Tommy Biffle had a tough time of it on Oneida. The weather changed, clouds moved in and the fish scattered.
"The storms on Thursday and Friday didn't really bother me that much. The fish were still biting," Biffle said after the tournament. "But the clouds did cause problems. The fish moved out from under the cover and were roaming around. I caught a few on a Senko, but that was about it for me.
"I think that bothered a lot of the guys. But, like always, some of them adapted better than others. They caught more bass than we did. I didn't adjust my pattern enough and paid the price for it."
Biffle finished a disappointing 16th, disappointing to him anyway. (All but 15 of the Elite Series anglers would have traded places with him in a New York minute.)
His weight predictions can be best described as a mixed bag. Before the tournament he thought it would take around 28 pounds to fish on Saturday with the Top 50. In fact, it took less than that.
His prediction for the Top 12 cut was almost perfect, however. He guessed 40-43 pounds would do it. When the time came, Bernie Schultz and Dave Wolak claimed the last two Sunday morning slots with 41 pounds, 6 ounces apiece.
His big bass guess was good, too. He said it would weigh 5 pounds or "maybe a little better" and predicted it would be green (largemouth). Alton Jones caught her; she was green and weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces.
Unfortunately, he missed the winning weight by a mile. He said it would take 50-55 pounds. "I think that'll do it, I really do," he said at the time. Dean Rojas bagged 20 bass over the four-day event that weighed 65 pounds, 2 ounces to secure his first BASS win in seven years. An error of a half-pound per bass is huge.
He did have the fish behavior right, though. He said every pattern would relate to the weeds. They all did, at least the successful ones. All of the top finishers keyed on weeds in one way or another.
Finally, his angler predictions weren't exactly wrong, but they weren't exactly right either. He suggested we watch Kevin VanDam and Aaron Martens. He thought either VanDam's power or Martens' finesse tactics would prevail.
Both fished Saturday but neither came close to making the Top 12. VanDam finished in 36th place. Martens was 27th overall.
Biffle gets a B- for his efforts. (He suffers no deduction for the weather. Even the weather forecasters miss it — frequently.)