"What can I say? I couldn't have been more wrong," said John Crews after finishing 48th in the Blue Ridge Brawl on Smith Mountain Lake. "I really thought the weights would be heavier than they were. During practice I saw fish on the beds. With the weather predicted to get very warm and a new moon on the way, I thought that trend would continue. It didn't.
"Obviously, most of the guys who ended up near the top were bed fishing. But they didn't catch them the way I thought they would. I figured there'd be limits everywhere that weighed 20 pounds and more. I was wrong.
"And, to tell all of the truth, I didn't realize that smallmouths would play such an important role in the final result. I knew there's a good population here, but I thought largemouths would rule because they're generally bigger than smallies. They didn't."
Crews is right about being wrong. He predicted it would take 26 pounds to make the first cut to the Top 50. It took 23 pounds, 4 ounces. His Top 12 prediction was worse. Crews theorized it would take 48 pounds to make that cut. In fact, Aaron Martens claimed the last Sunday morning spot with 40 pounds even. (The top guy, Kevin VanDam, had 47-15.)
VanDam's winning weight of 61 pounds, 13 ounces was a good 10 pounds short of Crews' prediction of 70-75. And, his big bass prediction was short, too. James Niggemeyer claimed that honor with a 7-2 bedding female, not an 8 1/2 pounder like Crews thought.
He was right when he said the bass would bite a wide variety of lures. Despite the top finishers fishing beds, a number of anglers fished pre- and post-spawn bass with plastics, swimbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. They weighed respectable sacks for their efforts. They even did it off the docks and boathouses that Crews said would play a role in this tournament.
But he failed miserably with his anglers to watch predictions. He picked Ish Monroe and Russ Lane. Both had tough tournaments. Monroe finished 93rd; Lane was 61st.
Crews missed a number of important factors in his tournament analysis. There's no doubt about that. To his credit, however, he told it like it was, accepted full responsibility for his opinions, and didn't offer up weak excuses. He earned a grade of D+.