The best practice is no practice

Ordinarily, the old saying, "practice makes perfect" holds true. However, just the opposite was true yesterday on Table Rock Lake. The only two pros to top 15 pounds on Day 1 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship didn't practice a lick.

Leader Mark Rose of West Memphis, Ark., did that on purpose.

“Table Rock and all these Ozarks lakes are very conditional,” he said after weighing 15 pounds, 9 ounces. “The patterns are textbook, very black and white. You catch bass in shady areas during sunny conditions, on moving baits under cloudy skies.”

“I don’t like pre-fishing these conditional lakes. The fish are going to move and patterns are subject to change on a daily basis, especially in the fall.”
Added Rose, "I’m the most instinctive fisherman that I know of. It’s what I like to do the most.”

Caleb Sumrall of New Iberia, La., took "instinctive fishing" to another level Thursday and weighed-in 15-1. Sumrall planned to practice, but first an illness then boat mechanical issues limited him to practically no practice. When Sumrall's engine shut down shortly after takeoff, he was allowed to switch to his co-angler, Will McNutt's father's boat. Since Bill McNutt also competes in the Opens and had GPS waypoints saved in his electronics, by rule, Sumrall could use only the depth-finder.

Talk about relying on your instincts. In Sumrall's case, it might also be called flying by the seat of your pants. At the end of the his day, which didn't start until 9 a.m. because of the boat issues, Sumrall realized his problems had actually been a blessing.

"I think it was meant to happen," Sumrall said. "I was going to do a little of what I did (Thursday), where I caught my fish, but I can't say I was going to do it forever."

Weather conditions today call for cold rain and clouds - just the opposite of yesterday's warm sunshine. We'll see who does the best job of "instinctive fishing" today.