Tidal waters are different each day

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Andy Crawford

I was in pretty good shape at the end of the second day of the Bassmaster Pro Shops Elite at Winyah Bay, and then along came Day 3.

My bite those first two days came from a spinnerbait. The weather cooperated the first couple of days with just the right amount of wind. It was perfect most of the time. And, even when it laid down and wasn’t perfect, I was able to catch a few on a plastic jerkbait. On top of that, I had the timing down on the tidal movements. I was able to position the fish according to what the water was doing. All was well in the Lowen boat. 

But when Saturday came along there was no wind at all where I was fishing. That put the spinnerbait bite to rest. And, when I fished the plastic jerkbait all I could muster was a roll, a splash or a jump around it. I have no explanation for why they were acting that way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. It was just happening, and I couldn’t stop it.

Obviously I’m disappointed. When you’re in the lead on Friday night you have to think you have a shot at the win. At the same time, though, I can live with how things turned out. To be honest, my biggest goal at Winyah Bay was to avoid a total disaster. I was a little bit afraid that it could turn out to be the nail in my coffin this year.

The thing about Winyah Bay is that it’s tough. Every trip — every day —  out there is different. If you expect to be successful, you have to pattern them fast and make changes in an instant. There’s plenty of bass there. It’s just that they can be tough to predict. I guess that’s true of all tidal fisheries, but that doesn’t make it all that easy to deal with when you’re fishing. 

I like places like that, though. They test you as an angler. It’s one thing to be accustomed to 25 bites a day like some of the guys are on their home lakes. It’s another to know that you’ll get five or six, at the most. The five or six deal tests you mentally. I’m used to that. The Ohio River can be a tough taskmaster. 

Another reason I’m not crushed by what happened is that I’m still in pretty good shape in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race — eighth place.The last thing I wanted to do was mess that up. I didn’t. That’s a positive in my mind. I don’t want to miss the 50th anniversary Bassmaster Classic next year. 

That’s the update for now. I’m going to work with my sponsors, plan for the rest of the season and spend some with the family until it’s time to leave for the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in early May. That’ll probably be the exact opposite of Winyah Bay.