One interesting thing about the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic is that there won’t be one main pattern that dominates.
You know, in most Classics there are two or three lures, thrown around similar places, that catch the most bass. But, because of the diversity of the habitat in Guntersville, I’m guessing that several of the top finishers will make their catches in very different ways, and in very different kinds of places.
I was amazed last month with what I saw down there. Keep in mind that when I scout a lake I rarely fish. In fact, I often lock my rod box so that temptation doesn’t get the better of me. I idle for hours and hours just looking at my Lowrance screen.
That can be painful. As much fun as it is to use electronics like I have, it can also be painfully boring to stare at them all day long. Let’s face it, we’re anglers. We want to catch fish. Looking at the bottom and sides of a lake is not what we’re about.
The thing is, though, it’s necessary and it helps you later in a couple of different ways. The first thing is that I found changes that I didn’t know existed. Now, if you follow my fishing and this column, you know that’s what I’m looking for most of the time. I want a change of some sort or another so I’m a happy camper in that regard.
The other thing it does is prepare you for the three official practice days just before the Classic starts. My thoughts about that are somewhat controversial but I stand by what I believe. They are critically important if you use them wisely.
By that I mean you have to integrate what you found in December with current conditions. That’s why it’s so important to spend all your time watching your electronics when you visit the lake. You have to know everything that’s out there so you can spend your practice time in the most productive areas.
The weather might be warm, or it might be cold. The fish might be in their winter haunts, or they might be moving towards the beds. (I don’t think bed fishing will play a big role in this Classic, although there might be a few on the beds.) And, you never know about the water — clear, stained, muddy, low or high. You can’t be prepared if you haven’t done your homework.
It’s also possible, more likely probable, that there will be some of all of the above.
Taking all of this together, you’re going to have an event that allows anglers to use a variety of different approaches, and one that allows them to fish to their individual strengths. Think about that. Several dozen of the best competitive bass anglers on the planet, fishing the way they want to fish, on one of the best bass lakes in the world.
Like I said before, this time it’s for real.
Next week I’ll give you my thoughts about the local angler vs. visiting angler thing. That’s going to be a big deal in February. A lot of the guys know a lot about Guntersville.