A good first day

I said yesterday that I thought this Classic would be different because you wouldn't need fish for three days. Honestly, when I wrote that I believed one good day would be enough this year. After today, you can throw that idea out the window. This will be a three day event. There's no doubt about that. The changes out there since Wednesday are dramatic and they matter.

Several writers have asked me what changed. Why are there so many limits and so much weight? The simple answer to that question is the fish. They're biting. It really isn't the weather, or at least I don't think that's it anyway. The fish have developed a brand-new attitude. It has really altered the way this tournament has to be fished.

I have some more detailed theories about what's going on but I don't want to discuss them at this time. After the tournament's over, I'll tell you what I think happened. It's an interesting lesson for all of us. Hopefully, my explanation will help you fish your waters should the same thing happen to you.

The trick now is to make sure I have enough bass to last for the next two days. I don't think very many of us anticipated having to do that. But this is a sport where adapting is the name of the game. You have to change with the conditions. If you don't, you're done. That's why they call it fishing.

As a practical matter my strategy will remain the same. I came here to fish to win, and nothing's going to change that. I'm still looking for the big bite. This is the Bassmaster Classic.

That said, I feel pretty good this evening. My total of 19 pounds, 8 ounces was good enough to claim the first place slot today. I'm in front. The key word in that thought is today, however.

This is the first day, not the last day. There's still a lot of fishing to be done, and things can change quickly. There are some really good anglers right behind me. They're on fish, too, so it's a long way from over. Anyone of them could weigh in a heavy sack tomorrow. Then everything would change.

Todd Faircloth is only 1 pound, 6 ounces behind me and he's followed by a whole bunch of top-shelf anglers, all within striking distance. They're the kind of guys who aren't intimidated by anyone or anything, and they know how to win tournaments. Like I said, it's a long way from over.

The good thing, though, is that I'm able to fish my style. I can fish the way I'm most comfortable. That's important. I've always said that you have to find your style and fish it whenever possible. That's the easiest — maybe the only — way to be successful in this sport.

I've got to go. I'm hungry, and after I eat I'm going straight to bed. I've had a long day of hard fishing and will have another one tomorrow. I'll write again after tomorrow's weigh-in.