The 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods is settin’ up nice, and I couldn’t be happier.
The last four or five out of the last six Bassmaster Classics we’ve chased the weather, cold and wind mostly. I’m not complaining. We’re professionals. We fish what’s given to us and make the best of it. However, it’s still a fact that we prefer good conditions, and that’s what we’re looking at this year.
If the weather forecast holds, it’ll stay cool through the middle of the week and then go into a warming trend during the three days of competition. That’s as close to perfect as you can get in this business.
I really like the lake. I haven’t done all that great during tournaments on it, but I have always had good practices and felt like I was around winning bass, or at least those that were big enough to be in the hunt.
My take on it is that it’ll be better than ever this year. It’s full of 3-, 4- and 5-pound bass. And, there’s plenty of high water and places to fish for something like 50 boats. It will not fish small. That means almost every angler will have a shot at catching them.
But, that doesn’t mean that every angler will have a shot at the win.
I’ve been thinking about that part of this year’s Classic. I’m pretty sure that one of our guys, the Bassmaster Elite Series qualifiers, will win the thing. That may not sound earth shaking, but hear me out before you laugh.
Anybody who qualifies for a Classic has the physical skills to catch fish and win. That is a fact. They proved that by their past performance. But not everyone out there has the mental skills to hang in there on the final day. When that day comes the guys in the hunt will need to stay focused and adapt to changing conditions under serious mental pressure.
Along with that there will be fan boats all around them and most of the fishing media wanting a scoop or inside information. I’ve never won a Bassmaster Classic, but I did win the Forrest Wood Cup in the summer of 2009. I can tell you it’s really tough to deal with all of it. Our guys will have a better chance of doing that than the others who haven’t experienced anything like it.
The second thing about this year is the weight. I’m guessing this’ll be a shootout. The conditions are there for one — lots of fish and good weather along with high-quality anglers. It won’t be a giant bass shootout, though, and that’ll make it tough on the guys who have a chance to win.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the top 10 or 12 anglers are separated by just a couple of pounds. That’ll put a premium on any one of them to fish clean and make whatever adjustments are necessary. That requires experience.
I’m not going to say anything about specifically who will win. I’ll leave that one alone. But I’m thinking it’ll be someone who’s name you recognize.
Maybe nothing I’ve said will come true, or maybe it will. It’s just what I’m thinking today. Either way, here’s the deal: We’re in for a fun week under the best possible conditions, and I’m ready to get it on!