Even though I’m a Florida native I’m excited about the turn north we’re about to make. There are a number of reasons for that but the most important is that it’s fair to everybody. We’ve fished for green bass. Now it’s time to chase the brown ones.
I say it’s fair because it gives some of the guys who struggled early in the season a chance to do their thing, a chance to fish their specialty. That could have a serious impact on the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
As I see it there could be a real shakeup in the points before it’s over. Some of the names that are at the top right now are relatively new and it’s tight. Guys further down the list could easily have three decent and consistent tournaments and move right up into the lead. This thing could end up being decided at the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship in the middle of September on Mille Lacs Lake up in Minnesota.
Beyond that, I’m excited to get out of this heat and miserable conditions. Just the thought of fishing in cooler weather puts the biggest grin on my face. I don’t care how long it takes me to drive up there.
After that comes fishing for smallmouth. I didn’t know much of anything about them when I first started as a professional, but after catching some I’m in love. They’re mean, grueling fish that don’t know the meaning of the word quit. They fight like crazy all the way in and then, just when you think you’ve got them under control, they make that one last dash at the boat. It’s bass fishing at its best. Forget the professional stuff.
It’s not all fun and games, though. It takes some serious adjustments to make things work up there for three tournaments in a row. The toughest one for me is bait selection.
I always thought that they liked smaller lures, but sometimes they’ll grab really big ones. I wish I knew the details of why and where. I’m a little uncertain about color selection, too.
And, you can’t go to those places and survive catching ordinary size bass. Don’t let anybody kid you. Smallies might have smaller mouths than largemouth bass but they grow plenty big, and we have guys who know how to catch those big ones.
The fortunate thing about my lure and tackle issues is that I have some of the best sponsors in the industry so I know I’m throwing and fishing with products that will catch them. I can’t tell you how tough it would be if I had to go with anything less.
Another adjustment that’s hard for me to make is fishing moving water. In Florida moving water means the wind is blowing. As a practical matter there’s no such thing as current. But up there it’s current every day, all day. You either learn to deal with it or you get to take the weekend off.
That’s my take on our turn north. I’d recommend all our fans follow the action closely. There’s bound to be some interesting changes in the AOY race and in who qualifies for the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’s Sporting Goods. You don’t want to be out of the loop.