Day 1 of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro didn't go well for me. I caught eight keepers and the best five weighed just 9 pounds, 4 ounces. To make matters worse, I was a minute and 15 seconds late to check-in (all the no-wake zones slowed me down more than anticipated) and that cost me a 2-pound penalty. I'm officially in 38th place with 7-4. (The extra 2 pounds would have me in 24th.)
I had realistic hopes of at least 14 pounds — maybe 20 or a little better — but things didn't work out. With the late start, my day just flew by. I didn't get to fish even half the stuff I planned to fish, and when I did catch a few they were small.
The water was clearer that it has been recently, and the loss of the early morning hours cost me my best bite.
That's the bad news, and I'm facing it. The good news is that I don't think I'm out of this thing yet. I really believe I still have a chance … for a couple of reasons.
First, with conditions changing as quickly as they are it's going to be tough for anyone to really be "on" them all three days. What I think more likely is that the eventual winner will have a couple of really strong days and one day where he just hangs in there.
Second, I think I can catch 20 pounds on Day 2. If I do that, and repeat it in the finals, I can be right there — challenging for the title.
I honestly feel that I was around the fish to do well on Day 1. I saw a 7 pounder looking at my jig at one point. She just wouldn't take it.
My game plan for Day 2 is to cover more water and give the areas I found in practice a chance to produce. I didn't get to enough of them on the first day.
I think the cut to the top 25 anglers will be somewhere around 21 pounds. I can get there, but think I need back-to-back 20-pound bags to get near the top of the leaderboard. After my struggles on Day 1, success in this Classic would mean salvaging a Top 10 finish, but I haven't given up on winning just yet.
Don't give up on me. I can still get back in this thing!