Here’s what’s great about the Bassmaster Classic and bass fishing in general: nobody really knows what’s going on until they know.
What I mean by that is, surely at least 40 of the 53 anglers that will take off from Wolf Creek on Friday morning will have a plan in place that they think could win the Classic. If they don’t, then they should just hang out at the dock.
But how many of those will pan out? After Day One, maybe 10 guys will have a legitimate shot at winning it all, and maybe five (if we’re lucky) after day Two. That’s a significant percentage who thought they knew what was going on but didn’t.
It’s the unknown that makes this sport, and in particular the Classic, so exciting to watch. It’s you vs. the other competitors vs. Mother Nature.
When the 49ers lined up against the Ravens a few weeks ago, they pretty much knew what they were getting into. When the Daytona drivers fire up their cars on Sunday, they pretty much know what they are getting into.
Sure, there are things that happen that change the game within the game, but that’s just sport. The track would have to change shape in the middle of the race for it to add a third piece comparable to what bass fishing has in Mother Nature.
For example, two of the best anglers in the sport came back with this assessment of last week’s practice on Grand Lake (paraphrased):
Chris Lane:There aren’t many fish, but the ones that are there are big. There’s going to be a lot of running around. Each spot holds a couple of good-size fish, but once they’re in the boat, it’s probably time to move on. You’ll need to cover a lot of water.
Aaron Martens: There’s a lot of fish to be caught, but not a lot of size. It’s hard to cover a lot of water in practice because winter fishing is slow fishing.
The full picture becomes pretty clear (sarcasm) when you add their practice reports to what we know from The Livewell episode where Zona said it would be jerk baits – and KVD said it might be jigs – and then swimbaits … Gotcha.
Of course, we need to factor in the sandbagging and secret-keeping that goes on with these guys, but it’s not the conflicting reports that make this such an interesting sport; It’s the fact that they could all be right.
Lane, Martens, Zona, VanDam – everything they said could be correct. You have to factor in style, timing, preference, Mother Nature and about 100 other things.
And who’s to say an angler won’t slow down and fill out an easy limit in the morning fishing a jig, then put a couple nice culling bass in the boat while jumping points with a jerk bait around lunch, and finish the afternoon off with a kicker fish on a swimbait? The track is always changing.
Any combination of everything everybody is saying, can and probably will win the Classic. Nobody really knows what’s going on until they know.
It’s like these anglers (and fans) are given a 100-piece puzzle to put together but there’s no picture on the box and nothing but white on the pieces. We can all guess – and even at times feel like we know how it goes (and even sometimes be right) – but until we have the full picture, which usually shows up on Sunday night in a sea of confetti, we don’t know.
It’s at that point, with the picture in hand, that we all put together what really is a pretty simple 100-piece puzzle and utter a common refrain:
I knew it.