Wednesday - final practice

Last week we talked about how I intend to practice during the first three days of practice for the Bassmaster Classic. Wednesday will be the final day and, depending upon what happened earlier, I'll approach it very differently.

Assuming that things go fairly well during the first three days, I'll spend Wednesday marking my trip back to the ramp and looking for a handful of quick-stop type places. Practicing my trip back isn't as simple as it sounds. I'll need to know several things when I'm done.

The first, and most important, is timing. I want to know down to the minute how long it'll take me to get back from anywhere I'm likely to be fishing when it's time to head home. That involves burning a lot of gas and making a lot of notes. The trick is to be able to make every last cast on my primary spot, but still allow enough time to get back.

I'll try to account for high winds — always a possibility — as well as other boats and maybe an alternative route or two should something happen to my primary route. This Classic will probably be won by ounces. The winner will have his game plan down pat.

While I'm marking those routes, I'll be looking for good fishing spots along the way, especially any I can find close to the ramp. If things are going my way, I should have a few minutes — maybe five or six — extra before I have to check-in. That'll give me time for a quick cast or two.

If I can find one or two spots that the other guys don't know about that'll give me one last chance to cull before the bell rings. That might be all it takes to secure my second Bassmaster Classic title.

That's only the scenario if things go well the first three practice days. If they don't, then I might be forced to spend Wednesday looking for another primary area to fish. I don't even want to think about having to do that, but it's always a possibility.

Should that happen, I'll ease up on all the route planning and just try to find winning fish. I mean, if I don't have the weight to win, why worry about all the other stuff? It won't do me one bit of good to be back if I have half the weight I need. I'll fish longer and take my chances with the clock.

Some of you might think this sounds a little technical. But when you're fishing a Classic against 50 of the best competitive bass anglers on the planet, you have to manage your time down to the minute. One mistake — no matter how small it may seem at the time — can come back to bite you in the butt.

That's enough about the Classic. Next week we'll talk about Hatcams ( and what they can do for your fishing.

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