Elite schedule all about timing

Expect some surprises along with big smiles when the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule is released Tuesday, Jerry McKinnis said.

To provide some hints at what’s in store, the B.A.S.S. co-owner pulled out his master copy – six notebook sheets taped together. Hand-written on each, month by month, was the entire Bassmaster schedule – Elite, Open, Federation Nation and College events.

Masking tape covered the mistakes and moves, which were significant as he worked to make sure none overlapped.

 “There was a lot to figure out,” he said.

He weighed his options of towns with big offers to hold an event, but in the end he opted for prime fishing at prime times, something he believes the anglers will appreciate it.

“On this, I really worked hard on being on really good lakes at the right time,” McKinnis said. “Hitting each place at the right time of year.”

McKinnis said he included several back-to-back events in a region to help the anglers cut down on travel costs and time away from home, and said he thinks the venues are a bit more spread out than they have been of late.

Putting the anglers on lakes at the best times also meant scheduling the Elite season to run into September, he said.

“It’s good to stretch out a little bit more. For the most part, we took off July,” he said, noting the Fourth of July and ICAST. “It’s too darn hot anyway. I like the fact we don’t have to fish in the heat as much as we have.”

Concerned that last season’s start was too heavy on sight fishing, McKinnis said this year there will be more variety, requiring the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year to be a complete angler as it will  test different fishing abilities.

“It is well-rounded and can suit a bunch of styles,” he said.

McKinnis didn’t want the surprise that harkens back to the early days of B.A.S.S. released just yet, but thinks he has accomplished a schedule that will please the Elite Series anglers.

“I think they’re going to love it,” he said. “The one thing that will hit them – these events are being held on these particular lakes at the best time of year.”

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