A little perspective on tough fishing

The Elite Series event at Georgia’s West Point Lake is going to be a challenge.

I’m writing this before the tournament begins, but I can tell you the fishing is as tough as we’ve seen all year. The bass are in that fussy, post-spawn mode and scattered. The lake is low and there isn’t much shallow cover. It’s going to be tough to trigger strikes.

The key to winning is finding big largemouths. I caught a couple of 6 pounders the first day of practice, but it’s gotten tougher. I know I’ll catch fish, but finding enough quality to win is going to be difficult.

But that plays into my style of run-and-gun fishing. Some guys might find a school of deep fish they can sit on, but I suspect those opportunities will be rare. It will be a pattern tournament in which you have to cover a lot of water and hope to run into a few quality fish. You have to know you’re not going to get a lot of bites and have to capitalize on each one. There will be little margin for error.

I’m not complaining. We’ve been spoiled by big fish events this year, so this will be a reality check. It’s good to have events like this once in awhile.

Besides, it would be difficult to complain about the fishing considering what the South is going through right now. While driving through the region earlier this week, I was stunned by the devastation I saw in Tennessee and Alabama that was caused by storms.

What I saw along the highway was mind-boggling, and my heart goes out to all the people who were in the paths of those horrendous storms.

Gas stations and motels were ripped from their foundations, huge trees were shredded into toothpicks and grass torn right out of the ground. A long section of heavy guardrail was twisted and tattered like a piece of tin foil along the road. The countryside was impacted beyond belief.

In comparison, trying to catch fish in a bass tournament is of little consequence.

I’ve got a job to do, though, and my confidence is bolstered now that I have a production model of the HydroWave on my boat for the first time this year. The HydroWave is an electronic feeding stimulator that produces underwater sounds of baitfish.

It’s a dramatic improvement over the Biosonics unit that is no longer being produced. It has a much clearer, omni-directional sound system and the head unit is smaller, about the twice the size of my iPhone. The speaker mounts on the bottom of the trolling motor head instead of on top of it.

The unit produces sounds of shad getting active or being eaten, and it really activates schools of nearby fish. I’ve seen it firsthand this week while fishing around spawning shad where bass and stripers are hanging out. It’s like ringing the dinner bell to get the fish fired up.

Of course, I still have to get the bass to bite, and that’s exactly what I plan to do this week.

Remember: It’s all about the attitude.

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