened.
The tool, or really a web-based app, is BassGold , which you hopefully have heard of by now (full disclosure: I developed it). If not, the short version is this: At BassGold's core is a constantly growing database of thousands of tournament patterns covering hundreds of waters.
BassGold launched in partnership with B.A.S.S. at last year's Classic on the Red River, where it correctly predicted the winning pattern (including the pools and baits), and Chris Lane's winning weight within 6 ounces. Then it was a pretty darn incredible 92 percent accurate over all the 2012 Elite events in predicting winning and placing (second-fifth) patterns and weights.
Dialing In To the Classic Pattern
That's impressive, but BassGold isn't a magic bullet – not always, anyway. It's closest to a magic bullet when it has data on a particular water body and similar water types (upland reservoir, lowland reservoir, natural lake, etc.) for the time of year you're interested in.
But when it comes to things like tournaments held in February on Grand Lake, there's little pattern info specific to that situation – because hardly any events have been held there at that time.
So to use BassGold to predict this year's Classic-winning pattern, we first have to take a look at pattern information for months around February. We'll start with March, for which BassGold has plenty of info.
The "Pattern Report" graph shows that more than 50 percent of anglers who win or place high (second-fifth) in March tournaments fish the shoreline. Cover-wise, its rock to win and wood to place. And for baits, spinnerbaits account for most wins (40 percent), jerkbaits are second-most-effective, and jigs third.
(Tommy Biffle, one of the local favorites to win the Classic, said without seeing the BassGold data: "A Rogue bite, a jig bite, a spinnerbait bite – that's how it'll be won.")
Worth noting is if you add in Grand patterns from November – which include a few ice-bowls – "shoreline" still dominates. Rock and wood become equally important for wins, but wood still dominates for second-fifth finishes. Spinnerbaits are still No. 1 though jigs and jerkbaits switch places. Crankbaits also come on stronger.