Hackney: This time we’ll have to fish for them

Wow! In about a week the regular tournament season will be over. I’ve been thinking about that. It seems like it just started yesterday. They say that the older you get the faster time goes by. It’s beginning to look like that’s true. One day you’re getting ready for the Classic and the next day you’re starting to think about what might have been if only…

Don’t take that last thought as a complaint. I’ve had a good year and I’m grateful for it. This is a wonderful way to earn a living. I wouldn’t do anything else even if I had the opportunity.

I’m really excited about the prospects for a great event this week. The Plano Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair will be a little, or a lot, different from some of our other events. That’s because we won’t be able to graph the fish.

Lake St. Clair is basically a shallow bowl-like fishery. There are some humps and other types of structure but for the most part it consists of lots and lots of shallow flats with lots and lots of grass on and around them. We’ll have to find the bass and develop patterns to catch them with our lures. That makes for a very different approach to practice.

It’s also old-school and my favorite way to fish. As much as I use and depend upon my electronics, I have to say that actually fishing for the winning weight instead of marking it with my electronics is my favorite thing to do in a tournament.

We might be able to see some of the fish with our side views and with the better resolution on our straight down views, but if the fish are really buried in the grass they’ll be hard to find. As good as electronics are these days they can’t find bass hidden in and under stuff. There are still some things we have to do for ourselves. 

I’m putting this column together on Sunday before I’ve had any practice time so I can’t be absolutely sure about the grass but St. Clair’s shallow nature is a for-sure thing. It didn’t get any deeper since the last time we were here.

The wind is supposed to blow around for the next few days. That probably means power fishing will be the best approach. Throwing crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and other lures like them will likely have the best chance of catching the winning weight. That’s fine by me. I like to power fish.

Some anglers think this is the best smallmouth fishery in the world. One angler pointed out to me that most of the Great Lakes waters move through the area we’ll be fishing. He even went so far as to theorize that the water in Lake St. Clair completely flushes through every 24 hours.

If he’s right, or even close to right, that would explain why this is such a great smallmouth place. The nutrients that are always available to the fish would account for their rapid growth and big-fish potential.

This should be a good one. Make sure you follow all the action. You can do that right here.