I’m really excited to be fishing the upcoming 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Lake Conroe. Even though it’s in Texas the lake reminds me a lot of Clear Lake here in California, and fishing in the South in the middle of March is about as good as it’s ever going to get for a bass angler.
The word on Conroe is that it’s full of 3 to 5 pound bass right now. That’s traditionally been the case so I’d say the “word” is right. That’s not to discount the big ones, however. There are plenty of them around so we’ll see a few at the weigh-ins, and we might even see a giant before it’s all over.
My guess is there’ll be several 20 pound bags, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one pushing 30 pounds, especially on the first day when the fishing and boating pressure is lower than it’ll be the last two days.
A lot of us will be throwing big baits. Over the years they’ve caught more quality bass than smaller baits on Conroe. There’s nothing surprising about that because that’s pretty much true throughout the South. If you see some of us with heavy jigs, big swimbaits and long worms, it won’t be so much that we’re swinging for the fences. It’ll be because that’s what the bass want.
One thing besides the fishing that I want to make sure I mention is boat and observer pressure. It’s great to come out and watch us, but I’d like to respectfully ask that if you do you shut down your electronics systems completely. There’s no doubt that the pinging from them affects fish behavior, and just one fish can mean the difference between holding the trophy up or quietly walking away while someone else holds it up. Besides, there’s a better way to watch.
B.A.S.S. has a really good video stream called Bassmaster Classic LIVE that’ll put you right in the boat with the anglers who are competitive and who are catching them. There’s excellent reception all over Conroe. You’ll be able to see all the meaningful action in real time from the comfort of the show, your room, your home or the local pub. There’ll also be coverage on WatchESPN.
An advantage beyond the live viewing is the commentary. As usual Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona will stream their thoughts from the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo. They’ll be accompanied by Davy Hite, a successful Bassmaster Elite Series angler as well as our 1999 Classic Champion. These men know what’s going on, and they know how to tell you about it.
Want to know who to watch? I don’t have a clue.
I’d guess that the first day leader won’t be the winner. More likely he’ll come from out of nowhere. Maybe he’ll be in the middle of the pack the first day and then quietly, without much fanfare, climb up over the next two days. You also want to watch anyone who has a big bag the first day. That can make a huge difference in a three day tournament.