Check your spots please.

How do you use your last practice day before the Classic?

About the author

John Crews

John Crews

Virginia pro John Crews is a nine-time Classic qualifier and is a one-time Bassmaster Elite Series champion.

With all the hype, anticipation, and butterflies surrounding the biggest bass fishing event of the year, how do you use your last practice day before the Classic? You pre-practiced a couple months before off-limits. You prepared during the off-limits. You fished as hard as you could for the three-day official practice period about a week before the tournament. Now anglers have one more day, the official practice day. It is always on Wednesday with the Classic starting on Friday. What do you do?

That is the golden question. It is different for everyone. It is different every year for the same angler. An angler may want to try a new area or rule out one of two areas. Sometimes you may find an area so good you have to check to make sure they are still there. Some pros try to psyche out their competition. They try off the wall stuff and make sure others see them doing it. Some anglers just ride around and see where everyone else is fishing. The list of options goes on and on.

In my Classics, I have used a number of different approaches to my last official practice day. In my first Classic we could fish a number of pools around Pittsburgh. I fished a pool to rule it out. In the Toho Classic, I was looking for bedding bass since that is how I thought I could win. In the Hartwell Classic, I was just checking the areas I planned on fishing. I fished near places I wanted to fish and caught a bunch of fish.

With all the practice days for pros and the world's best amateurs that qualify, why do they need another day to practice? The last practice day is really for everyone else, not the anglers. Sure, some anglers learn things that help them or need some more time to figure something out. The last practice day is really for BASS, the media, the volunteers, and the police. What, the police?

Everyone except BASS and the pros, don't do this all the time. The countless volunteers need to know where they are driving their contender's rig to and from the water. Even the anglers like to know exactly how the tournament days are going to go. BASS likes to make sure there are no problems with their plan for the big event. Even the police like to do a "practice" run on where they will be stopping traffic and making the sure the huge convoy of 50 trucks and boats gets to the lake.

Now that you know the real reason for the last practice day, it makes the use of that day by an angler on the water even more perplexing. Ride and look? Search for new water? Practice where you want to go? See how long it takes to get to your fishing area? Look at the water levels? You want to do everything to help your tournament but you do not want to hurt yourself. Most anglers just end up checking "their spots" because they can't stand not to.