Cliff Crochet was stoked about his second Bassmaster Classic, but thing fell apart quickly when competition began today on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.
“I caught two (bass), swung a little early on a swim bait bite and missed one on a ChatterBait,” Crochet said.
When it was time to head to the weigh-in stand, he had only two fish that combined for 7 pounds, 5 ounces. That put him into 51st place going into the second round of competition.
Crochet said he really felt good about his chances.
“I had two little areas that I thought (bass) could be coming to,” he said.
He said those spots were located in the portion of the lake that historically have given up tournament-winning stringers. And he stuck to that part of the reservoir even though the bite was slow.
“That might have been the mistake of the week,” Crochet said. “I guess I misjudged the weather; I expected it to warm up.”
Instead, a front pushed through the night before competition began — dumping inches of water, dropping temperatures a bit and kicking up high winds. The runoff from the severe storms and the winds combined to muddy up the lake.
His first-day showing, which left him more than 20 pounds out of the lead, was disappointing to the angler.
“I’m disappointed because I had a bad day, but I had a good plan,” Crochet said.
So what will the Pierre Part pro do tomorrow, now that he’s effectively out of competition?
“I’ll still run the pattern,” he said. “There’s going to be losers; you’ve got to take the whopping with the good ones. Take it on the chin, and take what positives you can from it.”
So he’ll fish hard on the second day — just without the pressure that comes with being in the running.
“You set personal goals,” Crochet said. “You catch your biggest limit on Guntersville. You keep working to get better.
“The pressure’s off; the Classic’s blown. Tomorrow is my day to go have fun fishing the Classic.”