Congrats & Erie practice

This week we’ll talk about practice time and some of the factors we should consider when we’re planning for a tournament. Before we do that, however, I want to congratulate the Ohio team on their performance at the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Divisional presented by Skeeter and Yamaha on the Mississippi River out of Fort Madison, Iowa.

The team finished third. Like the article said, that’s not a win but it’s credible and shows that we can be competitive when things get tough, and they were tough last week. In the adult class, Bryan McNeal won our state with 12 fish that weighed 23 pounds, 15 ounces. And, 16-year-old Hunter Colwell, won the 15- to 18-year-old age group in the JWC.

Good job, guys! I’m proud of you. If I can help you as you move on this year, let me know. All you have to do is ask. It would be my pleasure.

Now, let’s talk about practice. I’m on Lake Erie so we’ll use that as our frame of reference.

In the Elites, we have two and a half days of practice. If you know the lake or river, that’s about right. If you’re new to a venue, that might be a little short. Basically, you need enough time to learn the water, find the fish and develop a bite. There’s no set rule for this. Spend the time you need to spend but don’t over-practice. That’s like over-thinking; it’ll get you in trouble.

Lake Erie’s different, very different. First, because of her size and depth, it’s impossible to “know” the water or mark all the fish. Given the acreage out there, you could fish every day of your life and not mark every spot that holds keeper bass. I’m sure there are millions of them. That’s obvious.

What’s not obvious is how depth factors into this. Here’s how it works: Depth increases the size of the venue. There’s a lot of shoreline water if you’re fishing shallow. But there’s a lot more open water away from shore. For every acre of shoreline, there’s a thousand behind you.

Under every acre of that water, there are scores of rocks, wood, steel, drops and other stuff. About all you can do is pick an area and mark it as best you can. That’s an endless task.

Most of us try to find a few spots out in the open — we need several in case our first choice gets crowded or something happens to our bite — and a few more sheltered areas in case the infamous Lake Erie wind gets the better of us.

At the same time, you need big bass spots. Ordinary keepers won’t get it up here. To win this one a guy will need several big bass in the 5-pound class, maybe more than several. Anything less and you’ll be an also-ran.

Think about these factors the next time you plan a practice. 

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