It's crunch time

The baby panic is over. Last Wednesday morning, Vegas Michael Iaconelli was born. Becky and I couldn't be happier. In a couple of weeks, I'll devote a complete blog to him and how it all happened, but for now let's keep talking about the Classic.

I hope you understand I'm not going to go into much detail at this point. Much as I'd like to, I can't. This is a competitive sport and there's a lot on the line. Some things are best not said, or talked about, or written about. You never know who's listening or reading out there. I will talk about the weather, though, because it's important. In fact, it may be the thing that determines who wins this thing.

It's supposed to keep getting warmer as the week goes along all the way through the tournament. I have to be honest and say that's not what I was hoping would happen. I wanted to see nasty weather roll in, weather that makes it miserable to be on the water.

When I practiced, I mostly fished and explored by myself. I wanted to find my own areas and detail them on my own maps, my own notes and my own GPS. That's not what a lot of the guys were doing, however. A lot of them were fishing with locals who knew the Delta and could take them around and show them what was going on and what was likely to happen come February.

That's fine. It's well within the rules, and I have no complaint about it except that when you practice that way you have a tendency to be prepared for what ought to happen, not necessarily what will happen. That kind of practice will put you in good shape for a normal middle of February tournament, but not necessarily for an abnormal one.

An abnormal weather pattern destroys their advantage and hands it over to me and guys who practiced like me.

Never forget that in your own fishing. A tough bite diminishes the advantage locals have. Don't despair when bad weather hits if you don't know the lake. Welcome it with open arms. The lack of a "normal" bite pattern won't hurt you because you don't know what that is.

Now, I'm not saying I can't predict fish movements when everything is wonderful. Obviously, I can. I've fished for a while now, and I won a Classic here on the Delta. Still, I'd rather see bitterly cold weather, wind and a bite that comes along every now and then. A slugfest where the fish are on the beds, or moving up toward them, is not my idea of an ideal Bassmaster Classic.

The tougher the better is what I say. But, we don't always get what we want. This is professional bass fishing at its highest level. Regardless of the weather, I'll have to put my head down and go fishing. I welcome the challenge.

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