Going into my first Bassmaster Classic since 2006, I wasn’t really sure what the Guntersville bass would be doing. This time of year is typically very volatile, and February of 2014 was no exception. We had cold weather, snow, rain and then a warming trend. I knew that certain lures would probably dominate – specifically a lipless crankbait and a chatterbait in the grass, along with a jerkbait – but with water temperatures in the 40s, everything was subject to change at a moment’s notice.
Since I’d been there for pre-practice in December, a lot of the grass had died off as a result of the exceptionally cold winter. The majority of the grass that remained was in the backs of the creeks, an area that the fish typically don’t frequent this early. There were some fish still out on the main lake, but they weren’t relating to anything in particular, and without being able to use the Alabama Rig I felt that they’d be tough to locate and pattern.
Despite that fear, I still forced the issue and fished out on the river for two days of practice. I knew that’s where the real giants would be caught, but I couldn’t really get anything going out there and things were changing so fast that I had to locate a reliable population of fish that I could track. The backs of the creeks had numbers of fish and plenty of good ones, just not the absolute giants.
It was important to come out of the gates strong, and not fall too far behind the first day, so I started on a main river spot and had three bites there before heading to the back of a creek which had some of the thickest milfoil around. I got in there with a black and gold XCalibur XR75 one-knocker and went to work. Fishing it on a 7 foot Carrot Stix rod and a Team Lew’s baitcasting reel spooled with 16 lb. Toray fluorocarbon, I could feel everything that bait was doing, which enabled me to slow down my presentation and just tick the tops of the grass. When it would momentarily get stuck in the grass, I’d free the bait with a quick snap of the rod and often that’s when the bites would come. read more…
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- Day 2 on Lewis Smith Lake -
Totally different weather conditions from yesterday. Today was sunny, warm and very few clouds. BUT I managed to weigh in the exact same weight as yesterday for a total of 23-2. That’s a first for me. Not enough to make the cut, but it probably put a little scratch in my pocket.
- Day 1 on Lewis Smith Lake -
Well today was not a blowout, but if I had managed to catch the fatty that spit my bait out, I might be sitting in the top 10. Although 42nd is not a bad start, but with 11-9 I need to load the boat to make the cut – completely doable. I’m first flight in tomorrow.
- Practice on Smith -
Talk about a weather swing – it has been quite The rollercoaster ride with below freezing temps again this morning. By the end of the week we should be back into the 70′s. Practice has been going faily well. We’ll see what shakes loose in a few days.