You gotta fish the moment

Last time we talked about packing tackle for the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro and for the early part of the season. You’ll recall I made the comment that I was putting together a little of everything. There’s a reason for that and it isn’t that I’m a hoarder, although I am.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you have to fish the moment. The guys who win tournaments do that. Sometimes they do it on purpose. Sometimes they do it by accident. But they always do it.

The weather around the country has been horrible for the most part this winter. That’s especially true in places like Guntersville. The constant, and extreme, swings in temperature have played havoc with the bass. We don’t have to be on the lake to know that. It’s a given.

It would be easy to say that the fish down there are still in their winter patterns or that they are unusually deep for this time of the year. Based on that line of thinking, a fellow might pack lipless crankbaits and jigs thinking he had them covered. The guy who fishes the moment knows better.

A brief period of warming weather can do things to bass that you wouldn’t expect. With the days getting longer, the bass are looking for an excuse to move shallow. Who’s to say that a couple of really warm days won’t put them on a shallow crankbait or spinnerbait bite? Heck, it could even go topwater for a short time.

About the only thing an angler can do is be prepared for anything.

How far is the grass from the channel? What about shallow water and deep water? Where does the channel touch the flats? Where’s the rock? Is there sand around? What about the routes leading to and from the bedding areas?

I ask those questions — and try to answer them — for every part of the lake. And when I say every part that’s exactly what I mean. I do not concentrate solely on the major stuff. I look at the small stuff, too. In fact, for a tournament like the Classic, it’s the most important.

The idea is to know the lake. I study my maps and then overlay them with what I learned from being there before it went off-limits.

I want to arrive in Guntersville later this week with no preconceived ideas about what’s going on. I want to “just go fishing” for the first day or two. When I see what all is happening out there I’ll make my lure and tackle choices.

That’s why I pack a little of everything rather than a lot of a few things. I’ve learned from experience that you can’t predict bass behavior two weeks out. Besides, if I don’t have enough of something I can always order it from Tackle Warehouse. They have a dynamite overnight shipping policy. And, because they’re out in California, you can order late in the day and still get what you need the next day.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,

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