Classic prep, part 2

Last week we touched on changes, or the lack of them, in fisheries. I promised to talk a little about why that matters. First, let’s take a look at the seasons and the weather.

As long as the Bassmaster Classic is held in February we’re (anglers) going to have issues to deal with when it comes to the season we’re fishing and the weather. In February, in Oklahoma, we could be looking for winter bass, early prespawn bass or even fish that are a little farther along than that.

So the guys who don’t want to prefish are right if you’re talking fishing. But that’s not the idea. It’s more like scouting and mapping. Since I have no clue where the fish will be or what they’ll be doing next February it’s in my best interest to know as much about the lake as I possibly can.

I might need to know where the deep water drops along the channel are located. It’s just as likely though that I’ll need to know where the travel routes are from those drops to the spawning bays, and be able to quickly identify the places they’re likely to stop. Since I won’t know what I’ll need to know until well after the lake goes off-limits I have to put the basics together now.

This is not an easy thing to do. Grand Lake is big. It covers darn near 60,000 acres. Most of it is cold, deep and rocky. My GPS is full of waypoints and my paper maps are full of notes. I marked hundreds, if not thousands, of spots. Some of them will help in in February. I just don’t know which ones right now.

It’s also a lot of fun to do what I did. When you’re fishing you get caught up in the moment, the competition takes over. It wasn’t that way last week. We — my uncle went with me — were able to take time to smell the roses, look around and enjoy the experience of being in the outdoors. While we were doing that I saw something I’ve never seen before.

We were idling along when my uncle said he could see a fish flopping on the bank. It was at least 5 feet from the shoreline. I pulled in, got out and walked over to the fish. It was a 2 pound bass. When I looked closer I noticed it had beak marks on its back. I suppose a bird grabbed it but then couldn’t handle it and let it go.

I picked it up and put it back in the water. It swam away like nothing had happened. I’m thinking maybe my good deed will generate positive karma during the Classic. Maybe I’ll be rewarded with a 5 pounder somewhere along the way.

Another thing — Toyota showed up and filmed us for a while. That was pretty cool. I didn’t have a clue they would be there. I’ll try to find out what they did with it and let you know where to go to see it.


Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.