Become a knowledgeable fan, Part 3

This week we’ll talk about how to watch the weigh-in — what to look for and what it means when you see it.

The guy with the most weight is worth a look but so are some of the other guys, especially if they show you some consistency. The Red River is not a place where you’re going to see a 30-pound bag. But, at the same time, if you see a guy with only 10 or 12 pounds you’re looking at a guy in trouble.

Look for the competitor who weighs 15-18 pounds the first and second day. That guy is managing his fish. He’s adapting to changing conditions and that means he’ll be in the hunt on Sunday. He’ll probably be in the Top 10. If he’s within 4 pounds of the leader he’s capable of winning. Remember, the final day is tough. Everyone is tired and every inch of water has been fished. Little things make a big difference.

And look for the guy who says he’s getting bites and who says he feels good about his area and his fish. Most of the guys will be fairly honest about this. Even if they’re not, however, you can tell from the way they carry themselves and how they act on stage. It’s hard to cover up disappointment in a Bassmaster Classic. The stakes are just too high.

At the same time, pay attention to where they say they’re fishing. Some of them might have an area to themselves — that’s a huge plus — but most of them will be fishing in a crowd. Look for someone who’s doing something a little different to catch slightly larger fish, or who’s able to keep his bite going when everyone else is casting for exercise.

The other anglers will give you clues about this. Pay particular attention when you hear someone say that he wasn’t getting the bites but another guy was and that other guy is fishing just a few yards away. That tells you something is going on, someone has something figured out that the other guys don’t know.

This is really important. In fact, it might be the most important thing of all. Think back to when Skeet (Reese) won in 2009. He was fishing a community hole but he had a different approach, one that he used to keep catching them when the other guys were struggling. He won. The rest of us went home. Nothing more needs to be said.

One final thought: Beware of falling into the trap of thinking that rookie Elite Series Classic qualifiers can’t win. They can, and so can anyone else who qualified. We all know how to bass fish under the clock and we all have won big tournaments. The new guys aren’t afraid of any of us veterans. I know. I was once one of those new guys.

Next Monday we’ll talk about pressure and how it affects our performance on the water. You might be surprised at what I have to say.

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