Tackling Douglas

It’s Monday evening. I’m on Douglas getting ready to eat a fantastic dinner with Tony Chachere. (Actually, I’m staying with him.) The water’s cold — 51 degrees — and the weather forecast isn’t saying warmer weather until Saturday. If that’s the way it works out, it’ll be a cold water event. That’s a heck of a lot different than what we faced down on Falcon.

That’s something we might take a minute to talk about. Professional bass fishing is very different than fishing in the same part of the country most of the time.

When you fish one or two bodies of water in the same part of the country, you can follow the fish as then change with the seasons. If it’s the late spawn and you don’t get out for a week or so, you can figure they’re on the beds, or at least close to them. If you can’t go for three weeks or so, you figure they’re in the postspawn. That thinking will work for you all year long.

But when you’re fishing professionally, you go from one part of the country to another in just a matter of a few days. That means you’re looking for prespawn fish on the Sabine River, postspawn fish on Falcon and when you come up to Douglas Lake it’s back to prespawn.

Those kinds of changes require that you not only change tactics but that you change your mindset. You have to learn to fish where you are, and to forget about what happened yesterday or last week. It sounds easy enough when you write it but in practice it can mess with your head. Dealing with these challenges is part of being a professional. I’m not complaining, just stating the facts.   

The issue I’m facing right now is different. I spent a part of my drive up here and most of today trying to figure out a way to win this thing without throwing an Alabama rig. That’s possible but not easy. A guy has to give it his best shot, though. A win in one of the Opens is a guaranteed ticket to next year’s Classic. That’s something you can’t take lightly. Every tournament matters at this level considering the quality of the competition.

It looks to me like the best strategy is to throw jigs and Luck “E” Strike jerkbaits. I’m thinking that they’ll produce some quality prespawn bass that should put a guy in the running come Saturday morning. That’s my hope anyway.

The nice thing about those lures is that you can adjust your presentation to what the fish want fairly easily. If they want it slow and easy, you can do that. If they want it fast and fleeting, you can do that, too. With a lot of the lures we fish, you can’t do that.

I’m not going to make any predictions about weight. That’s something that might be very different from last year. You’ll remember that was an Elite event so the Alabama rig wasn’t legal and we fished there about a month later. We won’t know for sure, though, until the weigh-ins start on Thursday afternoon.

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