Reflection and analysis

Approaching the end of a Bassmaster Elite Series season is always a time for reflection and analysis. Thankfully, I’m sitting in good shape for a Bassmaster Classic qualification, but I’m not where I would like to be in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points.

I’m currently in 21st place and, although I’d rather be higher, there’s not a big spread at the top. So with a couple of slip ups by the leaders and a couple of good events on my end, things can turn for me. 

The remainder of the season definitely holds the potential for me to have several high-point events. I am looking forward to going north because I haven’t had many opportunities to fish for smallmouth this year. We got some at the Classic, but they’re a little different on the Tennessee River, so these northern venues will be an enjoyable change of pace. 

However, as much fun as this will be, there are some unpredictabilities. There are no guarantees, but I like this type of fishing, so my confidence and enthusiasm will be high.

The other thing I like about the northern swing is the diversity. Much of this season has been centered around the southeast region where the majority of the Elite field lives. So ending the year with these northern events might shake things up a bit. 

As far as fishing tactics, I haven’t done as much finesse this year as I typically do. So I’m looking forward to using a spinning rod more often on, at least, two of the northern events. 

Cayuga’s mainly a largemouth fishery, but the St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Clair will be predominantly smallmouth events. The bottom line is that, for Bassmaster Elite anglers, a spinning rod is going to become one of your best friends here really soon.

I’m particularly excited about using a new dropshot bait called the Smallie Smasher from Big Bite Baits. It has a compact profile and a ribbed surface for extra water movement. I’ll fish that bait on a medium Phenix rod with an Ardent spinning reel with a good drag system because I’m using light line — either 8-pound Seaguar Invis-X or Tatsu. 

Now, the key thing to remember about the Northern Swing is that it is incredibly important to remain consistent. If you stumble, you can’t recover from a bad day because the weights will be so tight. Everyone will catch them from one end of the field to the other.

If you catch 12 pounds one day, you really can’t come back from that because you can’t catch a 30-pound bag on these fisheries. You might catch 20-25, but since you don’t have the big bite factor that you have on largemouth fisheries, you want to stay in the game every day. One bad day up north and you can really be out of it.

There are some fisheries you can be up one day and down the next and still win, but you don’t have that option up north. You really have to be much more steady. 

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