The second day of the Bassmaster Classic brought some sad faces, some comic relief, and some very anxious anglers. Gerald Swindle brought 4 bass to the scale and wrapped up his day by saying, “The area I’m in is great, everything I need, there are no other anglers in this area, but there are no fish in this area either!” Gerald did say that, at the last hour, he found a nice ditch with his side imaging. Using SI to help pick it apart catching 4 good bass, but it was too lake and he needed more time.
There were those anglers that had found an area all too themselves and have been picking it apart slowly and methodically, and then those that joined the crown and circled small spawning grounds waiting for active bass to move in and feed.
Mc Dade has been home to no less than 10 anglers at any given time during this competition. On Day two Steve Kennedy came through saying that he got to watch the Dustin Wilks Show. “Dustin was catching them so fast, I just wanted to put my rod down and watch. I was very excited for him!” Other anglers reported seeing the Aaron Martens show at one point he seemed unstoppable. As the anglers picked apart the same area, it was more a matter of being in the correct location when the bass would move up. Aaron Marten has dropped all the way to 8 pound line. “With most of the cover being, straight, vertical stumps, once you get a hooked bass away from that stump it’s not that scary”, this in reference to a question on why risk the Classic on that light of line.
Several anglers have down sized their line. Saying, “It’s obviously not because of clear water! There is so much fishing pressure in the small areas that are holding bass; the light line is an effort to reduce spooking the bass.”
Many anglers believed that Kevin Van Dam was hungry for this tournament. He had several things on the line. First was to break the record for most Classic wins, putting himself above the current record holder Rick Clunn. Second was the chance to be the only angler to win three Bassmaster Classic titles in a row. Finally, the Red River has been a nemesis for him, in the 4 times he has fished it competitively, he hasn’t done well by KVD standards. With all this on the line, and his fierce, competitive nature, many believed KVD would come out swinging, and a first round knockout was possible. I spoke with Kevin some about why the Red River has been difficult for him to figure out. Kevin quickly replied, “There are several things going on right now; however, bottom line, I’m just not on Que. Because areas that are holding bass are so difficult to get too, a run, gun, test, move, style of fishing isn’t possible. You have to commit to an area and really feel it out and find the bigger bites.” Kevin talked some about how the smaller bass have really pulled up and are very catchable. He continued and said, “I wish after the front that moved through Friday, the conditions would have continued to be cold! This warming trend has the bass moving around quite a bit. With the nature of this river system, all the stumps and shallow water, it’s very difficult to keep up or make adjustments without costing a lot of fishing time.” Kevin talked about how the guys that are catching bigger fish, have areas that they are waiting for migrating bass to move to them. “I just didn’t find an area like this and I’m chasing them down, and it’s not working well.”
Aaron Martens has spent two days in the same area, “It’s beat, to many anglers, and we picked it apart today. I’m headed for new water tomorrow.” Aaron said that the area has fish and potential. However, with all the boat traffic and the quality of anglers beating on it for the last two days, “at this point I’m just not confident it can be won in there. At least not for me, I need a couple bigger fish.”
Dustin Wilks has been plugging away at the Mc Dade area along with the crowd. On day one, he had a crankbait bite that he felt was just different enough to produce throughout the competition even though the area was highly pressured. When I asked him about his pattern he quickly replied, “Today was a crankbait disaster. The wind quit, and it was dead calm in Mc Dade, topped off with blue bird skies. After watching Martens catch three or four fish, I was rattled. I gave up on it and left. I knew that, because the wind had died, I needed to get off the crankbait. However, I didn’t know what to switch too, I was frustrated. I had no confident back up, so I left Mc Dade. That lasted 15 minutes; I turned around, and went back.” Dustin put his gut to work and dissected the water with a variety of baits. When asked what he’ll do tomorrow, “I figured something new out that will play right into the weather conditions. I’m headed back to Mc Dade and see what happens. I’m very confident in what I figured out, and it will catch bigger bass.”
Josh Polfer said he was sight fishing shallow bass. “I caught 8 pounds in ten minutes, but that’s not going to cut it. It’s nice to have a quick limit, but this is the Classic.” Polfer is targeting bass in shallow water that he can see with a drop shot. “My fish aren’t bedding yet, but they are very close, I could see a few rolling in the mud.” Josh has reported seeing the highest water temperature of all the anglers I was able to talk too, fishing pool four Josh has seen 64.5 degrees. Most of the pool 5 anglers are reporting 57-59 degrees, but expect low 60’s today.
Poche, who was leading day one, is fishing Pool 4 in the back of Sulivan’s. Once to the back of Sulivan’s, Poche has a 15 minute idle to get to the actual waters he’s fishing. A pond that many of the local angers either don’t know is there or won’t put their boat through the beating it takes to get there. Poche said, “The bottom of my boat is ‘WRECKED’ it’s going to take some serious polishing to get it shiny again!” I asked Poche what he thinks about during this long idle each morning, “Just thinking about all those big fish in there that I’m going to catch!” Poche said he is catching most of his fish on a soft plastic stick bait, and following that up with a paca craw when he finds a bedding bass. Poche continued, “The bass are moving in here, with the stable weather, a 20 pound bag is likely! I can’t wait to get back to them.” Poche is sharing this water with Davy Hite, while its large enough for both of them, I’m sure each of them wished they had it alone.
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