High tide, low tide

Several people in our industry have been hit hard by misfortune lately. Holly and I want to wish everyone the best as they deal with their losses and with their health issues. We’re praying for all of you.

The Delaware River is something else. I’m a Florida guy, so I’ve fished my share of tidal waters over the years, but I’ve never seen anything like this. The tidal movement is around 7 feet twice a day. That’s more, a lot more, than I’ve ever seen anywhere else. The full moon is next Monday, too. For those of you who aren’t familiar with tides, the full moon always makes them higher and lower.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that this tournament presents several unique challenges. First, you have to have your timing down to just a very few minutes. You must be where the fish are when they are there, but you only have a few minutes—an hour or so—on either side of that window to catch them. Solid, last-minute decision making will be very important later this week.

Another thing is location. You might be in a spot where the water is rising or falling very rapidly but upstream 10 miles it hasn’t started moving at all. Downstream 10 miles, though, it might be almost as high or as low as it’s going to get.

You have to know what’s going on with the river at all times. That’s a lot to think about and work into your strategy while you’re trying to catch winning bass. Make a bad decision, stay in one place too long, not stay long enough and you could be left high and dry—literally.

I’m not so sure right now about the fishing. It seems like when I catch one it’s either a 2-1/2 pounder or it’s about 10 inches long. I’m not finding much of anything in the middle. That’ll be OK if I catch five of the bigger ones each day.

This will be a tournament where we have to put our heads down and grind it out. It’s going to be tough, professional bass fishing at its best, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think the guys with tidal water experience will definitely have an advantage. That doesn’t mean the other guys won’t be competitive, though. Everyone in the Elite Series knows how to catch bass.

Once this one is in the bag we have a week off and then it’s off to Cayuga Lake for the last Elite Series tournament of the year. There’ll be no tidal issues to deal with there. That’s for sure. And then, later in September, will be heading to Michigan for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year competition.

This is a business that never seems to slow down. There’s always something going on, something on the horizon, something that keeps us hopping. That’s a good thing. I like to be busy, although I do have to admit that I like my downtime, too.

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.chrislanefishing.com

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