The Classic: It’s new water to me

Things are getting better down here. I won’t go so far as to say they’re back to normal, but at least we’re at a point where we can start to think about other things. For me that means taking a look at the Tennessee River, Fort Loudoun Lake and Tellico Lake before the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods gets underway.

I’ve never been on any of it before, never even looked at it. It’ll be an experience…

My new Phoenix will be ready next week. I’ll pick it up and then head to Knoxville to break it in and look around before everything goes off limits. My looking around is a little different from some of the other guys, though. I thought you might find the way I do it interesting.

Before I go to the water, however, I’ll research things on the internet. That means looking at every photo I can find of the river and of the lakes as well as reading everything I can find about them. I don’t care where they’re from or what they show. I want to see everything. 

I’m also interested in water temperatures at different times of the year, predominate species in specific locations and at specific times of the year, water quality information and how much weight it has taken in past March tournaments to win. Local or national events makes no difference.  

Another thing is that I’m not a big waypoints guy. I like to ride and look. The problem with marking dozens and dozens of waypoints is that it can lock you in to where you fish in March. You get things on your head that affect your thinking, or you just go from one waypoint to the next hoping to find a big bite.  

The current conditions will govern how I fish. Marking waypoints months in advance doesn’t work for me.

I do want to be honest, however. If I happen to run over an isolated brush pile, a big stump or a rock pile, I’ll mark it because it’ll be hard to find later. And, if I run across a creek that looks good, and that’s hard to see from the water, I might throw a waypoint at its mouth just to remind me it’s there. But those things don’t happen very often. If I mark more than four or five places, it’ll surprise me.

Another thing that I don’t do is use paper maps. I rely exclusively on my electronics and on my eyes. I’m not saying paper maps don’t have a place in prefishing but for me they’re more trouble than they’re worth. I keep everything in my units on the boat and in my phone. 

You’ll note that I didn’t mention an iPad or a tablet. That’s because I don’t use them in my boat. They’re great, but I know myself. It wouldn’t be long before I laid it on the seat, forgot about it and had it blow out the first time I went up on plane or hit a wave wrong.    

That’s how I prefish or investigate new water. I’m not saying the same thing will work for everyone, but maybe something I said will be useful to other anglers. That’s the reason I write these columns.