Handwriting on the wall

Last week I talked about the problems with trying to cull up with high numbers as opposed to running over numbers and targeting big fish. Well, Pickwick was the perfect example of all that.

The handwriting was on the wall. I went with high numbers. It helped in the sense that I finished high, but it hurt me on the last day.

I was catching huge numbers of bass during that tournament. Out of the dozens I was boating, I'd cull an ounce or two every so often. It wasn't a bad strategy as the tournament unfolded. I made both cuts and was looking pretty good going into the final day. I didn't have anything to complain about.

Then it happened. Sunday was shortened because of the weather. I was making a long run. I needed several hours of fishing time so that I could cull up. It didn't happen. My time was cut short, and it killed me. At that point I had no options. All I could do was put my head down and plow forward and try to do the best I could with what I was given. It was too late to change anything.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining or crying about my fate. This is fishing. It isn't a perfect sport. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. I mean, there'll be a day when the situation is reversed and I'll benefit from something like that. In fact, there have been days like that — plenty of them over the years. I'll live.

Now that I have that off my chest, it's time to take a look at Guntersville. Some of the guys are saying the weights will be down from last year. I'm not so sure. Our practice hasn't been what I thought it would be, but the weather is improving and this is one of — if not the — best bass lakes in the country right now. That means big weights. I don't see them dropping off much between now and Sunday.

I say that because we've all been here several times. We know the water. And we know how to fish. When you add in the good weather, it looks to me like this could be a serious shootout. It also helps that I know today's weights. (This is being written after Thursday's weigh-in.)

There were 40 bags brought to the scales this afternoon that weighed more than 20 pounds. That's a 4-pound average for almost half the field, a ton of fish by any measure. Unfortunately, those figures don't include me. I'm way back with 17 pounds, 9 ounces — a light 12 pounds off the pace. That's a lot of ground to make up in three days.

It's been done before, however. OK, maybe not in a tournament like this. But still, I refuse to believe it's impossible. Let's hope for the best.