The 2019 Bassmaster Classic, Part 1: The conditions, the choices

Mike Iaconelli

OK, fishheads, here’s the way the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’s Sporting Goods unfolded. It’s going to take me three or four blogs to tell it all in detail but it’s so important that I think it’s worth me writing that much.

And the Classic part of things is something that we all should take note of if we love the sport of bass fishing. It was a wonderful tournament that was put together with everything a top-shelf professional level should have and need.

So, here we go. . .

They had massive amounts of rain in the Knoxville area. Before we arrive the water was high and muddy in most places. On paper, that’s not a good thing, but, the way things turned out, it was a good thing! That’s because they opened the gates and created a lot of current, and, with the fish wanting to move shallow – – it was the prespawn — their location was an easy prediction to make.

I caught about 80% of my fish in to well-defined types of places. The first was on natural flat rock in something like 4 to 6 feet of water. Breaks and shelves in the rock created current breaks which the bass used to get out of the strong water.

And, because the fish were moving up and getting ready to spawn, the bite was ferocious. They’d hit moving beds if those baits were presented correctly. We’ll talk more about that in the next blog.

The second spot that I fished was in the backs of gravel and sand bars in 1 to 3 feet of water, and again that’s where I found current breaks that gave the bass, both large mouth and small mouth, what they needed given the season and the conditions.

My primary bait for these lesser spots was a Molix Water Splash Double Willow Spinnerbait. I fished the 1/2 ounce size With the standard Willow leaf blade. My color choice was white and chartreuse. I didn’t use a trailer hook because I was fishing around heavy wood. Instead, I used several different Berkley plastic trailers.

Just so you know: The other 20% of my fish came from layouts that extended way out into the water and boat docks that extended way out into the water. I think the bass were there for the same reasons they were in my best spots – – current breaks, shallow water and, maybe, because future spawning opportunities were nearby.

The fish that came from laydowns and docks weren’t all that important. I only mention them so that you get the complete picture of what I was doing all three days. Like I said before, my primary spots were current breaks in natural flat rock and in the backs of gravel and sandbars.

Next time I’ll detail the lures I finished with and the colors I selected both of those things were critical to my success. And yes, I consider fourth place finish after that kind of competition to be a success. Obviously I wanted to win, but still . . .