I’m doing this one from beautiful Oneida Lake here in New York. This place is really nice. I’ve been here three times before, and I swear it gets prettier every time. It’s a great fishing lake, too. You can fish my style — Florida 101— or you can do something different and catch a bunch of smallmouth. Places like this are few and far between.
I was asked an interesting question today. A fellow wanted to know who he should watch and what he should look for if he made the drive up here to watch the tournament. I’d have to say that you should be watching the top three or four guys in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
They’re all having good years and they know that one of the most prestigious titles in all of bass fishing is on the line. That brings out the best in a competitive angler.
On the other hand, almost anyone can win this thing. The place is full of 2- to 2 1/2-pound fish. You can catch them all day long. And you can catch them several different ways. That means all the anglers can fish to their strengths. That always makes for a very interesting tournament.
The trick will be to see who gets the big fish, the ones that weigh 4 pounds or more. That’ll be another clue. If you see a guy who’s in the hunt and he has big fish, I’d say you want to watch him closely. Most Oneida events are close. One or two big fish can make all the difference in the world.
So, for the first couple of days I’d look at the top AOY guys, see who’s fishing to their strength and watch for someone who has the big ones located. After B.A.S.S. makes the first cut on Friday afternoon you can start to narrow down your choices pretty quick.
As for me, I’m here to have a good time, catch some fish and see if I can make the postseason. My strategy is really pretty simple. I’ll target a limit early in the morning right after the launch. If I’m successful catching five keepers, I’ll spend the rest of the day looking for a kicker or two.
That’s the best way I know of to make the postseason. I know I can’t win the AOY title, at least not under any reasonable theory, so that’s what I have to shoot for. Once I’m in, I’ll probably change things up a bit and go for the win. But, until then, I’m going to do what I think gives me the best shot of continuing to fish through the rest of the year.
Keep in mind, though, that everything I just said could change is a matter of hours. This is the Bassmaster Elite Series. The best competitive bass anglers in the world will launch on Thursday morning. Everyone has a goal that they want to reach, and they all have the skills to reach it.